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Aug 19
Mac sales slowing 'significantly'? I don...

A new report from one Wall Street analyst -- Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research -- says Mac sales have slowed significantly since the fourth week in July, suggesting its back-to-school promotion isn't boosting sales as much as expected.

In a note to clients this week-- as reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) -- Chowdhry said that the past weekend "was probably one of the slowest weekends for Mac sales" in the current calendar year, citing proprietary research based on "various tracking data." He said Mac sales last weekend were "probably down" between 35% and 40% from the weekend of July 23.

He may be right, but all his research pretty much goes against the grain of every other report. For instance, this week UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um told clients in a note -- again, as reported by "AppleInsider" -- that Mac sales are strong. Um said his...

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Aug 18
Greg's Bite: Want to buy Palm?

Posted by Greg Mills

I was somewhat taken back by the news that HP has pulled the plug on the TouchPad, so quickly. That the Palm OS smartphones and computer business were also cut by HP means the shake out of the mobile computing market is beginning in ernest. A massive shift to tablets is underway and when I say tablet, you can read that iPad.

That HP is planning to spin off its computer business is interesting as it was only 10 years ago they bought Compaq for $US25 Billion and became the largest computer maker in the world. Markets change and HP sees the mobile computing business gutting the conventional PC business and with the Palm/TouchPad disaster, they decided to cut their losses.

Apple has been sucking the air out of the room with the magical tablet no one else can match and people are discovering they can live without a PC or laptop. Certainly, there are still applications where a PC or laptop is better, but those situations are...

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Aug 18
Apple patent is for dynamic adjustment of video...

An Apple patent (number 20110202674) for dynamic adjustments of video streams has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. It relates to streaming video from a server to a client.

Per the patent, using both short term and long term thinning mechanisms, the server reduces its data transfer rate when bandwidth is reduced and increases its data transfer rate when bandwidth is available. In the short term mechanism, the server will dynamically adjust the transmission rate of the video or the quality of the video based on parameters returned by the client. These parameters include currently-buffered data-size, buffered-data duration, and packet loss rate.

In the long term mechanism, the server will adjust the current maximum quality level allowed depending upon the round trip times of data packets transmitted. This invention decreases client rebuffering and packet loss and increases the efficiency of available bandwidth. The inventors are George P. Su and John K...

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Aug 18
Apple eyeing augmented reality for Map + Compass...

A new Apple patent (number 20110199479) shows that the company plans to expand on its Map + Compass feature on iOS devices with augmented reality.

According to the patent, a user points a handheld communication device to capture and display a real-time video stream. The handheld communication device detects geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the image capture device. The user sends a search request to a server for nearby points of interest. The handheld communication device receives search results based on the search request, geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the handheld communication device.

The handheld communication device visually augments the captured video stream with data related to each point of interest. The user then selects a point of interest to visit. The handheld communication device visually augments the captured video stream with a directional map to a selected point of interest in response to the user input. Jaron...

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Aug 18
Greg's Bite: People who live in glass houses....

By Greg Mills

People who live in glass houses .... have a heck of an energy bill. The proposed new Apple store design for Santa Monica, California, will require a waver of energy related building codes as it far exceed the surface area allowed to be glass.

The problem is that in the summer, the new store with a glass roof, will absorb heat from the sun like a giant solar panel. In the winter, the heat will escape through the glass ceiling far faster than with conventional roofing materials.

While there are likely architectural solutions, such as dual pane glass panels and e-coatings that can help prevent energy losses, I would still hate to pay the energy bills for the Santa Monica Apple Store.

Apple is green when it suits them and flagrantly wasteful when something like an all glass building makes a statement. The concept of all glass walls is pretty common in high rise buildings but glass roofs are not so common. The traffic in...

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Aug 18
Blu-ray spending rises 10%

Disc sales continued to plummet throughout the first half of the year, as more consumers opted to rent or stream movies rather than purchase them on DVD or Blu-ray, though the latter is on the rise.

The Digital Entertainment Group reports an 18% drop in disc sales to US$3.9 billion in the first six months of the year. Overall spending dipped 5% to $8.5 billion during the period, with a double-digit gain in rental spending making up for much of the decline in disc sales.

The organization, backed by major studios, attributed the decline to a weaker slate of home entertainment debuts, notes "Reuters" (http://macte.ch/HPu24). However, according to the DEG report, Blu-ray spending rose more than 10% in the period.

Electronic sell-through -- also commonly referred to as digital downloads -- rose 4%, but remain a very small portion of the business, accounting for $270 million in the first six months of...

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Aug 17
Greg's Bite: HP Touch Pad "Like Nothing Else...

By Greg Mills

The illustration is an exploded view of the HP TouchPad.

For those developers thinking about developing apps for the Palm OS, which runs on HP's TouchPad, think a bit longer. Sales figures just are awful on HP's latest iPad killer that isn't. If you thought the Microsoft Kin cell phone was a success, you will really love the HP TouchPad. HP's slogan for the TouchPad, "Like Nothing Else," can sarcastically be interpreted by consumers as "nothing like an Apple iPad."

The Wall Street Journal's "All Things Digital" reports that of the 270,000 HP TouchPads Best Buy ordered, they have sold less than 25,000. Internal reports are that the 25,000 sold number does not include TouchPads that have been sold but returned for various reasons. (See http...

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Aug 17
A future OS X with no printer drivers needed? Sweet

Lots of Apple patents don't necessarily lead to finished products. But I certainly hope that two showing that Apple is working on ways to get rid of printer drivers come to fruition.

Patent number 20110194140 is for a system that supports printing from a computing device. During operation, the system uses a discovery protocol to identify printers that can be accessed by the computing device. Next, the system receives a selection of a printer that can be accessed by the computing device. The system then generates printer data for the print job. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

The system can use a driverless printing technique, which involves obtaining printer capability information from the selected printer and generating printer data for the selected printer based on the printer capability information. Alternatively, the system can use a printer-specific driver for the selected printer to generate the printer data. The system can also send the print job...

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Aug 16
Apple eyeing ways to improve cameras in iOS devices

A new Apple patent (number 8000598) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office that shows Apple is looking at ways of improving the cameras in its iOS devices.


The patent is for a lens baffle -- a lens assembly that includes a brush-like baffle between the lens and a transparent cover. The baffle at least partially surrounds the lens to prevent stray light from entering and causing flare or other image artifacts. If the baffle does not entirely surround the lens structure, an adjustment mechanism may be provided to rotate the baffle so as to "tune" a flare reduction effect. Richard Tsai is the inventor.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Cameras, and imaging systems generally, typically use sun shields, such as shades or hoods, for shielding the lens assembly from stray light. Such sun shields protrude from the imaging system, thereby adding both volume and weight. In addition to sun shields, imaging systems may use multiple baffles...

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Aug 16
Apple considering wireless keyboards with cellular...

A new Apple patent (number 7999748) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office showing that Apple is considering integrating cellular antenna under the keys of its laptops and wireless keyboards.

Per the patent, key antennas are provided for an electronic device such as a laptop computer. The electronic device may have radio-frequency transceivers that transmit and receive signals using the key antennas. An antenna resonating element may be mounted beneath a keycap of each key antenna. The antenna resonating element may be spirally wrapped and integrated into the keycap. The key antenna may function as an antenna and may also function as an input key for an electronic device.

A flexible communications path may pass through a hole in a conductive housing of the electronic device and may be used to couple the antenna resonating element to the radio-frequency transceiver. The antenna resonating element may be coupled to the radio-frequency transceiver by a...

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Aug 16
Greg's Bite: Matching Apple's Winning Formula

By Greg Mills

The tech industry is collectively scratching its head trying to figure out just what the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility will mean. The other Android handset makers are now worried Google will favor Motorola with advanced features and that they will be left out of the loop. Uncertainty in business is a powerful thing.

The Apple led legal assault against Android has created concerns that it will take serious revisions in the Android OS and handset modifications to even get the phones imported into the US. The potential for breaking existing Android handsets and apps is worrisome. Android is already fragmented, and customers don't like incompatibilities in a platform.

Microsoft with its poorly received Windows 7 platform is waiting in the wings with Ballmer hoping the shifting sands under the Android platform will give them an edge. Indeed, a number of Android handset makers are looking at hedging their bets and supporting...

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Aug 16
Apple patent hints at OS X, iOS melding

Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek recently said that OS X and iOS would begin merging next year. It's obvious this is going to happen, but I didn't expect it that soon. However, an Apple patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office hints that Apple is working on such a move sooner rather than later.

Patent number 20110197153 is for user interactions with items displayed on an user interface instead of a device. Techniques for managing user interactions with items on a user interface are disclosed. In one aspect, a representation of an opening is presented in response to touch input. A display object is moved over the opening, and the display object is processed in response to the moving.

In another aspect, touch input pinching two opposite corners of a display object followed by touch input flicking the display object is received and the display object is deleted in response to the inputs. In another aspect, touch input centered over a display object is...

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Aug 15
Organizations realize benefits by adopting 'bring...

If organizations want to keep their employees happy, they'll let them bring their own devices to use at work such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac laptops.

Citrix Systems announced the results of the Citrix Bring-Your-Own (BYO) Index revealing that 92% of IT organizations are aware that employees are using their own devices in the workplace and 94%intend to have a formal BYO policy in place by mid-2013, up from 44% today.

The research found that attracting and retaining the highest quality talent, increased worker productivity and mobility and greater employee satisfaction, as well as reducing IT costs, are the primary drivers of BYO adoption.

“There are two reasons that BYO is being embraced within organizations,” says Mick Hollison, vice president, Desktop Marketing & Strategy, for Citrix. “There are those that are using BYO to keep up with the rapid consumerization of enterprise IT and then there are forward-thinking CIOs who have embraced BYO as a way to...

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Aug 14
Galaxy II, Samsung's iPhone Killer

Posted by Greg MIlls

Ever since iPhone 1 was launched, the competition has been searching of the Holy Grail of technology, a true iPhone killer. So far, the mythological device has never actually been launched, but perhaps, the Samsun Galaxy 2 Android handset has come closest.

Apple has sought to ban the import of Samsung Galaxy tablets and Galaxy touch screen phones as "slavishly stealing the look and feel of Apple products". The US International Trade Commission has taken the case and might issue it's ruing in time to stop Samsung from introducing the hottest Android handset yet, slated for release in the US on August 31.

The Samsung Galaxy 2 is larger, faster and has the newer high speed G4 radio chip set. Samsung intends to offer the new handset at a price identical to Apple's iPhone in the giant US cellular market. If the rest of the world's reaction to the new handset is any indication, the Samsung phone might indeed steal a lot...

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Aug 12
Greg's Bite: Android Platform Fragmenting

By Greg Mills

Apple is certainly on a roll. As the stock market has gyrated the last few days due to the downgrade of US Treasury debt, Apple replaced Mobile/Exon as the most valuable company in the world by market cap. Over the last week or so, Apple got Samsung's new touch screen tablet banned in Australia and Europe. HTC took a hit in the US International Trade Commission and may also face import bans on its Android handsets in the US market.

While the patent infringement suits Apple filed agains all the Android handset makers is drawing blood from a standpoint of infringement and potential damages, the effect is also fragmenting the Android platform. Cohesion and uniformity define a platform and make it attractive to developers.

Android is already fractured into various operating systems that aren't necessarily compatible with all the Android handsets that have come out. Further, apps that run on some Android operating systems might not...

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Aug 12
A year from now, iWeb and iDVD will be gone

I'll be surprised if iWeb and iDVD are still around in 12 months. When MobileMe is discontinued on June 30, 2012, some of its features will be rolled into Apple's iCloud, but iWeb hosting won't be one of them.

With iWeb you can move a site published to MobileMe to another web hosting service (read how to do this at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4686), but that doesn't sound good for Apple's web site creation tool. I've tried to get a comment from Apple's PR department about iWeb's fate, but no answer so far. Heck, I even wrote Steve Jobs hoping to get a terse answer sent from his iPhone, but -- again -- no dice.

The fact that, unlike the other iLife apps, iWeb isn't available for download or purchase at the Mac App Store probably says it all, however. iWeb users should probably be eyeing RapidWeaver (...

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Aug 12
Apple patents involve low image database migration,...

Two new Apple patents have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Patent number 20110194775 involves the migration of a old image database. Techniques are described for causing digital image data to be interpreted according to a particular technique of a plurality of techniques. According to an embodiment, digital sensor data is received, and user input is received that specifies which technique of a plurality of techniques to use to generate a display that depicts an unmodified image from the sensor data, wherein each technique of the plurality of techniques generates a display from the sensor data in a different manner than each other technique of the plurality of techniques. Nikhil M. Bhatt is the inventor.

Patent number 20110195612 is for low profile plugs. An apparatus, systems, and methods for assembling a plug with a low profile for use with an electronic device are provided. In some...

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Aug 11
Future iPhones may let you compare competing carriers

In the future iPhone users could compare the prices and features of competing carriers and service plans directly on their Apple smartphone, per a new patent for a "Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Communication Device with Multiple Service Providers."

The patent involves configuring a mobile wireless communication device using a carrier service configuration profile selected from a set of stored carrier service configuration profiles. Carrier service configuration profiles are selected based on one or more combinations of identifier values stored in the mobile wireless communication device. Carrier service configuration profiles are priority ranked based on a specificity of the one or more combinations of identifier values. Robert Kukuchka, Shuvo Chatterjee, Arun Godfrey Mathias, and Matthew Klahn are the inventors.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Mobile wireless communication devices, such as a cellular telephone or a wireless...

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Aug 11
Apple eyeing schematic maps for iOS devices

Apple is eyeing a new Maps app for iOS devices with "schematic maps," per a patent that's appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

The patent, "entitled Schematic Maps," involves systems and methods for preparing and presenting schematic maps, which are maps that present information in a format that presents only information that is most relevant to a given situation in order to provide a simple and clear representation sufficient to aid a user in guidance or orientation. The schematic maps as described can be formatted based on the attributes of a display on which they are presented so that the map layout and presentation can be optimized for the particular display. T

The schematic maps can be “distorted” to better illustrate important maps areas in greater detail and using a relatively larger display area while deemphasizing less important map areas by illustrating them in less detail and using a relatively smaller display area, and thus the schematic maps...

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Aug 11
Apple may include projectors into iOS devices

An Apple patent (number 20110197147) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office that shows Apple is considering integrating projectors into upcoming iOS devices -- and perhaps Macs, as well.

The patent, entitled "Projected Display Shared Workspaces," involves systems, methods, and devices that are provided for creating a shared workspace where images may be shared between projected displays. In one embodiment, electronic devices each may include a projector that produces a projected display and a camera that detects gestures made with respect to the projected displays.

The electronic devices may interpret gestures on the projected displays to identify image sharing commands for sharing images between the projected displays. The electronic devices may be connected through a communication link that allows the electronic devices to share image data for producing images on any of the projected displays included within the shared workspace. Anthony Y.S. Fai is...

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Aug 11
DealFinders -- and FileMaker Pro's Mac App Store...

A friend of mine recently got an e-mail from AA promoting a new DealFinder application that's compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows. It's designed to help you find better deals on flights. But there's a problem.

My friend went to install it and ran into a little problem: it requires Flash. Someone is not doing their homework and it makes me question their competency.

By the way, have you noticed that while FileMaker Pro's Bento is on the App Store, FileMaker Pro isn't? Strange.

-- Dennis Sellers

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Aug 10
Greg's Bite: Motorola looking at Windows 7

By Greg Mills

The legal problems the Android OS is facing over patent infringement is certain to help alternative smartphone platforms. The large market share Android now holds may soon be divided into market segments going to surviving smartphone platforms. If Apple manages to crush or seriously stumble Google's legally indefensible Android platform, the iOS is sure to be the biggest winner. iOS developers will come out on top.

The epic patent war going on, pitting Apple against every Android handset maker and Google itself facing Oracle, will, at a minimum, force a major recompilation of Android's OS, just to get around Apple patents. Android handsets themselves will also face revisions. Orphaned Android handsets, broken apps and further platform fragmentation may well be the result of the effort to get along with Apple.

Hedging your bet, when the stakes are as high as they are, makes perfect sense. Legal costs fighting Apple around the...

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Aug 10
Is my iServe ready yet?

In the past I've pondered that I wished Apple would release an "iServe." My opinion hasn't changed, even with the impending release of iCloud.

For example, the iPad is a great device, but even the upper end only has 64GB of internal storage. A home server would provide a way for keeping family media assets managed and available.

There are home server choices for the Mac, but all of them could be bettered by an Apple product. The Apple server could also be the next step to venture into another market, home control. For example, if Apple would offer a home climate control to your home server, you or the server could change the temperature in your home from a distance or in accordance with your iCal schedule.

An Apple home server could be a great companion for Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads and other Apple devices. Heck, put it under the Apple TV division and let's move beyond the "hobby" category. In fact, an iServe would fit in nicely if the rumors are correct and...

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Aug 09
Apple working on 'dark' wake-up methods for...

Apple is working on methods to power up select components of a Mac from a sleep state, per a patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office.


Patent number 7996694 is for a "dark wake," or xemplary embodiments of methods, apparatuses, and systems for powering up select components of a computer from a sleep state, maintaining a network state, and powering down the select components of the computer to return the computer to the sleep state are described. For one embodiment, a network interface and a fan controller receive power during the network state maintenance but a display or audio components do not receive power during the network state maintenance. The inventors are Ethan Bold, Stuart Cheshire, J. Rhoads Hollowell, Joe Liu and Dean R. Reece.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The various embodiments described herein relate to power management of a processing system. In particular, embodiments include the processing system entering a dark...

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Aug 09
Apple wins patent for integrated touch screen

Apple has won a patent for an integrated touch screen from the US Patent & Trademark Office. Per the patent (number 7995041), Displays with touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup are provided.

Circuit elements, such as touch signal lines, such as drive lines and sense lines, grounding regions, in the display pixel stackups can be grouped together to form touch sensing circuitry that senses a touch on or near the display. An integrated touch screen can include multi-function circuit elements that can operate as circuitry of the display system to generate an image on the display, and can also form part of a touch sensing system that senses one or more touches on or near the display.

The multi-function circuit elements can be, for example, capacitors in display pixels that can be configured to operate as storage capacitors/electrodes, common electrodes, conductive wires/pathways, etc., of the display circuitry in the display system, and...

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