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Apr 08
Apple patent indicates combined USB 3.0/DisplayPort...

An Apple patent (number 2010087098) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for a reduced size multi-pin female receptacle container. It hints at a combined USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connector.

Per the patents, receptacle connectors and male plug connectors having a reduced size in at least one direction can be provided. One example reduces height by not including a center contact tab or tongue, but instead places contacts on an insulator that is adjacent to a bottom portion of the receptacle. Another example may reduce width by reducing contact pitch, and may use a particular shape of contact to achieve god signal quality.

Receptacle connectors and male plug connectors can also provide support for one or more new high-speed communication standards, such as USB 3.0 and DisplayPort. Methods can provide one or more standardized connector components to speed connector design and manufacture of new electronic devices such as media players, thus reducing their...

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Apr 08
Apple planning smaller iPad for 2011?

Take this one with a grain of salt, but "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20100407PD226.html) says Apple is reportedly scheduling a smaller 5- to 7-inch version of the iPad that is expected to launch as soon as the first quarter of 2011, according to research senior analyst Mingchi Kuo.

Kuo, citing talks with upstream component sources, said Apple's smaller-size iPad will be priced below US$400 and will target the highly-portable mobile device market and consumers that focus mainly on reading and do not have a high demand for text input. He may be right, but that seems counter-productive to me, giving the various uses of the iPad.

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Apr 08
Are optical disks becoming obsolete?

Earlier this month, Mac guru Ted Landau blogged (http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/who_needs_an_optical_drive_anymor...) that he doesn't need an optical drive anymore. That's an interesting premise, but, unlike Ted, I don't think I'm ready to take that plunge.

Ted says that broadband Internet connections, the iTunes Store, the Apple TV, the iPad and such technologies have made it possible for him to do all the things he once needed an optical disk for (installing new software, playing movie and music disks, burning backup data, etc.) without the physical media.

"I estimate that I now use optical drives an average of once a month," he writes. "Even in these instances, my use is primarily for one-time transfers of data from the disc to my Mac. I expect this average to continue to...

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Apr 07
We can't let technology kill our ability to truly...

We've got our Macs, iPhones, iPods and, now, our iPads. That's all well and good, but we still have to be careful or we lose our ability to communicate. Admittedly, that sounds like a contradiction.

However, a new report was published this week by high tech entertainment firm Bowen Research, which has studied high technology products since 1992.  The study, "Fragmentation of the Modern Mind" (http://www.fragmentationofthemodernmind.com), revealed that American’s are slowly losing the ability to communicate and connect with each other -- and technology seems to be the main cause. Among the key findings of the study:

° 42% of people think others are talking faster compared to recent years.

° 49% think other people interrupt more in conversation, compared to recent years.

° 68% think we are more rude.

° 60% think we are less kindly.

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Apr 06
Has Apple bought a company called Intrinsity?

There are rumors that Apple has acquired a chip company called Intrinsity. And the company's web site (http://www.intrinsity.com/) is currently down for “scheduled maintenance.”

Intrinsity specializes in ARM processors. In fact, according to "engadget" (http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/03/is-intrinsity-apples-latest-chipmaker...), there's "speculation that Intrinsity may have actually contributed as much or more to the A4 processor in the iPad than P.A. Semi has."

Intrinsity is a privately-held Austin, Texas based fabless semiconductor company. It was founded in 1997 as EVSX and changed its name to Intrinsity in 2000. It has around 100 employees and supplies tools and services.

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Apr 06
Some of the interesting iPad quotes I've run...

As you've doubtless observed, the iPad is getting a TON of coverage. Here's a few of the interesting iPad quips I've come across.

"There has only been one iPad ad shown (during the Superbowl) and the amount of free advertising this thing is getting is nothing short of amazing.  Wherever you go and whatever you read has coverage of the device. "

“I’ve never seen people come downstairs so fast. I don’t even ring the bell and they’re at the door.” -- a UPS driver on the Saturday morning iPad deliveries he’s been making.
 
"Remember, this is a two-part launch. There are many like myself waiting for the 3G models to arrive. I’m sticking with my 10-15 million sales in its first year. The viral marketing on this device is off the charts."

Also, I was asking a friend who received his by UPS yesterday what his favorite feature was. He responded: “not sure what the best thing is, but going back to use the iPhone becomes depressing.” When I suggested that the...

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Apr 05
First impression: iPad a game changer, but can't...

Tomorrow I'll start a multi-part review of the iPad. For now, here are some of my first impressions on the new device. My main thought: the iPad is a game changer, but it won't replace the Mac.

Why not? While the iPad is great for consumption, the Mac is better at creation. Music, movies, homemade video, ebooks, digital magazines, TV shows, surfing the web, checking email -- all look and work great on the iPad. However, it's not built for using iLife apps or doing heavy duty work despite the availability of iWork and Bento apps (which I'll also get around to critiquing).

For this reason, the Mac is in little danger from the iPad, though there will be some slight cannibalization of laptop sales. A handful of folks who only use their MacBooks for basic word processing may dump their laptop for a Pages-equipped iPad. However, road warriors who have serious work to do will stick with their MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

Where the cannibalization may take place is...

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Apr 05
Mobile data traffic from computer modems, routers to...

Think there are lots of computer modems and routers now? Think again as that number is going to explode in the next four years.

According to a study by ABI Research (http://www.abiresearch.com), mobile data traffic from personal computer modems and routers will increase fourfold between 2010 and 2014. This year some 2,000 petabytes of data will be sent and received, a figure that will rise to about 8,000 petabytes in 2014. The regional distribution of this traffic demand highlights global economic trends as well.

“Today, and for most of our forecast period, modems and routers in Western Europe will generate the highest levels of mobile data traffic, but by an ever-decreasing margin," says Jeff Orr, senior analyst, Mobile Devices, comments. "In 2014, we expect the Asia-Pacific region to overtake Western Europe as the largest source of demand for this traffic.”

The largest contribution...

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Apr 02
Five reasons not to buy an iPad

Well, I've already ordered mine, but if you're on the fence about buying an iPad, the folks at TechStartUps.com have put together a list of five reasons not to buy an iPad. They are, in TechStartUps' own words:
 
"No Multitasking -- no searching the web as you chat on AIM, no listening to Pandora as you read an eBook.  Sure, the iPad is faster than your smartphone, but what good is added speed when you will have to be constantly going in and out of apps instead of being efficiently able to do them all at once? 
 
"No Flash -- an understandable limitation in the world of cell phones, but this is unacceptable in a product trying to position itself in the world of notebooks.  Not only do many websites require flash to view certain content, some require it to access the website.
 
"Limited software -- like the iPhone, only runs apps from the Apple’s App Store.  Although there are tons of apps at Apple’s store, it still bans certain apps, such as...

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Apr 02
My iPad lust makes me a bad person, I admit

I'm a bad person, I admit it. I'm going to visit Mom this Easter weekend. But there's a part of me that wants to stay in town, pick up my iPad (which I pre-ordered) at the local Apple Store, and play with it.

Evidently, I'm not the only want wishing to spend Easter with an iPad. Although predictions of early sales are all over the place, I suspect the number of units shipped will exceed expectations.

One techie says the obvious interest in the iPad shows the growth of the tablet market.
Mark Holleran, president of Xplore Technologies (http://www.xploretech.com), which makes tablet PCs, sees the launch of Apple’s iPad as an indication that the tablet PC industry is poised for wider acceptance and accelerated growth.

“With Apple and other consumer PC companies embracing the tablet format, I think the potential demand for a full-size mobile computer, with more interactive...

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Apr 02
New iPad apps to squeeze iPhone users

By Bill Oakey

I just checked "App Updates" on my iPhone. There are several today listed as "universal," meaning they are optimized for the iPad. Right away I wondered about the file sizes.

What if these enhanced versions with a higher resolution and more features for the iPad screen will be significantly bigger than the older iPhone only versions? I just ran a comparison and some of the results are quite shocking. Indeed, these new enhanced apps, which will replace the older versions, are bigger in size. Several times bigger in some instances.

This will mean that people could max out the space on their iPhones and iPod touches, with fewer apps being able to fit. In some cases the Apple App Store will have two versions of the same app, with one enhanced for the iPad (with XL or some other designation tacked onto the title). And some will be iPad only, with no counterpart for the iPhone.

But the "universal" category completely replaces...

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Apr 01
Apple patents range from phishing shield to...

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

Patent number 20100083383 is for a phishing shield. According to the patent, a mechanism for notifying a user of an internet browser that a requested web page is undesirable, and for protecting the user from the web page by disabling it. An internet browser detects a load request for a web page and retrieves the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the webpage. The internet browser displays the webpage associated with the URL and, upon determination that the URL matches a URL from a list of undesirable URLs, alters the appearance of the webpage and disables the web page from receiving input or taking action. The inventors are Darin B. Adler and Kevin Decker.

Patent number 20100083158 involves a feed for enhanced web browsing. Via the patent, user input is received to create a bookmark in a web browser for a non-feed Uniform Resource...

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Apr 01
Google Renames Itself Topeka

It's April Fools day, and if you didn't catch it yet ... Google has renamed itself "Topeka". Why? If you didn't catch it on the news a while back, Google is looking for communities to do experimental deployment of 1GB Fiber networks at a competitive price for consumers. Over 1100 cities applied, many with some creative video appeals on YouTube (see Westlake Village's 2 minute video as an example at http://youtube.com/watch?v=rw1f4UJOd2E).

As part of all this, cities did an assortment of PR efforts -- including Topeka, Kansas renaming itself for the day "Google, Kansas". Today, Google decided to turn the tables, and rename themselves on their home page at least Topeka. See http://www.google.com

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Apr 01
Apple patent is for new way of organizing, displaying...

An upcoming version of Safari may show multiple Internet pages in a new way, as evidenced by an Apple patent (number 2010083179) at the US Patent & Trademark Office. The patent is for a visual presentation of multiple Internet pages.

The patent expresses a novel method for graphically organizing and displaying multiple pages of internet content based on how the page was accessed. Pages are determined to be indirectly accessed if they were accessed via a hypertext link or a trail of hypertext links. Pages are determined to be directly accessed if accessed via other means, such as a bookmark or via Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Page groupings are created for each directly accessed page, and each indirectly accessed page is categorized into a grouping associated with a directly accessed page containing a link through which the indirectly accessed page was accessed. The web pages are presented to the user in an interface that is a graphical representation of the...

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Apr 01
Apple patent reflects sensor-based computer user...

Apple patent is for An Apple patent (number 2010083188) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for a sensor-based computer user interface and system. Per the patent, systems and methods may provide user control of a computer system via one or more sensors.

Also, systems and methods may provide automated response of a computer system to information acquired via one or more sensors. The sensor(s) may be configured to measure distance, depth proximity and/or presence. In particular, the sensor(s) may be configured to measure a relative location, distance, presence, movements and/or gestures of one or more users of the computer system. Thus, the systems and methods may provide a computer user interface based on measurements of distance, depth, proximity, presence and/or movements by one or more sensors.

For example, various contexts and/or operations of the computer system, at the operating system level and/or the application level, may be controlled,...

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Apr 01
Apple may be planning gaming accessories

A new patent (number 20010081505) at the US Patent & Trademark Office indicates that Apple is planning gaming accessories. The patent is for circuits, methods, and apparatus that provide user interfaces for playing games on portable electronic devices.

One example provides a game accessory having input controls for playing video, audio, and other types of games. The game accessory can have input controls, such as buttons, joysticks, and D-pads. Another example provides a game accessory having a thumb pad or keyboard. Other possible features include microphones, cameras and camera lenses, speakers, a second screen, rumble, and motion detection.

The game accessory may have a recess sized to fit the portable electronic device. Inserts or removable adapters can be used to fit portable electronic devices having different sizes. The portable electronic device can be held in the accessory using sliding covers, clips, or other engaging members. In other examples, the...

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Apr 01
Apple patent reflects novel way of organizing,...

An upcoming version of Safari may show multiple Internet pages in a new way, as evidenced by an Apple patent (number 2010083179) at the US Patent & Trademark Office. The patent is for a visual presentation of multiple Internet pages.

The patent expresses a novel method for graphically organizing and displaying multiple pages of internet content based on how the page was accessed. Pages are determined to be indirectly accessed if they were accessed via a hypertext link or a trail of hypertext links. Pages are determined to be directly accessed if accessed via other means, such as a bookmark or via Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Page groupings are created for each directly accessed page, and each indirectly accessed page is categorized into a grouping associated with a directly accessed page containing a link through which the indirectly accessed page was accessed. The web pages are presented to the user in an interface that is a graphical representation of the...

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Apr 01
AT&T should GIVE me a femtocell

If I give up waiting for the iPhone to come to Verizon (or Spring or T-Mobile), I could, at least in theory, use a femtocells to overcome the crappy AT&T wireless reception at my house. In fact, AT&T will sell me one for around US$150. Maybe they should just give me one.

AT&T says it's rolling out femtocells that, when connected to the home's broadband modem, will pick up signals from the cell phones in the home and relay them through the Internet connection. In essence, they're small cell towers for the home. Dallas-based AT&T is introducing the 3G MicroCell in mid-April in some markets, which haven't been announced. The rest of the country will follow over the next several months.

But if AT&T can't offer good wireless service in my area, why shouldn't they just give me one? Especially if I enter into a long-term iPhone contract.

-- Dennis Sellers


What's more, a femtocell in my house could be good for other folks, too. As Stephen...

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Mar 31
Analyst: 70% Apple will develop its own search engine...

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told clients he thinks there's a 70% chance that Apple will develop its own search engine within five years.

“We believe the company needs to develop its own search technology to protect the data generated on the iPhone,” he writes. “We believe Apple could utilize data unavailable from ,Google, data generated by the company’s App Store, to create a mobile centric search engine.”

According to "Barron's" ("http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/03/30/apple-when-will-they-build-their-own-mobile-search-engine/) Munster figures the company could start by making a minor acquisition of a search startup like Cuil, and then use the index as the base for building its own search engine. The Sellers Research Firm (that's me) is dubious that this will happen.

-- Dennis Sellers

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Mar 31
Best wishes to Tony Fadell, the 'father of the...

It's with a touch of sadness that we bid adieu to Tony Fadell, the "father of the iPod. He's leaving Apple after nine years, and, though I didn't know him personally, he's contributed a lot to my favorite tech company.

As noted by "The New York Times" (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/godfather-of-ipod-severs-final-...), Tony played a key role in the company’s resurgence. He first envisioned a hard-drive-based digital music player in the 1990s and brought the idea to Seattle-based Real Networks, where he reportedly clashed with Real’s chief executive, Rob Glaser, and left after six weeks. Fadell then approached Apple in 2001, and history was made. The company sold 54.7 million iPods during its last fiscal year, which ended in September.

Tony's departure from...

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Mar 30
Apple patents range from parental control to...

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

Patent number 7,689,920 is for a parental control graphical user interface. Improved graphical user interfaces suitable for restricting the availability of media items and/or podcasts are also disclosed. The graphical user interfaces are particularly useful for a system that provides purchase and distribution of media in a client-server environment. The inventors are Jeffrey L. Robbin, David Heller and Jeff Miller.

Patent number 7,688,316 is for an adaptive method for acquiring color measurements. It's for a system and method for measuring a color parameter values of a display for calibration purposes. An initial measurement of the color parameter value from the display is performed. Next, a number of additional measurements is determined in response to the value of the initial color parameter value. The color parameter value of the...

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Mar 30
Apple patent involves iPad design

Apple has won a patent (number 7,688,574) from the US Patent & Trademark Office for a cold worked metal housing for a portable electronic device. Said device seems to be the iPad.

A cold worked stainless steel bezel for a portable electronic device is provided. The bezel is secured flush to a housing to form part of the case of the portable electronic device. A brace that includes a slot for receiving a wall extending from the bezel is fixed to the housing. When the bezel engages the housing, the wall of the bezel is inserted in the slot of the brace and releasably held by a spring that engages both the brace and the wall. The bezel can be released by disengaging the spring, (e.g., using a special tool or a magnetic field). Because the bezel is manufactured from cold worked stainless steel, it is hard and resistant to impacts. Cold worked steel also facilitates manufacturing within design constraints and tolerances, and requires very little machining after manufacturing...

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Mar 30
Apple granted patent for syncing multiple devices

With the iPad looming, folks are going to be using more electronic devices than ever. And the US Patent & Trademark Office has granted a patent (number 7,689,920) for a method of synchronizing three or more electronic devices and a computer system for implementing that method.

In one exemplary method of synchronizing three or more electronic devices, said method comprises: a) selecting at least one category of record for synchronization; b) storing an original value and a changed value of each changed record from a selected record category; c) establishing an electronic connection between at least two devices; d) comparing the records of the selected record categories; e) determining any changed record; f) identifying the updated device with the changed record having an original value the same as the value of the record in the other previous device; and g) changing the value of the record in the previous device to the changed value. The inventors are Jean-Marie Hullot,...

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Mar 30
Rumors fly about next-gen iPhone/s

There's a flurry of rumors about what the next iPhone will be like. There's talk of a Verizon-compatible version with CDMA support.

There's also talk about an "HD" model with twice the screen resolution of the current model, going from 320x480 to 960x640 pixels. Other reports claim the next iPhone will have a slightly thinner display and beefier performance, thanks to the A4 processor that will debut with the iPad.

There's also talk of an iSight web cam with accompanying iChat software for video conferencing on the iPhone.

You can read more of the rumors and speculation at "Macworld UK" (http://www.macworld.co.uk/ipod-itunes/news/index.cfm?RSS&NewsID=3218857), "The Wall Street Journal" (...

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Mar 30
Apple granted patents related to the iPhone,...

Apple has won patents related to the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and podcasting from the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Patent number 7,688,306 is for methods and apparatuses for operating a portable device based on an accelerometer. According to one embodiment of the invention, an accelerometer attached to a portable device detects a movement of the portable device. In response, a machine executable code is executed within the portable device to perform one or more predetermined user configurable operations. Other methods and apparatuses are also described. The inventors are Paul J. Wehrenberg, Aaron Leiba, Richard C. Williams, David R. Falkenburg, Louis G. Gerbarg and Ray L. Chang.

Patent number 7,686,215 is for techniques and systems for supporting podcasting. Improved podcasts and techniques that facilitate their use are disclosed. The improved techniques can pertain to creating, publishing, hosting, accessing, subscribing, managing...

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Mar 30
Ticket price increase a bad idea

Theater owners are going to shoot themselves in the foot. Actually, they probably already have by raising 3D movie ticket prices.

"Variety" (http://www.variety.com) says the upcharge for 3D tickets has risen from an average extra US$2-$3 to $3.50 or more in many cases, and even $5 in some theaters in such markets as Los Angeles and New York. These numbers exclude Imax 3D ticket prices, which have always been significantly higher.

The hike in 3D prices will boost both returns to exhibs and distribs, with studios receiving 45% to 55% of total box office, depending on the film and how many weeks it has been playing, notes "Variety."

Some are saying the price increase will help spur installation of the high-priced 3D technology in theaters. Others are saying that the price hike may price folks right out of the theater.

I think the latter group is right. With the success of the 3D versions...

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Mar 29
Online app stores to grow ... and grow .. and grow

With the launch of the Apple App Store in mid-2008, Apple managed to reinvent the smartphone application market, creating an end-to-end solution (iPhone/iPod touch, iTunes Store and applications) that dramatically improved the customer experience of application discovery, download and usage.

Since 2007, the smartphone application market has grown annually by 140%, reaching a value of US$1.94 billion (2009). However, the market is still in its early stages. The top five application stores represent 96% of the market's downloads, with Apple alone responsible for 77% of total downloads.

Independent applications stores like GetJar, Mobango, Handmark and Handango sold smartphone applications and other mobile content long before the Apple App Store's launch. These stores benefitted from Apple's boost to the market with quickly growing download numbers. In 2009, independent stores held a market share of 25%, but are increasingly threatened by the large number of new...

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Mar 27
Apple prepping 'iAd' service?

Apple is preparing to announce its "next big thing": a new personalized, mobile advertising system that could well be called the "iAd," according to "Online Media Daily" (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=1...).

The new ad platform, which will be officially unveiled to Madison Avenue on April 7th, has been described as "revolutionary" and "our next big thing" by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the article adds, quoting executives familiar with the plan.

"Precise details of the system and its features could not be discerned at presstime (and calls to Apple had not been returned), but it is believed to have been built on top of Quattro, the mobile advertising developer Apple acquired in January for nearly $300 million, and it is expected to be the first...

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Mar 27
Central and Eastern Europe could be growth areas for...

It sounds as if there's a potential market to be taped by Apple: Central and Eastern Europe, where the number of personal computers is expected to grow significantly over the next four years.

Uptake of fixed and mobile broadband services will grow at a compound annual rate of 20% in the regions through 2014 as governments roll out more aggressive Internet connectivity policies in the wake of new guidelines covering expansion of telecom services, according to a new report from Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com), according to a new report from the author.

Last November, the EU Parliament adopted a package of telecom proposals not only to strengthen the power of telecom regulators, but also to guide its member states on how to propel broadband growth via targeted investments and spectrum awards, notes Sylwia Boguszewska, analyst at Pyramid Research and author...

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Mar 26
Don't ignore the Mac's importance in Apple...

Most of the media focus is on the iPad and iPhone these days, but you shouldn't underestimate the importance of the Mac in Apple's growth picture.

According to a recent Piper Jaffray report, analyst Gene Munster says Mac sales grew 39% during the months of January and February 2010 when measured year over year.  Munster says that NPD retail data points to sales of 2.8 to 2.9 million Mac units sold for the March quarter.

The Street estimate is 2.7. Munster is forecasting Mac unit growth of 26 to 31% year-over-year. If this growth rate were sustained throughout the year, it could translate to a 3% (US$7) upside to the $267 Trefis price estimate for Apple’s stock.

The big excitement right now -- and understandably so -- is on the iPad. But once that initial rush is over, we still have plenty to look forward to on the Mac front this year. Hardware upgrades all around, of course. iLife 2010? iWork 2010? New displays to go with Mac Pros? USB 3.0? Blu-ray support?...

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Mar 25
Patent reflects dynamically changing look for the Mac...

Future versions of Mac OS X may sport an interface with elements that offer an even more intuitive appearance to reflect the operation being performed. Patent number 20010077336 involves dynamically changing appearances for user interface elements during drag and drop operations.

The patent involves a user interface includes elements whose appearance dynamically changes in dependence upon functions associated with the elements. In the case of an icon that is the destination for a drag-and-drop operation, the image displayed for the icon changes in accordance with the object being dragged to it, to represent the task that will be performed as a result of the drag-and-drop operation. The appearance of other elements involved in drag-and-drop operations can also be varied, to reflect the task at hand. As a result, the user is provided with more intuitive feedback regarding the functions that will be performed by the computer as a result of a drag-and-drop operation. The...

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Mar 25
Apple patents range from displays to bit-error testing

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

Patent number 20010073332 is for a display having a plurality of driver integrated circuits. An electronic device is disclosed. In some embodiments, the electronic device includes a liquid-crystal display (LCD) and a plurality of driver integrated circuits (ICs) coupled to the LCD. The driver ICs may be disposed near non-central locations along a side of the LCD, and in some embodiments, one of the driver ICs may be a master driver IC and the other driver IC or driver ICs may be slave driver ICs. The inventors are Shawn R. Gettemy, Carlin J. Vieri, Yongman Lee and Wei H. Yao.

Patent number 20010073350 is for a display with reduced parasitic effects. Per the patent, visual artifacts in a display are reduced by moving, to the extent possible, display driver components to the display surface itself, thereby shortening conductor...

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Mar 25
Apple looking at solar-powered laptops

A new Apple patent (number 2010073791) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is considering ways to offer solar-powered laptops. Or at least portables with screens backlit by the sun.

An apparatus and methods for harnessing external light to illuminate a display screen of an electronic device are provided. The display screen may be illuminated using a light harness, a reflector, a translucent surface, or any combination thereof. The light harness may be cylindrical or hexahedral. The light harness may be coupled to an external light input or a collector. The reflector may be repositioned toward or away from the display screen to reflect external light toward the display screen. The translucent surface may allow external light to pass through it to illuminate the display screen. The translucent surface may protect the rear face of the display screen, or the rear face of the display screen may itself be translucent. The inventor is Peter H. Mahowald.

... | Read more »
Mar 25
Let's see support for third party themes, special...

It's not been mentioned by Apple, but I think we'll see iLife 2010 -- the next version of the suite that includes iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, iWeb and GarageBand -- before summer arrives. And I hope to see a major change to iMovie.

I was a BIG fan of iMovie HD. I hated iMovie '08. iMovie '09 was a major improvement over its immediate predecessor. However, I still wish Apple would restore something missing since iLife '06/HD and allow third parties to release themes, special effects and transitions for the video editing app.

Years ago that was possible. Companies such as GeeThree made some great extras for iMovie, and they're sorely missed.

Apple allows third party add-ons for iDVD and iWeb, as well as Pages and Keynote in the iWork suite. Why not iMovie?

I realize that Apple wants folks who wish to do anything beyond iMovie's rudimentary capabilities to move up to Final Cut Express. However, FC Express has so many more features than iMovie that I don't think...

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Mar 24
Femtocells may help those with crappy AT&T...

Hmmm. Could femtocells be the answer to my (lack of iPhone) problems? I currently don't own an iPhone because of the crappy AT&T wireless reception at my house.

However, folks like me will soon be able to fix that for US$150, reports the Associated Press (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/No-bars-at-home-ATampT-to-apf-178848912.ht...). AT&T said Wednesday that it's rolling out femtocells that, when connected to the home's broadband modem, will pick up signals from the cell phones in the home and relay them through the Internet connection. In essence, they're small cell towers for the home.

Dallas-based AT&T is introducing the 3G MicroCell in mid-April in some markets, which haven't been announced, notes the "AP." The rest of the country will follow over the next...

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Mar 24
Analyst says Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad sales all...

Barclay analyst Ben Reitzes told clients in a note today that Apple is firing on all cylinders with solid orders for Mac and iPod touches, the iPhone sales picking up in Japan and China and iPad supplies to rise steadily throughout the year.

As reported by "Barron's" (http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/03/24/apple-mac-ipod-order...), the analyst sees Apple selling five million iPads in calendar 2010, including 1.2 million in the June quarter, the first quarter the iPad will be shipping. However, he didn't give numbers on Mac or iPod touch sales.

Reitzes also says that "we have increased confidence that Apple will make a big splash this summer with a new iPhone form factor."...

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Mar 24
Sales of top-of-the-line computer gaming stuff rising

Jon Peddie Research (http://www.jonpeddie.com) -- a research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, computer graphics -- estimates that 46% of the dollars spent in 2009 on gaming motivated computer hardware were directed toward what the firm calls the Enthusiast class. This is the top-of-the line stuff: boutique computers, high-end processors and graphics cards, SSD's, specialized gaming mice, keyboards, speakers, monitors, etc.

JPR is forecasting a shift in product mix demand as the worldwide computer gaming user base continues to increase in size. By 2013 the Enthusiast class will lose market share to the Performance and Mainstream classes from 46% to 35% of dollars spent. The good news for Enthusiast hardware producers is that this "market share shrink" occurs in an expanding market and expenditures on the Enthusiast class will grow from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013, says JRP...

| Read more »
Mar 24
Apple's smartphone app dominance is only half the...

The fight for market dominance has heated up as mobile subscribers take to mobile smartphone apps in rapidly increasing numbers, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com).

While users are downloading applications at a phenomenal rate, Apple users download 2.4 times more applications than the average smartphone user, says the research group. However, downloads is not the only success factor for an application.

“Monitoring mobile application success by downloads alone is like driving your car and only using the rear view mirror; it provides only half of the story,” says Frank Dickson, In-Stat analyst. “Especially for free applications, usage is what determines success. Our research indicates that social networking and phone tools and utilities provide better returns for developers as they have above-average usage and below-average deletion rates.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:...

| Read more »
Mar 24
Mobile apps market is a 'new battleground'

The mobile applications market is undergoing a rebirth thanks largely to the efforts of companies like Apple and Google who over the last 18 months converted the category from a niche market that catered mainly for mobile geeks into a mainstream proposition, according to a new report by Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com).

The research group says that modern smartphones, the increasing penetration of high-speed mobile networks and the availability of flat-rate mobile data plans have been important enablers of this market. But equally important, has been the relatively recent development of device software, service delivery infrastructure and new business models that have ushered in a new era in mobile content and services.

Every large mobile operator around the globe now either already has a mobile applications strategy, or is developing one. While important...

| Read more »
Mar 24
Apple will want a slice of the interactive TV ad pie

It's been reported/rumored for several months now that Apple is trying to tempt TV networks into participating in a $30-per-month service for watching TV shows via iTunes. It could be a lucrative move for Apple, assuming that ads are involved.

The Parks Associates research firm says that, by 2014, U.S. addressable, interactive TV advertising revenue will reach approximately $4.3 billion. It's expected to reach $133 this year alone. Apple certainly wants a piece of this pie.

Peter Kafka of AllThingsD says the company is trying to round up support for a monthly subscription service that would deliver TV programs via its multimedia software. Quoting "multiple sources," Kafka says Apple isn’t tying the proposed service to a specific piece of hardware, like the Apple TV or the rumored iPad/iTablet, but is touting the offer as an extension of its iTunes software.

A so-called “over the top” service could theoretically rival the ones most...

| Read more »
Mar 23
Analyst predicts Apple branded HDTV within four years

The Sellers Research Firm (that's me) is still dubious that Apple will release its own line of TV sets. But Piper Jaffray Gene Munster thinks that's exactly what will happen in the next 2-4 years.

In a note to clients he predicts that Apple will offer an US$2,000 Internet- and content-connected TV. As reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com), Munster said he thinks Apple will combine hardware, software and content into a HDTV. When combined with a potential iTunes TV subscription plan priced between US$50 and $90 per month, users would no longer have a need for their monthly cable bill, he added.

Munster thinks an Apple-branded HDTV would "move the needle" for the market, with the hardware maker delivering a product that would serve as the replacement for an entire entertainment center, beyond just the display, notes "AppleInsider." In addition, the established iPhone and...

| Read more »
Mar 23
comScore: awareness of the iPad high right out of the...

comScore (http://www.comscore.com), which measures the digital world, has released the results of a survey of 2,176 Internet users regarding their awareness, attitudes and opinions of the Apple iPad and other e-readers/tablet devices.

Results were analyzed across age and gender profiles, as well as the “iOwners” consumer segment, defined as those owning either an iPhone or iPod touch.

“The tablet and e-reader market is developing at a breakneck pace right now, and Apple’s entry into the market is sure to accelerate mainstream consumer adoption,” says Serge Matta,
comScore executive vice president. “These devices have the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the way consumers currently access digital content. While only time will tell exactly how consumer behavior will change, our research suggests that not only will a variety of markets be impacted by the introduction of these devices...

| Read more »
Mar 23
Apple patents range from display technologies to text...

Four new Apple patents have popped up at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a summary of each.

Patent number 7,683,983 is for a display that emits circularly-polarized light for portable devices. One embodiment of the present invention provides a display that emits circularly-polarized light. This display includes a display mechanism that emits linearly-polarized light and a layer placed in the path of the linearly-polarized light. The layer receives the linearly-polarized light on one surface, converts the linearly-polarized light to circularly-polarized light, and then emits the circularly-polarized light from another surface. By emitting circularly-polarized light, the display reduces the perceived distortion found at some angles when the display is viewed through a linearly-polarizing filter. The inventors are John Z. Zhong, Wei Chen, Cheg Chen, Victor H.E. Yin and Shawn R. Gettemy.

Patent number 7,683,888 is for a...

| Read more »
Mar 23
Apple patent looks for improved ways to cool Macs by...

A new Apple patent (number 7,684,192) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that the company is investigating improved ways to cool Mac Pros and other computers.

The patent is for an apparatus for the air cooling of an electronic device. A contoured panel channels a flow of air within the housing of an electronic device so as to channel the flow of air more directly over heat producing elements such as the microprocessor and peripheral cards. A sensor can also be employed to determine whether the panel is present and properly placed. If not, measures can be taken to reduce the heat generated by the heat producing elements. For example, a warning can be displayed, or the microprocessor can be instructed to enter sleep mode. The inventors are Steven Holmes and Douglas L. Heirich.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "As electronic devices increase in processing power and speed, their processors generate more and more heat, thus exacerbating...

| Read more »
Mar 23
Could Apple patent hint at monitor for the iPad?

An Apple patent (number 7,684,185) that first appeared in 2006 has re-appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It's for an integrated monitor and docking station. And you have to wonder if it hints at a future iteration of the iPad.

After all, the patent is for a portable computer -- and said portable computer doesn't appear to be an iPod or anything currently available. The docking station includes a display and a housing configured to hold the display in a manner that exposes a viewing surface of the display to view. The housing defines a docking area configured to receive a portable computer. The docking area is at least partly obscured by the display when viewed from the viewing surface side of the display at an angle substantially orthogonal to the viewing surface.

Traditionally a portable computer docking station requires a separate external monitor to be connected (e.g., by cable) to the docking station when a display other than the integrated...

| Read more »
Mar 23
Coming later this year (hopefully): Wi-Fi Direct...

Coming later this year or perhaps in early 2011: Wi-Fi devices that will be able to connect in a new way that makes it more simple and convenient than ever to do things like print, share and display.

Ad hoc wireless networking has always been more difficult than it should be. Plus, it maxes out at 11 mbps. Wi-Fi Direct will connect at existing Wi-Fi speeds of up to 250 mbps. And Wi-Fi Direct devices will also be able to broadcast their availability and seek out other Wi-Fi Direct devices.

As noted by "PC World" (http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/173699/wifi_direct_could_b...), with Wi-Fi Direct only one of the devices needs to be compliant with Wi-Fi Direct to establish the peer-to-peer connection. So, for example, a Wi-Fi Direct-...

| Read more »
Mar 22
Canalys: iPhone to have 21.3% of smartphone US market...

Smart phone shipments in North America totaled 47.2 million units in 2009, an increase of 27% over the volume seen in 2008, helped by a strong fourth quarter. Apple is expected to sell 13.8 million iPhones in 2010 for a market share of 21.3%.

The smartphone growth is forecast to accelerate to 38% in 2010, bringing total shipments in the region to 65.1 million units, according to Canalys (http://www.canalys.com). The research group thinks RIM will retain its leadership position in the North American market in 2010, with Apple in second place by operating system (OS) vendor share. Both vendors will grow their annual shipment volumes in the region, by 21% and 27% respectively.

In 2009, RIM held a 49% market share in North America, with Apple at 23%, though they will each lose a modest portion of their share this year as the total market grows at a quicker pace. RIM will remain strong in the corporate...

| Read more »
Mar 22
Analyst: Apple stores in China could help drive...

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty tells clients in a research note that China represents Apple’s next major geographic growth opportunity, and that Apple's plan to open 25 retail stores in China, announced during its shareholders meeting in February, could help drive Apple's share price  — in her "bull case" scenario -- as high as US$435 within a year.

As reported by "Fortune" (http://macosg.me/2/0m), Huberty expounds a positive correlation between Apple store expansion and the increase in Mac market share. Correlation does not mean causation, of course, but the trends do seem clear, notes "Fortune."

Apple opened 123 stores in the U.S. between Sept. 2003 and Sept. 2009 while the Mac's domestic market share grew from just over 3% to as high as 9% (before dipping below 8% last summer).

| Read more »
Mar 22
Consumers want both pay TV and Over-the-Top video

Now, Apple, you know I'm not going to quit hounding you until you move the Apple TV out of the "hobby" category. Anyway, here's some new research for you to consider.

Consumers want their Internet TV, according to market research firm In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). Already, based on In-Stat’s new multi-client research, 26% of U.S. consumer respondents report viewing Internet TV more than once per week. However, rather than a substitute for traditional pay TV services, consumers want Over-the-Top (OTT) Internet video to compliment traditional TV offerings.

“Consumers want the best of both worlds: pay TV and OTT Video,” says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. “Nearly 40% of consumer broadband household respondents want a combination of linear and on-demand TV, and nearly three quarters want to acquire all their video content from their pay TV operator.”

The recent research also found:

° ...

| Read more »
Mar 19
Apple firing on all cylinders to line up iPad content

Things are busy, busy, busy as the April 3 date for the iPad to go on sale. Apple is working to drum up lots of content for the new device in a variety of areas.

Games are the predominant type of app being tested on the iPad, making up 44% of the total, according to info from Flurry Analytics. Entertainment apps -- including videos -- come in second with 14%. Social networking programs made up 7% of the total, followed by sports, travel, lifestyle, and utilities.

Apple is also reportedly working hard to get TV shows on the iPad. "The Wall Street Journal" (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870352320457512986226470419...) says Apple has put its magazine, newspaper and textbook projects "on backburner" as it concentrates on cutting media content deals in the weeks before the iPad's...

| Read more »
 
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