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Mar 02
Apple patents range from electronic portable devices...

Apple patents ranging from portable electronic devices to battery charging systems have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Patent number 7,673,238 is for a portable media device with video acceleration capabilities. Improved techniques for performing accelerated video presentation on a media device are disclosed. The improved techniques enable smooth, uniform accelerated video presentation by displaying key frames from a video file in a periodic fashion. The rate and direction of accelerated video presentation can be controlled. The improved techniques are well suited for use with portable media devices. The inventors are Muthya K. Girish, Aram Lindahl and Joseph Mark Williams.

Patent number 7,673,083 involves a method and system for controlling video selection and playback in a portable media player. It involves a a system that allows a portable media player to control settings of the...

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Mar 02
Apple wins patents for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air...

Apple has won patents from the US Patent & Trademark Office for the design of the MacBook Pro with a glass trackpad and the MacBook Air.

Patent number D611,045 is for the design of the MacBook Pro with a glass trackpad. The inventors are Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard P. Howarth, Jonathan P. Ive, Steve Jobs, Duncan Robert Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas B. Satzger, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whange and Rico Zorkendorfer.

Patent number D611,044 is for the design of the MacBook Air. The inventors are the same as those listed above.

Apple has also been granted a patent (number 7672142) involving grounded flexible circuits. Electronic devices may be provided with one or more electrical components that may be coupled to one or more circuit boards by flexible circuits that can have reduced ground lengths. Each flexible circuit can include at least one ground...

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Mar 02
Is closer integration between the Mac OS X and iPhone...

Will the day come when we'll see closer integration between the iPhone OS and Mac OS X? Some folks think so.

But let's back up. The iPhone OS is actually a derivative of Mac OS X. They share the Darwin foundation. Darwin is an open source POSIX-compliant computer OS released by Apple in 2000. It's comprised of code developed by Apple, as well as code derived from NeXTSTEP, BSD, and other free software projects.

In other words as John Gruber wrote three years ago at "Daring Fireball" (http://daringfireball.net/2007/01/os_x) the iPhone’s version of OS X contains everything from Mac OS X that’s applicable to a mobile phone, plus new bits specific to the phone. It’s a “full” version of OS X not because it contains everything from Mac OS X, but because it contains everything you’d actually want from Mac OS X, he noted.

I would think it's even possible that a device...

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Mar 01
Apple to introduce HMDI on some Macs?

Apple plans to introduce HDMI connectivity on some of its personal computers this year, including the Mac mini, according to "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com).

The article says that prototypes of a new Mac mini show an HDMI port that sits besides mini DisplayPort connector and marks the first instance of full-featured HDMI connectivity on a Mac. It also represents only the second Apple product to feature an HDMI port, the other being Apple's "hobby," the Apple TV.

HDMI is an interface for audiovisual equipment such as high-definition television and home theater systems. It’s able to carry a bandwidth of 5Gbps (gigabits per second), which is purportedly more than twice the bandwidth needed to transmit multi-channel audio and video. HDMI provides an uncompressed, all-digital signal.

As adoption of HDMI ports approaches 100% in digital televisions, the interface is now moving...

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Mar 01
Does Apple need to be more open about its suppliers...

Over the weekend it was reported that Apple admitted that child labor had been used at the Chinese factories that build its Macs, iPods and iPhones. Now the company is being urged to disclose more details about its suppliers. But is that necessary?

At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories that supply the company. Workers' rights groups want Apple to disclose more info on its suppliers, reports "Bloomberg" (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aUbDxIWdQCKg).

“The suppliers are breaking the law,” said Debby Chan, project officer at Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior in Hong Kong. “Apple should disclose its suppliers list to NGOs to allow more effective monitoring of the situation,” said Chan, referring to non-government...

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Feb 28
There'll be over one billion mobile workers by...

I work out of a home office. Do you? If so, you're in a growing group. And the trend can only be good for the environment as it cuts down on the costs of transportation.

The world's mobile worker population will grow to nearly 1.2 billion people -- more than a third of the world's workforce – by 2013, according to a new forecast from the IDC research group (http://www.idc.com).

"Vast opportunities exist for bringing a variety of mobile technologies to the world's workforce," says Sean Ryan, research analyst, Mobile Enterprise Software. "Outside the United States and Japan, where mobile worker population penetration has essentially peaked, there are large worker populations that are still growing. Underserved mobile workers across all regions stand to benefit from the reach and flexibility offered by mobile solutions. While some barriers to adoption will still have to be overcome, the potential market for...

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Feb 27
Report: Android more popular than the iPhone in eight...

According to BoomBox, a month report from Myxer on mobile entertainment consumption habits, iPhone dominates states across the country, but Android users have closed the gap and have actually surpassed iPhone users in eight states, with seven of them coming from West and Midwest states including Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Myxer is a consumer destination for mobile entertainment and personalization. The results were provided by Myxer’s BoomBox report for January 2010, which also revealed the latest demographic and consumption habits based on more than one million unique Myxer users from Android and iPhone operating system.

This month’s BoomBox report offered a breakdown of content downloads by music genre
Overall, Motorola DROID handsets were the most diverse in terms of downloading different genre types, consuming 64% of their content from the Rock, Comedy, Pop, Country, and Other categories. Conversely, 81%...

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Feb 26
Just a matter of time until we get a touchscreen iMac

Apple -- or, at least Steve Jobs -- obviously loves touchscreen devices, so it's just a matter of time until we see a touchscreen Mac. I suspect the iMac will be the first to make the move.

As we reported Thursday (http://www.macsimumnews.com/index.php/archive/apple_patent_hints_at_touc...), there is an an Apple patent involving touchscreen displays for computers. And earlier this year there were reports that Apple plans to launch a 22-inch touch-enabled iMac in addition to the current non-touch 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs.

There are some cool thinks you could do with such a Mac. Imagine being able to flip through album and movie covers on iTunes on your Mac the way you do on an iPhone or iPod touch. Or imagine flipping the pages of digital books...

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Feb 25
Apple patents range from streaming content to vector...

Several Apple patents have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a summary of each.

Patent number 201004862 involves personalized streaming digital content. It's for a method for generating personalized streaming content, the method including the steps of analyzing a digital library of a user associated with a user account, generating recommended digital media based on analysis of the digital library, generating personalized streaming content that includes digital media from the digital library and recommended digital media. The inventor is Rhan Graeme Dixon.

Patent number 2010049836 is for automatic configuration information generation for a distributed computing environment. A method and system for configuring information for a distributed computing environment is provided. The method and system comprises providing a job containing a list of tasks to a controller, the tasks including a bootstrap tool and configuration information related to the...

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Feb 25
Apple patent reflects new ways of using an iPhone/iPod...

An Apple patent (number 20100048241) has appeared at the Patent & Trademark Office that shows Apple is looking at new ways to use the camera on an iPhone -- and perhaps other devices -- in new user input ways.

The invention is generally related to mobile devices that have a camera function and that can detect vibrations and/or movement of the device. According to the patent, a portable handheld electronic device contains a camera lens and accelerometer to allow a user to control voicemail and call features by swiping his finger across the camera lens and/or tapping the device. Therefore, the user can comfortably input commands into the device with a single hand and without needing to move the phone away from his ear to apply these inputs. In another embodiment, the camera lens can also be used to control navigation of the display screen or a displayed document of the device. For example, if a user wishes to shift a scrollbar for a page displayed on the screen downwards...

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Feb 25
Apple patent hints at touchscreen displays for...

An Apple patent (number 20010045627) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is at least considering touch screen displays on some Macs. The patent is for a shape detecting input device.

More particularly, the present invention relates to shape detection by an input device for a computer system. The patent involves a system and method for recognizing a signet and for performing an action associated with the signet, wherein the signet is an inanimate object. In one embodiment, the method includes generating a touch signal with a signet, the touch signal representing a particular signet pattern, recognizing the particular signet pattern, and performing an action associated with the particular signet pattern. The inventor is Peter Kennedy.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "There exist today many styles of input devices for performing operations in a computer system. The operations generally correspond to moving a cursor and/or...

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Feb 25
iPod touch owners download an average of 12 apps per...

AdMob, a mobile advertising network, has announced the results of a survey of consumer usage and attitudes across the iPhone, Android and webOS application platforms in its January 2010 "AdMob Mobile Metrics Report."

The survey found that consumers on the iPhone and Android platforms continue to be actively engaged with applications. Consumers who use these devices showed remarkably similar activity levels -- downloading approximately the same total number of applications and spending approximately the same amount of time using them. However, iPhone users continue to download more paid applications, with 50% of users purchasing at least one paid application a month compared to 21% of Android users.

The survey also included consumers on webOS devices and found that while they were active, they downloaded fewer paid and free applications. The mobile Internet device category has grown rapidly; in July 2009 approximately 12% of requests in AdMob’s network came from these...

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Feb 25
USB 3.0 doubtless coming to the Mac; what's the...

I'll be very surprised if we don't see USB 3.0 on Macs by the second half of the year. And when that happens, it will be interesting to see what happens with FireWire.

According to the In-Stat research group more than three billion USB-enabled devices are currently being shipped. USB 3.0 is specified to transfer at five gigabits per second, or 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Plus, USB 3.0 products are backward-compatible with USB 2.0 devices and will interoperate with them, as well, so there's no reason for Apple not to include USB 3.0 on upcoming Macs.

As for FireWire, I'm not willing to bet on its inclusion in any Macs beyond the Mac Pro and 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro. Although it could survive on the 27-inch iMac, which has to be considered, by any criteria, a prosumer machine, if not a professional machine. As for FireWire on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the MacBook and the Mac mini, I wouldn't count on it since USB is more popular and cheaper.

Apple...

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Feb 24
Analyst predicts strong iPhone growth, big things for...

Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi told clients in a note that he thinks that iPhone revenues will grow from about 30% of Apple revenue in 2009 to 45%-50% in fiscal year (FY) 2011.

As reported by "Barron's" (http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/02/24/apple-bernstein-ups-...), he estimates that iPhone gross margins were 58% in ‘09, well above the company average of 40.9%. If you assume flat iPhone gross margins and ASPs, corporate gross margins would lift by 400-500 basis points, Sacconaghi says.

He expects iPhone sales to hit 45-50 million units in FY 2011, up from 20.7 million in FY 2009, and 8.7 million in FY Q1 2010. The analyst also expects big things from the iPad. He forecasts sales of 2.2 million units in FY 2010...

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Feb 23
Apple COO: Apple TV still a hobby, iMac one of the...

Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook spoke today at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference and made several interesting statements, including that the Apple TV is still (sigh) a hobby, the iMac is the best computer in the world and that Apple isn't worried about the iPad cannibalizing sales of its laptops.

Among the things he mentioned:

° Though Apple is the world's largest seller of digital content, the Apple TV remains a "hobby." Sales of the Apple TV did grow in the latest quarter by 35% on a unit basis year-over-year and Apple's "gut tells us there is something there." But there are no plans to move it beyond the hobby stage yet, as "we have not interest in the TV market." (Which, of course, based on Apple's past statements of things it's not interested in, means Apple IS interested in the TV market.)

° The iMac is the best desktop computer in the world and Apple will continue to invest in it. The iMac is, and will continue to be, "very...

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Feb 23
'PC World' completes 13-city test of 3G...

"PC World" (http://www.pcworld.com) will report the full results of its 3G wireless testing carried out this winter in an issue to hit newsstands in early March. The feature article was published today at the magazine’s web site.

The most dramatic improvements in speed and reliability since the last round of testing in spring 2009 belong to AT&T. AT&T, which earned "PC World’s" lowest score last spring for download speeds and reliability, pumped out download speeds that were 67% faster than any other national wireless carrier in the latest testing.

“AT&T’s network has undergone a drastic makeover in the last eight months, and it's reflected in our test results. In the 13 cities in which we tested, we found AT&T's average download speeds increased by more than 80%,” says "PC World" Senior Editor Mark Sullivan.

AT&T's download speeds tripled in New York City in the publication...

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Feb 23
Apple named among 'world's most innovative...

"Technology Review" -- an independent media company owned by MIT -- has announced the 2010 TR50, the first annual list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. Not surprisingly, Apple is on the list.

Spanning energy, computing, the web, biomedicine, and materials, each company on the list has been evaluated based on its business model, strategies for deploying and scaling up its technologies, and the likelihood of success, according to Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief of "Technology Review." Each company in the 2010 TR50 has excelled not only at inventing technology but also at using it to transform how we live and work.

“As varied as the companies in the TR50 collection are, they all demonstrate the power and potential of innovative thinking for a better tomorrow. We will be increasing our coverage around how businesses are creating and adapting to new technologies,” said Pontin. You can find the entire list here:...

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Feb 23
ABI Research: Bluetooth, NFC, UWB, 802.15.5, Wi-FI ICs...

Global shipments of short range wireless ICs (Bluetooth, NFC, UWB, 802.15.4, Wi-Fi) are expected to surpass two billion units this year, increasing approximately 20% compared to 2009. Shipments are forecast to total five billion in 2014, according to new market data from ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com).

“Bluetooth ICs made up a significant part of the total short range wireless ICs shipments,” says industry analyst Celia Bo. “Bluetooth took more than 55%, following by Wi-Fi at around 35%; the rest of the shipments were made up of NFC, UWB and 802.15.4 ICs.”

Mobile handsets maintain the highest adoption rate for Bluetooth ICs. In addition to data transmission between mobile handset and Bluetooth headset, the application of Bluetooth technology is gradually moving into computers and consumer electronics products such as laptops, UMDs, and the wireless remote pole of game consoles....

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Feb 23
Will a future Apple TV use the iPhone OS?

Apple looks like its planning to use the iPhone OS to power more than the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, according to a new job posting for a full-time engineering manager to work on the iPhone OS platform.

Apple’s ad is looking for an engineer to focus on the iPhone OS’s underlying architecture who will work with teams focusing on hardware, software and custom silicon. The ad says the employee will will work on “a range of hardware platforms, including iPhone and iPod”. That suggests that Apple is looking to bring the iPhone OS to more devices, and "the prime candidate would be the Apple TV," according to the "Electricpig" tech site (http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2010/02/23/apple-to-use-iphone-os-on-other-platforms-–-apple-tv-next/).

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Feb 23
Apple patents involve iChat, iPod user interface, more

Apple has been awarded several patents from the US Patent & Trademark Office. They involve, among other things, iChat and the iPod user interface.

Patent number 7,669,134 is for a method and apparatus for displaying information during an instant messaging session. This is, obviously, the iChat patent.

A method and an apparatus are provided for controlling a graphical user interface to display information related to a communication session. Information relating to data produced by a first participant to the communication session is displayed on a first display unit, wherein the information produced by the first participant is displayed at a first position on the first display unit. Data is received from a second participant to the communication session, and information relating to the data received from the second participant is displayed on the first display unit, wherein the information received from the second participant is displayed at a second position on the...

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Feb 23
Apple patent reflects an 'iPod classic phone...

Apple has been awarded a patent from the US Patent & Trademark Office for a device that looks like an iPod classic with dialing capabilities. The invention relates generally to portable communications devices, and more particularly, to portable communications devices that include a click wheel.

Apple patent 7,667,148 is for a method, device and graphical user interface for dialing with a click wheel. One aspect of the invention involves a computer-implemented method in which a portable communications device with a click wheel and a display detects a plurality of finger contacts with the click wheel. Each finger contact includes an angular displacement of the finger contact on the click wheel between an initial location and a final location of the finger contact. The device displays an image that includes digits arranged in a circle. The image rotates, in response to each finger contact, by an amount determined in accordance with the angular displacement of the finger...

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Feb 23
At some point Apple needs to fish or cut bait with the...

Now that the iPad arrival date is nearing, perhaps Apple will turn its attention to the Apple TV. Sooner or later, Apple is going to have to put some muscle behind its "hobby," or just forget about it entirely. Unfortunately, in his talk at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, Apple Chief Operating Officer still described it as a hobby.

And it's not like there's a lack of growing interest in such a product. Or at least a product that the Apple TV could become. Nearly 37% of broadband households in North America are extremely or very interested in viewing over-the-top video content on the home TV, according to market research firm, In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). The demand is growing as companies such as Apple offer streamed or downloadable TV and movie content.

The problem is that, for the same $229 price as the Apple TV, you can get alternatives that browse NAS shares, play all...

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Feb 22
ABI Research: 163 million smartbooks (which includes...

What is a smartbook? That depends on who you ask. “Smartbook” isn’t a product category, nor is it a brand. But they're growing in popularity. And the iPad is technically a smartbook, according to ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com).

According to ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr, “As ABI Research defines it, a smartbook is a low-powered device running a mobile operating system that is always connected, either via Wi-Fi or (more often) using cellular or mobile broadband. Smartbooks can take many different shapes. They are a subset of MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and netbooks, and address the same potential users, usage, pricing, and market needs. The difference is that they don’t use x86 processors.”

By that definition, the analyst estimates in a new research study, 163 million smartbooks will ship worldwide in 2015 -- a significant rate of growth given that the very first models...

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Feb 22
Did Apple spend US$1 billion to develop its own ARM-...

"The New York Times" (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/technology/22chip.html) is reporting that cost for a company like Apple to develop an ARM-based mobile chip such as the A4 used in the iPad is estimated at approximately US$1 billion, even without the need to invest in manufacturing facilities for the chips due to agreements with existing chip foundries for production.

“Apple was the first company to make a really aspirational device that wasn’t based on Intel chips and Microsoft’s Windows,” Fred Weber, a chip industry veteran, told "The Times." “The iPhone broke some psychological barriers people had about trying new products and helped drive this consumer electronics push.”

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Feb 22
Review: Love and Rockets for the Trexta Ursa iPhone...

I know what you're thinking. I know that when you read "holster," you figure the word "NERD" is going to follow soon. But sometimes, holster can mean a "fashion object." It can also mean "convenient" and "reliable," and I think Trexta (http://www.trexta.com) is right on track when it comes to a solution that combines all three of those.

Trexta is a company based in Turkey, where many of their products are hand-made; it specializes in phone, camera, and laptop cases. Their offerings for the Apple market, especially the iPhone market, are extensive. I visited the Trexta booth during the recent MacWorld 2010, where I was given a look at some of these aesthetic offerings and obtained a review unit of the Ursa. The Ursa stood out to me most with its thick, attractive leather (chocolate-colored, with a smooth, bright finish), suede lining, extremely tough belt clip, and magnetic closure.

Given Valentine's...

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Feb 22
3D TV, UHD are on the horizon

As High-Definition (HD) video has hit its stride worldwide, the TV and film industry are looking ahead to the next new thing. 3D TV and Ultra-HD (UHD) are on the horizon, according to market research firm, In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com).

3D video is already out of the gate, with growing proliferation of 3D films in theaters. Pay TV operators are in the early stages of deploying 3D TV capability. Early 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players will ship in 2010. In-Stat projects worldwide 3D TV shipments will reach 41 million in 2014. 3D Blu-ray player shipments will track closely with 3D TVs.

UHD will take considerably longer to roll out, but has started to garner interest and discussion among long-term planners in the TV, film and technology industries. In-Stat believes the first UHD broadcasts will start around 2017. UHD TVs will reach about 5% household penetration in some regional markets in the early 2020s...

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Feb 19
Best of Winter NAMM 2010 Mac News Awards

In some ways, the 2010 Winter NAMM show was a different show, but the larger vendors were not missed nearly as much as one might imagine. Attendance was actually up, according to the NAMM press office, and anyone who was there will attest to the fact that the floor was jammed every single day of the show.

The bonus was that the less corporate vendors and manufacturers really shined with some excellent new products in many cases. While some companies did not present anything really new, there were some very impressive items that caught the attention of the attendees.

Why did we wait so long to release our "Best of Show" Macsimum Awards? We wanted to try many of these products off the show floor and away from the noisy environment that can make it tough to know what you are really listening to when sound quality really counts. So, without any further ado, the 2010 Winter NAMM "Best of Show" Macsimum Awards.

Sony PCM-M10 Portable Digital Recorder (...

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Feb 19
Apple plans to beef up graphics handling in future...

Apple is planning improvements to the handling of graphics in future MacBook Pros, according to "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/02/19/apple_plans_dual_graphics_...). The site says Apple has several next-generation MacBook Pros up and running in its lab that can switch between their integrated and discrete graphics processors automatically, "according to people familiar with the matter."

Current MacBook Pros require users to manually toggle between an integrated Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics core and the more powerful 9600M GT discrete processor by first making a selection in their Mac's Energy Saver system preference pane, then logging out and back in for the change to take effect.

"While those privy...

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Feb 18
iPad helping to create jobs

It hasn't been released yet, but the iPad is already helping create jobs it seems. Elance (http://www.elance.com) -- a site where companies find, hire, manage and pay contractors online -- says that, within 24 hours of the iPad announcement, 20 iPad application development jobs were immediately posted on their site.

As I write this, there are over 70 open iPad jobs on Elance. This trend is likely to follow the fast growth of iPhone projects that saw more than 8,800 iPhone jobs completed on Elance in 2009. In addition, Android is rising fast in the ranking of skills in demand -- up 400% in the past six months with more than 170 projects posted in the last month alone.

This is merely the tip of a digital iceberg. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of people who are self-employed increased to roughly 42 million at the end of 2009. Data introduced by Elance shows that workers in all 50...

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Feb 18
Apple patents range from theme-based slideshows to...

Several Apple patents ranging from theme-based slideshows to device testing have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a summary of each:

Patent number 20100042926 is for theme-based slideshows. A system and method for providing photographic slideshows with theme elements is provided. Each photograph and each theme element may be associated with different contextual information. The contextual information may include, for example, locations, time and date, calendar events, user preference or history information, or any other suitable information. In response to receiving a selection of contextual information, the electronic device may identify photographs and theme elements associated with contextual information to generate a photographic slideshow. Alternatively, in response to receiving a selection of at least one photograph or theme element, the electronic device may identify contextual information associated with the selected photograph or theme...

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Feb 18
Apple patent hints at forward-facing camera in future...

An Apple patent (number 2010039530) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office that shows that Apple plans on beefing up its picture and video recording performance on portable devices. Also, a look at the patent shows that future iPhones and/or iPod touches and/or iPads could sport a forward facing camera.

The invention relates generally to digital cameras and, more particularly, to calibrating digital camera components to minimize manufacturing variations in such components. Per the patent A method of manufacturing a digital video camera is provided. The method comprises acquiring video images of colored light, and measuring a light intensity response of the video camera to the colored light. The method further comprises comparing the intensity of the measured response to a desired colored light intensity for determining a color intensity bias and storing the intensity bias for the colored light in the camera so that the bias can be applied when the camera is...

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Feb 18
Research group: Apple's revenue will exceed $100...

The Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com) research group has published a report on "The Future of Apple." And the research group says that future looks very, very rosy.

Since the turn of the century Apple evolved from a secondary computer company into the most potent force transforming media. Research and Markets says it's the premier digital media innovator as evidenced by the iPod, iPhone and, most recently, the iPad. Basically each introduction defined a new product category or enable an incipient one to cross the chasm into mass market acceptance. More of the same is expected in the future, not only from products but also from transactional services, according to the research group.

Research and Markets adds that most any business affected by the future of media will be directly impacted by Apple's future innovations. Moreover, its existing product lines...

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Feb 18
Apple patents show revolutionary input devices

New Apple patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office show that Apple is planning on tweaking its input devices -- and apparently has new devices at least in the planning stages.

Patent number 2010039381 is for a rotatable input device. Think of the Magic Mouse on steroids. In an example embodiment, a computer mouse is provided. This computer mouse includes a surface tracking sensor that detects movement of the computer mouse along the support surface. Additionally included are one or more orientation sensors that detect a movement of the computer mouse relative to a pivot point. The computer mouse also includes a controller that is configured to translate the movement along the support surface into a two-dimensional coordinate and to translate the movement relative to the pivot point into a magnitude of rotation. The inventors are Michael Andrew Cretella Junior and David Thomas Amm.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "As is well-known, a...

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Feb 18
North by Northeast: An open letter to Steve Jobs and...

“North of Northeast” is a column that offers commentaries from a Canadian perspective.: I have written several articles in the past that were highly critical of the cellular network owners, including one specifically related to the release of the original iPhone. Nothing has changed in the intervening years.

Let's face it. These guys are NOT your partners… or your friends. They have absolutely no interest in how your products work or what they do for the customers you share. They also have no interest in providing the speed, reliability or quality of service that your products demand, regardless of price. And let's be totally honest here, "price" is what it's all about with them.

They don't like your products. Why? Because they can't control them. They can't decide what the devices can and can't do. They can't charge for each and every "feature." They can't force customers, for example, to send all their photos through them, so they can bill air time. Then of course,...

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Feb 18
J.D. Power: overall call quality decreases, especially...

As the number of smartphone customers has continued to grow during the past six months, call quality performance has declined during that same period of time, according to the J.D. Power and Associates' (http://www.JDPower.com) "2010 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study(SM)—Volume 1."

The semiannual study measures wireless call quality, based on seven problem areas that impact overall carrier performance: dropped calls; static/interference; failed call connection on the first try; voice distortion; echoes; no immediate voicemail notification; and no immediate text message notification. Call quality issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) calls, where a lower score reflects fewer problems and higher quality. Call quality performance is examined in six regions: Northeast; Mid-Atlantic; Southeast; North Central; Southwest; and West.

The study finds that, after several consecutive six-month...

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Feb 18
Is Apple green enough?

The headline is a question the company’s shareholders have to answer soon. Apple will hold its annual meeting next week, and on Apple’s proxy ballot is a measure that if approved would compel the company to publish a Sustainability report.

The report would likely force Apple to detail target reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and toxins much like competitors Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard already practice. Two advocate groups in particular have been pushing for the change. As You Sow, the group that submitted the original proposal, and Calvert Investments, a leading investment firm, have taken their positions to moxyvote.com. 

Shareholders have been using Moxy Vote (http://www.moxyvote.com) to cast their votes on this issue and join a public forum where they can vote alongside advocates and others with whom they see eye-to-eye ideologically.
 
Moxy Vote is a web-based social...

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Feb 18
Freshly Squeezed Reviews: For You ToGo

Food, food, glorious food. From the finest dining experience to the most satisfying of burgers, we all crave one type or another. And when that craving hits - where to go? What type -- Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean? I don't want to spend time debating the issue -- I WANT TO EAT!! How about just the local pub? I don't care - I JUST WANT TO EAT!

Enter Zagat ToGo (mobile.zagat.com/iphone.htm), which costs US$9.99.

"The most trusted guide to restaurants comes to the iPhone and WiFi iPod touch with over 45 Guides of Restaurant Reviews and Ratings for less than the price of 1 guide! Whether a cheap bite or a posh dinner, Zagat has shown the way for 30 years! Our Nightlife, Hotel and Shopping coverage also included where available."

A getaway weekend all planned in seconds with only your fingertips? Let's see.

The Juice

Zagat is a restaurant, travel and night life review guide started in 1979  by Tim and Nina Zagat as a way to collect and correlate the...

| Read more »
Feb 17
Video is top form of laptop/iPhone generated wireless...

Bytemobile (http://www.bytemobile.com), which specializes in mobile Internet solutions, has released its first-quarter "2010 Mobile Minute Metrics report," which anonymously sources the aggregate data traffic in a global cross-section of Bytemobile customers’ wireless networks and provides insight into the current state of the mobile ecosystem. And the iPhone plays a big role in that ecosystem.

Analysis of various 3G networks indicates that the data traffic mix is consistent across geographies –-- with video as the dominant form of traffic. Other key data from the report:

° Video is the dominant form of laptop-generated wireless traffic. However, automatic software updates consume 10% of the total laptop-generated volume in networks.

° A minority of mobile data users consume the majority of network bandwidth – with 10% generating approximately 85% of total traffic.

° Consistent...

| Read more »
Feb 17
Analyst: iPad, other newcomers to eat into Amazon...

The iPad and the expected entry of others such as Google into the e-book space will cut Amazon’s share of e-book sales from 90% to 35% over the next five years, Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang told clients in a note on Wednesday.

"Near term, we suspect that the iPad and the new eBook agency pricing model, which requires that Amazon increase retail prices to be more consistent with Apple’s pricing, will provide Kindle with the most market share headwind," he writes. "Going forward, we can envision a scenario where Apple, Amazon, and Google eventually split the market. Therefore, we expect Amazon’s share of eBooks business to fall from 90% currently to about 35% over the next five years."

The "Wall Street Journal" (http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2010/02/16/analyst...

| Read more »
Feb 17
In-Stat: device manufacturers, media companies...

Three sectors of the digital entertainment ecosystem—device manufacturers and retailers, content producers and service providers—have much different visions of the home entertainment future, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). Each industry sector will continue to try to mold the future to its advantage.

“In the TV and video ecosystem, operators and media companies want to avoid what happened in digital music, where Apple dominates the digital music ecosystem,” says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. “As Web-to-TV initiatives accelerate, pay TV operators' ‘TV Everywhere’ concepts must deliver more than just TV content on a PC screen. It must deliver a complimentary web-based video experience to any screen. Meanwhile, media companies must balance existing distribution channels with new ‘over-the-top’ opportunities.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

° Exclusive live sports and TV...

| Read more »
Feb 17
Macsimum review: Audiobook Builder makes dealing with...

If you like to listen to audiobooks on your Mac, Splasm Software's Audiobook Builder (http://www.splasm.com/audiobookbuilder/index.htm), a US$9.95 Mac only tool (take that, Windows!) can make your life easier. It's a breeze to use. It's a timesaver, too, since it deals with the complexities of audiobooks behind the scenes.

Audiobook Builder lets you import your Audiobook CDs (or tracks that are already on your Mac), organize them and output one or two files that your iPod recognizes as actual audiobooks.

The results are automatically sent to a special playlist in iTunes. When you sync with your iPod or iPhone they appear in the Audiobooks section. The software offers audio file joining, adjustable quality settings and enhanced chapter stops.

By default, every CD you import becomes its own "chapter" in your Audiobook project. This means you...

| Read more »
Feb 17
Two Macworld Expos and new beginnings on 'Your...

Last week was the biggest week of the Mac calendar. This week's "Your Mac Life" looks at Macworld Expo, both the "successful" and "unsuccessful" one.

You can listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 8 pm (Pacific). Live video is on Your Mac Life! You can watch the show live at http://yml.macosg.com/ -- or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at http://www.yourmaclifeshow.com/QT/stream.mov .

You can join one of the two Chat Rooms that run during the live show -- on the live video site or on the dedicated IRC Server at irc.chat-solutions.org in the #yourmaclife Channel .

| Read more »
Feb 17
Most consumers don't see netbooks as a...

Although there's some debate as to whether there's a real market for the iPad or not, Appel certainly made the right decision not to enter then netbook arena. And a new survey by PriceGrabber.com backs this up.

The survey looks at netbook and laptops and shows that most consumers (55%) don't see the former as a suitable replacement for the latter. This report includes survey responses from 1,680 online consumers from Jan. 7-25, 2010, and compares results from a similar survey of 1,545 online consumers conducted from Jan. 6-14, 2009. Survey data reveals that while netbooks are not a replacement for laptops, their popularity has influenced the pricing in the portable computing industry.

PriceGrabber.com's 2010 and 2009 netbook surveys define a netbook as having a screen smaller than 11 inches, costing less than US$500 and employing a low-power processing chip. This year, the percentage of online consumers who personally own a netbook has increased to 15%, compared with...

| Read more »
Feb 16
Apple patents involve the iPad touch panel, Apple TV...

New Apple patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office involve multipoint screen that's obviously that of the upcoming iPad, the Apple TV interface, iChat and more.

Patent number 7,663,607 is for the multipoint touchscreen. A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed. The inventors are Steve Hotelling, Joshua A. Strickton and Brian Q. Huppi.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals...

| Read more »
Feb 16
IMS Research: almost one billion consumer devices to...

Shipments of consumer devices that can be powered or charged wirelessly are forecast to grow from just 1.5 million in 2009 to almost one billion in 2019, according to the latest analysis from IMS Research (http://ww.imsresearch.com).

According to IMS Research’s recent report, “The Growth Potential for Wireless Power and Charging”, activity in the wireless power industry has increased significantly over the last two years and the market is now poised for explosive growth. There are numerous start-ups offering solutions using conductive, inductive, magnetic resonance, RF and infrared wireless power technologies and although their shipments were very low last year; this is forecast to grow rapidly driven by the adoption in high volume applications such as cell phones.

"Initial adoption of wireless power will be for aftermarket add-on solutions, though we predict mass adoption will occur as major...

| Read more »
Feb 16
Survey finds video conferencing on the rise

Some folks are disappointed that there's no videoconferencing capability on the upcoming iPad. Some think that a future version will include it. And they be right if Apple wants it to appeal to a wider swatch of users.

A recent survey of more than 1,200 business professionals in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China revealed that video chat/conferencing is rapidly being adopted worldwide, for business and personal use. The survey (http://www.gipscorp.com/survey), conducted by Research Now and sponsored by Global IP Solutions, indicates that business professionals across multiple industries are adopting video in an effort to communicate and collaborate more clearly and effectively. The survey is available at http://www.gipscorp.com/survey

"The results of this survey underscore the increasing...

| Read more »
Feb 16
Apple patents involve the iPad touch panel, Apple TV...

New Apple patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office involve multipoint screen that's obviously that of the upcoming iPad, the Apple TV interface, iChat and more.

Patent number 7,663,607 is for the multipoint touchscreen. A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed. The inventors are Steve Hotelling, Joshua A. Strickton and Brian Q. Huppi.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals...

| Read more »
Feb 16
Survey finds video conferencing on the rise

Some folks are disappointed that there's no videoconferencing capability on the upcoming iPad. Some think that a future version will include it. And they be right if Apple wants it to appeal to a wider swatch of users.

A recent survey of more than 1,200 business professionals in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China revealed that video chat/conferencing is rapidly being adopted worldwide, for business and personal use. The survey (http://www.gipscorp.com/survey), conducted by Research Now and sponsored by Global IP Solutions, indicates that business professionals across multiple industries are adopting video in an effort to communicate and collaborate more clearly and effectively. The survey is available at http://www.gipscorp.com/survey

"The results of this survey underscore the increasing...

| Read more »
Feb 16
IMS Research: almost one billion consumer devices to...

Shipments of consumer devices that can be powered or charged wirelessly are forecast to grow from just 1.5 million in 2009 to almost one billion in 2019, according to the latest analysis from IMS Research (http://ww.imsresearch.com).

According to IMS Research’s recent report, “The Growth Potential for Wireless Power and Charging”, activity in the wireless power industry has increased significantly over the last two years and the market is now poised for explosive growth. There are numerous start-ups offering solutions using conductive, inductive, magnetic resonance, RF and infrared wireless power technologies and although their shipments were very low last year; this is forecast to grow rapidly driven by the adoption in high volume applications such as cell phones.

"Initial adoption of wireless power will be for aftermarket add-on solutions, though we predict mass adoption will occur as major...

| Read more »
Feb 13
Reporter's Notebook: Notes from Macworld, day...

As I write this I'm getting ready to head to the airport to fly back to Nashville from San Francisco, where I've been covering Macworld. The weather in SF is sunny, which represents the overall feel of the show.

Today (Saturday) traffic is much lighter than in the past two days on the exhibitor show floor. However, there were still several visitors. And many more will likely drop by this afternoon, after I've departed.

A couple of final, random thoughts:

° There are iPhones everywhere in this city. Everywhere.

° I got excited when I approached the Targus booth. I thought they actually had a iPad sitting there among their new iPad cases. But it was only a mock-up.
Let's do it again next week. Jan. 25-29, 2011, to be exact.

| Read more »
 
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