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May 05
Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and security

Everyone knows that Microsoft products are the main targets of malware and hackers, and Adobe products are catching up in this regard. What's more, some pundits think Apple may be next.

Marc Maiffret, co-founder and chief technical officer of eEye Digital Security, told "InfoWorld" (http://www.infoworld.com/d/security-central/the-security-hole-baton-pass...) that "most people in the Apple world have a false sense of security and an elitism."

"I took some heat recently for saying Apple was way behind Microsoft on security," he says. "Look who they just hired for security -- Window Snyder, who played a lead role in helping Microsoft turn around their security. That shows the company starting to move past the...

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May 05
Opinion: The magic of Apple is hard to replicate

I read with some amusement that Microsoft dropped their tablet concept project within a month of iPad being released. Redmond knew when they had been licked -- which was before the race even started.

A tablet PC running windows is nothing special enough to matter. Even a novel form factor and a touch version of Windows was no match for iPad. The power of the Mac OS X in various modes and the infrastructure of the iTunes store, along with the reputation of Apple hardware, was enough to trump the mediocrity we have come expect from Microsoft. Despite the bravado and mocking of Apple by Balmer and company, one only has to handle an iPad to know it is going to be game changer and the price is right.

Hiring an Apple employee has also been tied, without the desired effect. Look at Palm. Trying to match the iPhone magic has been elusive and getting enough developers to launch apps using the Palm OS has also been impossible to repeat. I think even with the virtually...

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May 04
Apple patents involve digital audio input, video...

Apple patents involving digital audio input, video acquisition and more have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a look at each of them.

Patent number 7,710,294 is for an externally clocked digital audio input, determining a valid clock and muting audio during synchronization. The present invention relates broadly to digital input in a computer device. Specifically, the present invention relates to clock synchronization in a device that supports digital audio input.

Methods and apparatus for determining the existence of an external clock over a digital input port on a computer. In one embodiment, the external clock is validated, and a lock is performed when the clock is valid. Whenever a loss of the lock is detected, and, if a re-lock is likely, the apparatus is muted so that audio artifacts that would otherwise be heard are minimized. The methods and apparatus also provide automatic re-locking to the external clock when a...

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May 04
Floating in middle Tennessee...

So many of you have emailed about how I'm doing with the recent disaster in my neck of the woods, I simply don't have time to write each and every one. But your thoughts are more appreciated than you can imagine. But here's the short version....

The Great Flood of 2010, they're calling it. Nothing great about it. Middle Tennessee got the most rain in history over the weekend and into Monday, and there were floods everywhere. Eleven people died (and maybe more; that's the tally as I write this).

So all things considered I'm lucky. Not happy, but lucky. My basement has 13 inches of water in it. My stationary bike and my Bowflex are ruined. My comic book collection is ruined. And some of my electronics stuff was ruined. In case you think I was nuts for putting all this down there, let me just say in my defense that my abode and home office is located on a HIGH hill and not in a flood plane.

Anyway, as my son Matt and I were rushing to get stuff out of the...

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May 03
TV widgets/, apps alter how folks access Internet...

Most consumer electronics (CE) device manufacturers are introducing software platforms that support widgets -- also called TV applications, reports In-Stat (http://www.in-stat.com). And this sets the stage for a new market and alters how people will access Internet content -- from news, web-surfing and purchasing, to watching Netflix movies and YouTube.

TV applications are small, self-contained software programs that can be plugged into a web application to access a wide range of content. Due to their broad scope, TV apps are rapidly becoming a ubiquitous product requirement for nearly all web-enabled, consumer electronic devices.

“By 2013, TV applications have the potential to generate over $1.7 billion in annual revenue,” says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. “Our primary research shows consumers already have a moderate interest in TV Widgets. An innovative web-enabled CE device and service from a...

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Apr 30
Should Apple buy Netflix or just crush it?


While Steve Jobs glibly passes the AppleTV device off as a "hobby", he is too smart to have missed the big picture, as broadcast, cable TV and even satellite TV seem to have peaked and are in a slow decline in both customers and revenue. Then you see Blockbuster and countless other smaller video rental places in decline, you have to ask the question, where are the customers going?  DVD disk sales can't be the answer either.  

Digital TV and High Definition TV have made inroads faster than prior TV technology. It was years before VHS penetrated the market and became very common. DVD disks have already peaked and Blu-ray has now begun its reign since it clobbered the other high def. format.  I expect the period Blu-ray is popular to be short, as streaming HD entertainment is going to be the next wave.  The high speed Internet service that is required  to make downloading HDTV programing fast enough to be practical is becoming an expected level or service these days.

...

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Apr 29
A call to action on those Mac OS-less Apple Design...

Okay, I'm still hacked off that Apple is only allowing iPhone and iPad apps in the 2010 Apple Design Awards (http://developer.apple.com/wwdc/ada/). Various stories have already been written about this (links at the bottom). Now it's time for a call to action.

The ADAs are designed to recognize apps that demonstrate technical excellence, innovation, technology adoption and more. So why has Apple decided to eliminate Mac products from the annual awards? If the company wants to spotlight the iPhone OS (and, for better or worse, it does) then why not have iPhone OS and Mac OS categories?

Let's do something about it. Let Apple how this decision reflects both poorly on Apple, but on their platforms that they claim they hold most dear. You can contact 'em at:

Public/Media Relations (408) 974-2042
Customer Relations (800) 676-2775
...

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Apr 29
Apple wants its devices to be more aware of lighting...

An Apple patent (number 20100103172) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for a system and method for rendering ambient light affected appearing imagery based on sensed ambient lighting. In other words, Apple wants its devices to be more "aware" of the lighting conditions around them.

The patent is for a method for rendering ambient light affected appearing imagery on a two-dimensional display screen in dependence on sensed ambient lighting conditions about the display screen is disclosed. The method includes processing, on a microprocessor in control communication with the display screen, data defining sensed ambient lighting conditions about the display screen, and based on said data, determining at least one light source's location relative to the display screen and an intensity of light from that at least one light source at the display screen.

The method then includes rendering an image of a constructed scene on the display screen based on the...

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Apr 29
Apple patent is for disappearing buttons

Apple -- or at least CEO Steve Jobs -- probably won't be happy until we can control our Macs, iPhones, iPods and iPads complete by brain waves. A new patent (20200103116) is for a disappearing button or slider and shows Apple's continued war to eliminate buttons on its devices.

An input device is disclosed. The input is a deflection based capacitive sensing input. Deflection of a metal fame of the input device causes a change in capacitance that is used to control a function of an electrical device. The input appears invisible because it is made of the same material as the housing it is contained in. Invisible backlit holes may make the input selectively visible or invisible to the user. The inventors are Omar S. Leung and David T. Amm.

Here's Apple's summary and background of the invention: "The present invention relates generally to input devices and device display systems, and more particularly to invisible input systems and device display systems. The input...

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Apr 28
Little Mac love shown in WWDC announcement

If you were hoping for a bit of love for the Mac platform whenever Apple got around to announcing the 2010 Worldwide Developer Conference -- as it finally did this week -- you're doubtless disappointed.

There was no mention of Mac OS X 10.7 in the official announcement. Instead, it promised that "this year’s WWDC offers developers in-depth sessions and hands-on working labs to learn more about iPhone OS 4." What's more, the press release says that "WWDC provides a unique opportunity for developers to work side-by-side with Apple engineers and interface designers to make their iPhone and iPad apps even better.”

That's a bit of a dissing for the Mac platform. And to make matters worse, there's no mention of Mac apps being included in the annual Apple Design Award winners. Apple's announcement says that "there will be five iPad and five iPhone Apple Design Award winners announced at WWDC 2010."

That's a stupid move. Mac developers are some of Apple's most...

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Apr 27
Apple patents involve graphics resources, antennas

Two new Apple patents have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. They're for virtualization of graphics resources and antennas with periodic shunt inductors.

Patent number 7,705,853 is for virtualization of graphics resources. Per the patent, graphics resources are virtualized through an interface between graphics hardware and graphics clients. The interface allocates the graphics resources across multiple graphics clients, processes commands for access to the graphics resources from the graphics clients, and resolves conflicts for the graphics resources among the clients. The inventors are John Stauffer, Bob Beretta and Ken Dyke.

Patent number 7,705,795 is for antennas with periodic shunt inductors. An antenna may be formed from conductive regions that define a gap that is bridged by shunt inductors. The inductors may have equal inductances and may be located equidistant from each other to form a scatter-type antenna...

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Apr 26
Go Blu-ray; it adds additional format enhancements

Here's another reason I think Blu-ray is going to be around awhile: the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) recently announced two new media specifications that use Blu-ray Disc technology to provide targeted functionality for commercial and consumer applications.

The specifications for BDXL (High Capacity Recordable and Rewritable discs) and IH-BD (Intra-Hybrid discs) are expected in the next few months. The BDXL specification, which is targeted primarily at commercial segments such as broadcasting, medical and document imaging enterprises with significant archiving needs, will provide customers with write-once options on 100GB and 128GB capacity discs and rewritable capability on 100GB discs. T

he discs reach these capacities by incorporating three to four recordable layers. A consumer version of BDXL is also expected, particularly in those regions where BD recorders have achieved broad consumer acceptance.

"Professional industries have expressed a desire to find...

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Apr 23
North by Northeast: you heard it here first -- I was...

North of Northeast is a column that offers commentaries from a Canadian perspective. OK, I'll admit it, I'm a crusty, curmudgeonly kind of guy; the classic "glass half empty" type, but I'm also willing to admit when I'm wrong … and when it comes to the iPad I was very, very wrong indeed.

Now, in my own defence, my first comments were made just days after the device was officially announced, and I had not yet laid my hands on one. Neither had many third-party developers. So all we were seeing were a handful of Apple apps and a bunch of transported iPhone apps. Not much to go by.

That was then, this is now. My own iPad finally arrived yesterday morning, after an epic sixteen day journey from Boston to the southwest shores of Nova Scotia via, it would seem, Timbuktu. I live 440km directly across the Gulf of Maine from Boston. There's nothing but water between us. Sixteen days? What, did they hand it off to the fattest postie in the US Postal Service and...

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Apr 23
Men with iPhones are more attractive to women

Hey, forget the old "chicks dig scars" cliche. Chicks dig iPhones. According to a recent survey conducted by Phones 4u -- an independent mobile retailer -- men with iPhones are luckiest in love.

The survey of 1,500 women suggests that men who own the Apple iPhone handset are said to be more attractive than those who don't. I don't -- thank you, AT&T -- though I'm happily married. But you single guys should take note.

Per the survey, 54% of women stated that they would be more likely to date a man if he owns an iPhone. One respondent suggested "if he has an iPhone then he's obviously intelligent and well-off."

"There's just something about a man who's good with computers that makes him more trustworthy," said Lucy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher from London. "If he's got the cash for an iPhone then he must be very good at his job, too."

-- Dennis Sellers
What about an iPod touch? And, if size matters, then what about guys with iPads?

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Apr 22
Apple patents range from audio playback to a...

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

Patent number 20100100212 involves efficient techniques for modifying audio playback rates. Improved techniques for modifying a playback rate of an audio item (e.g., an audio stream) are disclosed. As a result, the audio item can be played back faster or slower than normal. The improved techniques are resource efficient and well suited for audio items containing speech. The resource efficiency of the improved techniques make them well suited for use with portable media devices, such as portable media players. The inventors are Aram Lindahl and Joseph Mark Williams.

Patent number 20100098350 is for a blur computation algorithm. The proposed algorithm accomplishes a blur of an image using fragment programs on a GPU. Alternatively, the blur may be computed on a CPU through emulation or directly programmed. Modifications of the program are...

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Apr 22
What other 'extraordinary products' does...

Commenting on Apple's latest, greatest, beat-all-estimates financial results Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release that "we have several more extraordinary products in the pipeline for this year." What might they be?

One, of course, is the next version of the iPhone. New Macs will doubtless see the light of day. Perhaps with USB 3.0 or Light Peak technology. And maybe with Blu-ray playback as an option, though I'm not holding my breath for this.

After all, a "9to5Mac" reader sent Apple's head honcho an email (http://www.9to5mac.com/Steve-Jobs-BluRay-3490436) asking if if future Macs would support BluRay.  While not flatly denying the possibility, Jobs certainly didn't give out much hope in the form of his famous "stay tuned" responses. He noted that YouTube now supports HD video and seems content with that as a distribution channel for HD...

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Apr 20
Apple's financials: so how'd we do?

Apple announced its second quarter results for fiscal year 2010 on Tuesday. So how did the Sellers Research Firm (that's me) do in my prognostications? Well, better than the Street. However, all of us proved to be way too pessimistic.

Analysts expected, on average, about 6.8 million iPhones to be sold for the quarter, compared with 3.8 million units in the same period last year. Mac sales were expected to reach 2.7 million units for the quarter, up 22% from the same period last year. Sales of the iPod were expected to hit unit sales of nine million compared to 11 million in the same period last year.

The Sellers Research Firm predicted 6.9 million iPhone unit sales, 2.8 million Mac unit sales and 10 million unit iPod sales. Check back later today to see how we did.

The reality: Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones, 2.94 million Macs and 10.89 million iPods.

Oh well, when it comes to Apple's finances, I'm happy to underestimate how successful the company can...

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Apr 20
Apple's financials: the analysts'...

Apple will announce its second quarter results for fiscal year 2010 today at 2 pm (Pacific) and we'll have all the results here. Here's what the analysts are expecting -- per MarketWatch (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-could-dial-up-strong-earnings-wit...):-- and what the Sellers Research Firm (that's me) is predicting.

Analysts expect, on average, about 6.8 million iPhones to be sold for the quarter, compared with 3.8 million units in the same period last year. Mac sales are expected to reach 2.7 million units for the quarter, up 22% from the same period last year. Sales of the iPod are expected to hit unit sales of nine million compared to 11 million in the same period last year.

For the second fiscal quarter ended in March,...

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Apr 19
Higher ed students want more support for using...

Apple already has a big presence in education. But the potential is there for it to expand that presence.

Today's tech savvy college students seek more support when it comes to using digital tools in the classroom, according to a recent survey conducted by Cengage Learning (http://www.cengage.com), a global provider of teaching, learning and research solutions, in conjunction with Eduventures.

The survey, which was administered to both students and instructors, also reveals there is a direct correlation between classroom technology use, student engagement and overall learning outcomes. The Cengage Learning/Eduventures survey, entitled "Instructors and Students: Technology Use, Engagement and Learning Outcomes," found that 65% of instructors think students are tech savvy when it comes to using digital tools in the classroom.

Conversely, only 42% of students believe there's enough support for...

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Apr 15
Apple patents range from remote controls systems to...

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

Patent number 20010094585 involves remote control systems that can distinguish stray light sources. Remote control systems that can distinguish predetermined light sources from stray light sources, e.g., environmental light sources and/or reflections are provided. The predetermined light sources can be disposed in asymmetric substantially linear or two-dimensional patterns. The predetermined light sources also can output waveforms modulated in accordance with one or more signature modulation characteristics. The predetermined light sources also can output light at different signature wavelengths. The inventors are Steven Porter Hotelling, Nicolas Vincent King, Duncan Robert Kerr and Wing Kong Low.

Patent number 20010095198 is for shared comments for online document collaboration. Some embodiments of the present invention provide a...

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Apr 15
Apple wants to add social networking features to its...

According to an Apple patent (number 2010094730) at the US Patent & Trademark Office, Apple wants to enhance the shopping atmosphere of its online store by adding social networking features.

Representing activity in an online store is disclosed. Information associated with the activities of a second visitor to the store is received. An indication of the presence of a first visitor at the store is also received. The activities of the second visitor are displayed to the first visitor. The inventor is David A. Koski.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The goals of both online shops and physical stores are generally the same--facilitating the purchase of goods and services by customers. In some cases, online shopping offers advantages over shopping in a physical store. For example, online shops are often open continuously, whereas most physical stores have set hours. Online shoppers are also able to leverage features such as search functionality...

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Apr 15
USB 3.0 or Light Peak?

On one hand, I'm a little surprised that USB 3.0 didn't arrive on the new MacBook Pros announced this week. We may see it on the next iMacs and Mac Pros -- unless Apple makes one of its quantum leaps and goes directly to "Light Peak."

According to a recent Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com) study, the market for digital interface technologies continues growing, and includes USB, 1394, DVI, HDMI, and Bluetooth, among others. USB is the most common and most-used interface among both home and work computer users, according to the research grouop. .

Research and Market's 21-question survey tracked the ownership of seven interface technologies among In-Stat's Technology Adoption Panel in both work and home PCs: USB, 1394 (FireWire to Mac users), DVI, HDMI, Bluetooth, DisplayPort, and eSATA. It also queried 1,216 tech-savvy, predominantly male, online respondents...

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Apr 15
Look for games, games, games on the iPhone

My forecast for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad: games, games and more games.

comScore (http://www.comscore.com), a research group that "measures the digital world," has released the results of a study on mobile gaming highlighting the potential for growth in the mobile gaming market despite a 13% decline in the number of U.S. mobile gamers during the past year. This overall decline was driven by a 35% decline in mobile gaming among feature phone (i.e. non-smartphone) subscribers, who represent approximately 80% of the market, which contrasted with the 60% increase in the number of gamers via smartphone.

"Although the number of mobile gamers has declined in the past year, there is reason for significant optimism about the future of this market," says Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president, Mobile, and senior analyst. "As the market transitions from feature phones to smartphones, the dynamics...

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Apr 14
Primate Labs Shows speed differences of new MacBook...

Are you curious as to how much faster the new MacBook Pros are? The folks over at Primate Labs have run Geekbench on the new models compared to the ones from 2009, and the results show some significant speed improvements. Check them out for yourself.

http://www.primatelabs.ca/blog/2010/04/macbookpro-benchmarks/

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Apr 14
Apple, cast your iPhone eyes toward China

If Apple really wants to sell an additional boatload (or a thousand boatloads) of iPhones, it should be eyeing China -- and TD-SCDMA.

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, China’s 3G TD-SCDMA handset shipments will grow 600% during 2010. Yep, 600%. With the backing of the world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, TD-SCDMA will be one of the fastest growing mobile technologies in the world, making China an important 3G market.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, says the surging volumes of TD-SCDMA handsets will mean no major phone maker can afford to ignore China. "If Apple eventually chooses to launch a TD-SCDMA version of its iPhone, then we believe this would ignite the market and provide considerable upside for Apple in China," he adds.

Of course, this would take some work on Apple's part in conjunction with a wireless carrier in China (I'd bet on China Mobile). TD_SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous...

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Apr 14
The Mac is still the center of the digital lifestyle/...

Were you as glad as I was with the announcements of the new MacBook Pros yesterday? It's not that I'm in the market for a new laptop; it's just that I'm glad to see some love for what I maintain is still Apple's most important product line: the Mac.

A lot of pundits see the iPad as more evidence of Apple's plan to move to a "post personal computer world." I don't think that such a world is coming because: a) the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, etc., are actually offshoots of the personal computer, even running a variant of Mac OS X, and b) none of those devices can replace a full fledged personal computer for many tasks.

That said, I do believe that iPad-like devices will replace some computers (mainly netbooks and entry-level laptops, to some extend). But those devices will still be spokes in a digital hub. The center of that digital hub will be the personal computer. And the personal computer occupying that center spot will increasingly be the Mac.

In 2008,...

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Apr 13
Apple wants to facilitate hot unpluggable devices

Apple wants to make it easier to disconnect devices from your Mac, according to a new patent (number 7,698,472) at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

It's for a hot unpluggable media storage device. Improved techniques for rendering a peripheral device removable (e.g., unpluggable) are disclosed. According to one aspect of the invention, the peripheral device is rendered removable from a host computer without preparatory user actions. In effect, the peripheral device can be automatically prepared for removal in the event that its user removes (unplugs) it from its host computer. According to another aspect of the invention, the peripheral device includes a data storage device that is mounted to a file system of the other computer when the other computer desires access to the data storage device. Otherwise, the data storage device is normally unmounted so that if the peripheral device were to be removed (e.g., unplugged) no harm or damage to data stored therein would occur...

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Apr 13
Apple patents range from wall portions to glyph...

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

Patent number 7,697,283 is for an enclosure foot assembly and manufacture. Wall portions, such as wall portions of electronic device housing components, are provided with one or more foot assemblies. A foot assembly can be formed by creating an internal cavity in an internal surface of the wall portion, an external cavity in an external surface of the wall portion, and a hollow passageway extending through the wall portion and between the cavities. The foot assembly can be completed by inserting a foot at least partially through the external cavity and hollow passageway and into the internal cavity, such that an external portion of the foot is at least partially contained within and contacting the surfaces of the external cavity, and such that an internal portion of the foot is at least partially contained within the internal cavity. A portion of the foot...

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Apr 13
Apple wins patent for Smart Garment

Apple has won a patent (number 7,698,101) for a smart garment. It's a sensor authenticated to a garment that transfers information, either wirelessly or wired, to an external data processing device.

Such information includes location information, physiometric data of the individual wearing the garment, garment performance and wear data (when the garment is an athletic shoe, for example). The external data processing device can be portable digital media players that are, in turn, in wireless communication with a server computer or other wireless devices. The inventors are Brett G. Alten and Robert Edward Borchers.

The invention relates generally to performance monitoring. More particularly, methods and apparatus electronically pairing an authorized garment and a sensor that receives data from the garment are disclosed.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention:
"The use of devices to obtain exercise performance information is known. For...

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Apr 13
Apple, cast your iPhone eyes toward China

f Apple really wants to sell an additional boatload (or a thousand boatloads) of iPhones, it should be eyeing China -- and TD-SCDMA.

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics (http://www.strategyanalytics.com), China’s 3G TD-SCDMA handset shipments will grow 600% during 2010. Yep, 600%. With the backing of the world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, TD-SCDMA will be one of the fastest growing mobile technologies in the world, making China an important 3G market.

Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, says the surging volumes of TD-SCDMA handsets will mean no major phone maker can afford to ignore China. "If Apple eventually chooses to launch a TD-SCDMA version of its iPhone, then we believe this would ignite the market and provide considerable upside for Apple in China," he adds.

Of course, this would take some work on Apple's part in conjunction...

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Apr 12
Online market for digital goods to grow with no end in...

No doubt the worldwide online market for digital goods will grow amid a state of continuous disruption across all forms of content markets -- and Apple looks like the best company to capitalize on this.

According to a new report from GigaOM Pro (http://www.gigaom.com), fueled by an ever-growing user base, migration from physical formats to digital distribution, and a proliferation of new connected devices, the overall market for digital goods will grow to US$36 billion by 2014, up from $16.7 billion in 2009.

While underlying demand for digital goods is fueled by the transition toward a connected-device (the iPad, anyone?), broadband-enabled society, the underlying business dynamics across many markets are forcing intellectual property owners to experiment with new payment and business models to survive, says the analysis firm. Advertising-supported media continues to suffer, as news and information...

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Apr 09
Opinion: Next gen, touchscreen Macs running Mac OS X/...

Touchscreen desktops and laptops won't be the norm for several years, but I think Apple will, not surprisingly, be head of the curve.

In fact, I think by late 2011, if not before, we'll see Macs with touchscreens running an operating system that merges features of the iPhone OS and Mac OS X. Apple is already prepping us for this with multi-touch on its laptops and the multi-touch features of the Magic Mouse.

Touchscreen Macs will first gain ground among young end users, move onto small and home business owners, then -- dare we hope? -- the enterprise. Research from the Gartner research group backs this up.

"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," says Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 % of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2% in 2009. On the other hand, we are predicting that fewer than...

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Apr 08
Apple patents range from on-chip frame buffer to email...

In the addition to the ones we've already covered, four other Apple patents have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a summary of each.

Patent number 20010085290 is for the use of an on-chip frame buffer to improve LCD response drive by overdriving. The patent is for a method and system is disclosed for improving the response time of displays, such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs). The method includes receiving a target picture frame and comparing it to a current picture frame. If the comparison shows that a display may be unable to transition from a current pixel intensity level to a target pixel intensity level within a specified time period, then the pixels that correspond to those current pixel intensities that may not be reach target pixel intensities may be overdriven. This overdriving of one or more pixels may allow the pixel to reach the target pixel intensity within the specified time period. The inventors are Michael Culbert...

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Apr 08
Is Apple planning a mini tower?

I find it hard to believe that Apple is planning a mini tower desktop with the iMac being such a raging success, but a new Apple patent (20100088450) at least hints at the possibility. The patent is for a component retention mechanism and could also reflect an upcoming revision of the Mac Pro, though the wording makes that seem unlikely.

Apple says the invention relates generally to "personal computing devices" (which would seem to differentiate the computer in question from the pro-oriented Mac Pro workstation) and more particularly to the facilitation of increased modularity with respect to various components of such personal computing devices. According to the patent, a component retention mechanism facilitates improved installation, retention and removal of hardware components (e.g., PCI cards) on a personal computer. The retention mechanism includes a locking component, support member, and release mechanism coupled to each other. The locking component can be a steel...

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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.

... | Read more »
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.

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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,...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
 
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Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
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Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
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Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
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Cyberduck 4.5.2 - FTP and SFTP browser....
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ALONE... (Games)
ALONE... 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: ALONE is a handcrafted, intense survival journey through space. Navigate caves, rip through rocky debris, dodge rocks and comets... | Read more »
Almightree: The Last Dreamer (Games)
Almightree: The Last Dreamer 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The world is shattering and you are the only hope to restore the balance. A thrilling and challenging 3D puzzle... | Read more »
The Nightmare Cooperative (Games)
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Mobile Convolution (Music)
Mobile Convolution 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Invaders! From Outer Space Review
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Spooklands Review
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Foodie Yama Review
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12-Inch MacBook Air Coming in 4Q14 or 2015 –...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that according to Taiwan-based upstream supply chain insiders, Apple plans to launch a thinner MacBook model either at year end 2014 or in 2015, and that... Read more
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Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $10...
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The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more

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