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Sep 25
Apple granted patent for gimballed scroll wheel

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8274479) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a gimballed scroll wheel. An input device that includes both a movement detector, such as mechanical switch, and positional indicator, such as touch pad touch screen, and/or touch sensing housing is disclosed.

These two input devices can be used substantially simultaneously to provide a command to the device. In this manner, different commands can be associated with depressing a moveable member in different areas and a single moveable member can perform like several buttons.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Several kinds of input devices are known for performing operations in a computing device. Some examples of input devices include buttons, switches, keyboards, mice, trackballs, touch pads, joy sticks, touch screens and the like. Each of these devices has advantages and disadvantages that may be taken into account when designing an input apparatus...

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Sep 24
Greg's Bite: iPhone 5 & iOS 6 issues

By Greg Mills

Whenever Apple drops its latest technological nuke on the floundering electronics sector, the usual pundits find something to whine about. For the iPhone 4 it was the antenna death grip for the iPhone 4s it didn't have enough killer new features.  

For the iPhone 5, the improvements didn't grab you by the lapel and shake you enough and besides, Steve Jobs wasn't there to sell it. Never mind the iPhone 5 hadn't even been released yet when the whining started.

The court jester of the tech world, John C Dvorak, began finding fault with the iPhone 5 clear back in June. Now that it is actually out, something compelling to complain about is certain to come out. Praise for anything Apple comes dear to readers of Dvorak's patter. If John hates it, Apple will sell millions of the product.  The data is thin about how Apple product will fare that Dvorak likes it, since I can't think of anything he liked until much later when he got to try it...

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Sep 24
Demand for mobile services in air travel hits new high

Demand for mobile services in air travel has reached an all-time high. FlightView (www.flightview.com), a provider of day-of-travel information, has released two new research reports -- specific to airports and airlines -- with feedback from more than 2,600 business and leisure travelers revealing incredibly high expectations for mobile communication and self-service capabilities. This presents airports and airlines with a major opportunity to generate ancillary revenue and strengthen customer service.

"We’ve seen a fundamental change in the way people travel, with a rapidly increasing dependence on mobile devices," says Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. "That means airports and airlines need to move beyond showing static information on mobile apps and websites to pushing relevant, timely updates and offering key functionality for informing and empowering their customers to make better decisions on the go."...

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Sep 21
Tablets drive customer satisfaction with traditional...

According to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)l the personal computer division in the Index rated an all time score of 80 out of 100. Could it be due to the fact that more folks are buying Macs? Perhaps. But the iPad also plays a part.

As the personal computer market continues to undergo its transformation toward smaller, more mobile computing and away from stationary desktop solutions, customer satisfaction with the personal computer industry as a whole gains further traction -- up 2.6% to an all-time high ACSI score of 80.

The improvement over the past year blasts away the industry’s former high point of 78 that was earned in both 2010 and 2011. ACSI measurement of the industry includes customer satisfaction with all types of personal computers: desktops, laptops and tablets.

"The recent stall in demand for desktop computers comes in conjunction with a surge of interest in small, mobile computers; in particular, devices that are...

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Sep 20
Apple granted patent for dual-sided trackpad

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20120235949) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a dual-sided trackpad.

A system including a capacitive array element capable of sensing touch from either side is described. A connected processor unit, either in the device or the host system, may be adapted to interpret signals from the capacitive array element as a cursor or view movement with six degrees of freedom.

The track pad device may include a display element and the capacitive array element may be translucent. The display element and the array element may be configured with respect to each other, where different configurations can be associated with different operating modes. For example, when the array element lies over the display screen so that the display screen is viewable through the array element, the array element can function as a touch screen. In another configuration, the array element may generate signals indicating a user's touch from one or the...

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Sep 20
Ice Screen? Why not an iMac TV?

Ice Screen, the upcoming 26-inch Android-based, tablet, smart display from China's TCL, "looks like the kind of TV a younger generation would appreciate," says "CNNMoney." Maybe I'm missing something, but ... a 26-inch tablet? If the young folk want a TV they can interact with, perhaps Apple should give them an iMac with built-in television features.

"The [Ice Screen] is a 26-inch large display," says Hao Yi, general manager of TCL Multimedia Emerging Market Business Center. "It is not just for TV, as the younger generation doesn't watch TV like the older generation."

The Ice Screen -- photo courtesy of "endgadget" (www.endgadget.com) -- has options for music downloads and Internet applications. It boasts a 1366 x 768 resolution. However, it still requires a connection to a cloud service, or else it's just a screen without a tuner. In that case, most folks might prefer what I'll call the iMac TV, which I...

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Sep 20
Apple files patent for e-book reading location...

An Apple patent (number 20120240036) for an e-book reading location indicator has popped up at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

To help a reader of an electronic document, e.g., an eBook, find his or her reading location following a repagination event, an electronic reader application executing on an electronic device displays a first portion of content of the electronic document, detects that the reader has performed a predetermined action that triggers repagination of the electronic document, and repaginating the electronic document to cause the reader application to display a second portion of content of the electronic document, the second portion including at least some of the first portion of content and at least some newly visible content of the electronic document, such that the newly visible content appears visually different, at least temporarily, from the first portion of content that remains visible.

Here's Apple's background on the patent: "Much...

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Sep 20
Apple patent is for messaging system, service

An Apple patent (patent number 20120238299) for a messaging system and service has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It involves a method of modifying a data message during transmission through a data communications network, the data communications network being arranged to deliver messages under control of a network operator and including a first store-and-forward network node.

The first store-and-forward network node is arranged to store data messages and forward the same to a recipient in dependence on status data corresponding to a terminal associated therewith. The method further includes receiving a message at a second store-and-forward node, wherein the second store-and-forward node is different from the first store-and-forward network node, arranging for the message to be modified before being forwarded from the second store-and forward node, and transmitting the message to the first store-and-forward network node for forwarding to the recipient....

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Sep 20
Future iOS devices may recognize your mug

An Apple patent (number 20120235790) to lock and unlock iOS devices via facial recognition has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

In an embodiment of the invention, an unlocked mobile device is configured to capture images, analyze the images to detect a user's face, and automatically lock the device in response to determining that a user's face does not appear in the images. The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a threshold period of time.

In another embodiment, a locked mobile device is configured to capture an initial image using its camera, capture a new image in response to detecting movement of the device, determine that the device moved to a use position, capture a subsequent image in response to determining that the device moved to a use position, analyze the subsequent image to detect a user's face, and unlock the device in response to detecting...

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Sep 20
Apple wants to shake things up with iOS device...

According to a new Apple patent (number 20120235510) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Apple wants to shake things up on its iOS devices. Literally.

The patent, for harnessing power through electronic induction utilizing printed coils, would let you shake an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to re-charge 'em. Per the patent, a system can include one or more moveable magnets adjacent to printed coils on a circuit. For example, a system can include one or more magnets that are operative to move alongside a circuit board that includes printed coils.

The one or more magnets may move, for example, when a user shakes the system or when the user walks or runs while holding the device. The movement of the one or more magnets may create an electromotive force (e.g., a voltage) across the printed coils, and this force may be used to generate electric power.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Traditional systems for harnessing power through electromagnetic...

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Sep 19
Enough of this talk about Apple losing its mojo

Enough is enough. I'm tired of all the talk that Apple has lost its mojo.

No doubt you've heard lots of such talk lately. It goes like this: "The iPhone 5 was just what was expected, nothing more and was a disappointment" "The iPhone 5 media event was nothing compared with a Steve Jobs media event."

Let's look at reality. Is the iPhone 5 a "disappointment"? Well, if you call selling out of pre-orders within 24 hours after being announced, I guess that's a disappointment. If you call the placement of two million iPhone orders within 24 hours (more than double the previous record of one million by the iPhone 4S) disappointing, then I guess it's a disappointment. If you call the unveiling of new, long overdue earbuds and a chip that may be a unique Apple design disappointing, then I guess it's a disappointment.

However, in the real world, the launch of the iPhone 5 is anything but a disappointment. It's a smash hit.

As to the assertion that the iPhone 5...

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Sep 18
Apple patent is for dual-band antenna on a desktop...

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8269677) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a dual-band cavity backed antenna for an integrated desktop computer -- in other words, the iMac.

Per the patent, an electronic device may have a housing with conductive housing walls. A dielectric antenna window may be formed in an opening in one of the conductive housing walls. A dielectric logo may form the dielectric antenna window. A dielectric support structure may have an outline that matches the dielectric logo. An antenna resonating element for an antenna may be formed on the dielectric support structure.

An antenna cavity for the antenna may be formed by a conductive cavity structure. A pattern of voids in the dielectric support structure may reduce dielectric loading for the antenna. The conductive cavity structure may be formed from solderable plated metal. The conductive cavity structure may have a planar lip that is attached to the conductive housing walls...

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Sep 18
One-third of Americans would buy iPhone 5

It's already well known that the latest Apple smartphone is a big hit. Preorders at the Apple online store sold out within an hour of the iPhone 5 going on sale.

Within 24 hours of Apple CEO Tim Cook's unveiling of the iPhone 5, Toluna QuickSurveys (www.Toluna.com) undertook the first large scale consumer reaction to the launch. Overwhelmingly, the survey of 2000 Americans found consumers reacted positively to the announcement with half of consumers saying they were extremely satisfied with the features unveiled.

In particular, 58% were impressed by the new look, with consumers between the ages of 18-34 (61%) slightly more impressed than consumers over 35 (55%). Other findings included:

° Extended battery life was the favorite element of the new phone followed by the enhanced processing power and speed.

° People who already own an iPhone are more likely to upgrade to the iPhone 5 with 76% saying...

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Sep 17
Greg's Bite: Google news and censorship of the Web

By Greg Mills

Americans are being killed in distant places around the world, in effect, due to policies Google reckons to be protective of freedom of expression on the web. In theory, a strict policy of letting content stand makes sense and protects us from highhanded authoritative governments. There are limits to any theory, which, when taken to an extreme, begin to fade in the light of day.

Such light ought to be dawning in Mountain View, about now. Years of work by our State Department to appear even-handed in the Arab sphere of influence is being swiftly undone by access to a fourth rate movie about Mohammad, content that Google insists needs to stay posted on the web. This to satisfy the web's "freedom of the wild west" mentality that also screams of anarchy.  Anarchy might be the opposite of repressiveness, but at the end of the day, is it any better? To much law or too little law. See http://www.debka.com/article/22358/Post-Arab-Spring-%...

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Sep 17
Study: wireless customers using 4G LTE experience...

The iPhone 5 incorporates 4G LTE technology. According to a new study that's a good thing.

Wireless customers who use 4G LTE-enabled devices experience fewer data-related issues, especially with slow connection speeds, than do customers who use 3G and other 4G-enabled devices, according to the J.D. Power and Associates' "2012 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance StudySM --Volume 2." The semiannual study evaluates wireless customers' most recent usage activities in three areas that impact network performance: calling, messaging and data. Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that affect the customer experience (in order of importance): dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; email connection errors; and slow downloads.

Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, with a...

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Sep 17
Are books doomed to extinction?


Author Michael Levin says he can see the writing on the iPad.

"Unless something changes, books as we know them are doomed, and not simply because people prefer to read on their iPads or Kindles" says Levin, (www.BusinessGhost.com), a "New York Times" best-selling author, as well as editor, publisher, co-writer and ghostwriter. "You’ll see the major publishing houses starting to go away in three to five years. Their business model is in free fall. Already, we’re seeing books becoming shorter, cheaper, and diminishing in quality. You’ll soon see fewer really good authors bothering to write books, because books are no longer a meaningful source of revenue."

Levin points to several developments he says foreshadow a sad ending for books:

° Attention spans are diminishing. Three-fourths of teachers said their students’ attention spans are shorter than ever, according to a poll released in June....

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Sep 14
People are using TV differently -- which could be good...

Rumors say that complicated licensing deals with uncooperative film/TV studios and satellite/cable providers are delaying the rumored Apple-branded HDTV (the "iTV") as well as a cable-ready Apple TV (http://macte.ch/W0PHd). If and when such deals are hammered out, Apple could be in a great position as far as "capturing the living room" is concerned.

According to an "Associated Press" report (macte.ch/mbyw0), the number of U.S. homes that don't get traditional television service continues to increase, but that doesn't mean they don't have TVs. The Nielsen company says in a recent report that three-quarters of the estimated five million U.S. homes that don't get TV signals over the airways or through cable, satellite or telecommunications companies still have TV sets.

Many of these homes are satisfied to use their TVs for games or get programming through DVDs or services like Netflix or Apple TV,...

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Sep 14
One take on the iPhone 5 hype

By Hathem Brand

It's mid-September, and for techheads that can only mean one thing: The iPhone 5 is now up for grabs on store shelves. In retrospect, have the cynics (and conversely, the promoters) been proven right? Did the iPhone 5 really deserve the waves of hype it made on the tech front?

Let's go over some of the most prominent promises made and kept.

The A6 chip

Before the release, reports of the iPhone5 incorporating the much hyped quad-core A6 chip were rampant. This, however, seemed to have been fueled by camps from both sides of the fence.

If you'll remember, the excitement over the previously released A5X chip had been quickly silenced by cries of supposed foul play, mainly directed at the chip not turning out to be truly quad-core. While more a marketing "snafu" than anything else (the chip only had a dual-core CPU, although its GPU was quad-core), it nevertheless incensed a lot of consumers who...

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Sep 13
Apple beefing up cursor transition features on the Mac

An Apple patent (number 201202237) shows that Apple is working on ways for cursors in Mac OS X to more easily transition based on where it's located on screen and what activity is underway at the time.

Responsive to a trigger event, a first cursor state having a first visual appearance is transitioned into a second cursor state having a second visual appearance. A transition type and transition time can be specified so that the transition can be visually perceived by a user. The cursor states can be associated with different cursor types and/or cursor schemes.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A cursor is a moving placement or pointer that indicates a position on a display. Some computer operating systems use multiple cursor types. For example, an arrow cursor may be used in one application and a crosshair or text cursor may be used in another application. Different cursor types can help a user interact with an operating system and applications...

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Sep 13
Apple patent involves managing user interface control...

An Apple patent (number 20120233569) for managing user interface control panels on the Mac has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a computer-implemented method includes displaying a user interface on a display device, the user interface displaying a content item, in response to receiving input, displaying a user interface control panel including a user interface control, the user interface control configured to enable modifying one or more attributes of the content item, and in response to detecting a first selection of the user interface control, displaying a portion of the user interface control panel and hiding a portion of the user interface control panel, the displayed portion of the user interface control panel including the user interface control.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Software applications can edit content items such as images, video, audio, documents, and the like. Content items, such as...

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Sep 13
Apple files patent video stabilization feature

Apple has filed a patent (number 2012022970) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for "zoom indication for stabilizing unstable video clips." It involves the improved stabilization feature found on the iPhone 5 and latest iPod touch, as well as its various video editing applications.

A computer-implemented method for zoom indication for stabilizing unstable video clips is described. To indicate zoom, a zoom value associated with an unstable segment of a video clip is received. The zoom value represents a value by which frames of the video clip in the unstable segment need to be zoomed to stabilize the unstable segment. An indicia is displayed representing the zoom value in a thumbnail in a user interface. The thumbnail represents the video clip. The indicia displayed over a region in the thumbnail corresponding to the unstable segment in the video clip.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Digital video clips can be recorded using digital video cameras...

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Sep 13
Some thoughts on yesterday's Apple media event...

Yesterday's Apple media event held no major surprises. The iPhone 5, a new iTunes, a new iPod touch and a new iPod nano were revealed -- as everyone expected. There was no iPad mini, 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro or updated iMac announcements. But they're coming.

With that in mind, here are some random thoughts that occurred to me during the media event:

° No "one more thing." Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't try to emulate Steve Jobs' famous routine of saving the biggest news of all for the end of the event, a la a "one more thing" announcement. In fact, Cook and the gang did the opposite. They started with the biggest news (the iPhone 5) and saved the least earth-shaking news (new iPods) for last. That's less dramatic, but Cook is smart enough not to copy Jobs' act.

° Naming schemes. Okay, the newest iPad is the "new iPad," the newest version of iTunes is the "new iTunes" the latest iPod touch is the "new iPod touch," the reinvented iPod nano is the "new iPad...

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Sep 13
Apple patent is for microphone proximity

Apple has filed a patent (number 20120231778) for microphone proximity detection that may relate to the new beam-forming, directional microphone system in the iPhone 5.

A mobile communications device contains at least two microphones. One microphone is located away from the handset receiver and serves to pick up voice of a near end user of the device for transmission to the other party during a call. Another microphone is located near the handset receiver and serves to pick up acoustic output of the handset receiver (a far end signal).

A signal processor measures the frequency response of the receiver. The signal processor performs spectral analysis of the receiver frequency response to determine whether or not the device is being held at the ear of the user. On that basis, the device automatically changes its operating mode, e.g., turns on or off a touch sensitive display screen during the call. Other embodiments are also described.

Here's Apple's background...

| Read more »
Sep 12
What to expect at today's Apple media event

Today at 10 am (Pacific) Apple will hold a special media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The invite sent to the media says simply that, "It's almost here." Here's what I see being announced:

The next gen iPhone, of course, is a no-brainer. The only shock will be if Apple doesn't announce a new version of its smartphone. I've long doubted that it would be dubbed the "iPhone 5," but now it seems obvious that it will be. Why? Look carefully at the graphic from the media invitation ...

The iPhone 5 will sport a slimmer form factor wrapped around a 4-inch Retina display; that's up from the iPhone 4S’s current 3.5-inch offering. It will pack iOS 6, a quad-core A6 processor and a 9-pin dock connector that -- for better or worse -- replaces the current 30-pin standard. I also expect the iPhone 5 to support compatibility with LTE networks in the U.S., Europe and Asia. I'm not anticipating it, but I'd love to see an iPhone with...

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Sep 11
Apple wants to help you create, manage voicemail...

An Apple patent (number 8265450) for the creation and management of voicemail greetings for mobile communication devices has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a user of a mobile communication device can create and manage multiple voicemail greetings. In one aspect, a user of a mobile communication device can create customized voicemails. The customized voicemails can be assigned to specific contacts (or groups of contacts) known to the mobile communication device. The customized voicemail greetings can also have controlled expiration dates. In another aspect, customized voicemails can be assigned to incoming calls in real-time.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "Today, wireless service providers provide voicemail services to their wireless subscribers using mobile phones. When a caller to a mobile phone is directed to voicemail, the user receives whatever voicemail greeting has been configured for the particular mobile phone....

| Read more »
 
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