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Dec 02
Apple patents range from image selection to card...

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

Patent number 20100306684 is for a graphical representation of out-of-bound image selection. The patent is directed to differentiating between portions of a selection area that are within the boundary of displayed information and portions of the selection area that are beyond the boundary of the displayed information. In some embodiments, the graphical representation of the selection area can change based on the position of the selection area relative to the boundary of the displayed information.

In particular, the representation of portions or regions of the selection area that are within the boundary of the displayed information can be different than the representation of the portions or regions of the selection area that extend beyond the boundary of the displayed information. For example, the electronic device can provide different fills...

| Read more »
Dec 02
Companies that Apple might buy (but probably won'...

Apple has over $50 billion in cash. CEO Steve Jobs has said the dough is available should Apple decide to make any "strategic purchases." So what companies might be a good "strategy purpose" for our favorite tech company?

My "MacNews/MacTech" writing compadre, Greg Mills, thinks Apple will buy Netflix. There are some good reasons why it should. Apple could beef up its presence in the television/entertainment area. And Netflix is a strong company -- and getting stronger.

An analyst with Gleacher & Company, says (http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle/articleid/4613650) the transaction would make sense. "You know, Apple wants to be the first company to seamlessly integrate the home office and the living room," he says. "What's limiting them now is basically content and better broadband into the home....

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Dec 01
I'm dubious about a 7-inch iPad -- or one with a...

A "Digitimes" report (http://www.digitimes.com) -- quoting the Chinese-language "Economy Daily News" -- says the next rev of the iPad will add five "distinct new features." However, I'm dubious about at least one of them, as I am about reports of a 7-inch model.

"Digitimes" says the five new features include "video phone, better mobility, USB port, new display technology and 3-axis gyroscopes." The gyroscope, video phone (actually, a camera for use with Apple's FaceTime technology) are pretty much givens. The "better mobility" refers to an even thinner and smaller iPad, something that's also likely if reports -- based on discovered patents -- that Apple is considering an iPad made of a fiber-in-matrix material such as CFRP prove true.

However, I don't think we'll see a smaller iPad. Why? Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that the 9.7-inch display on the current iPad is the optimum size for features...

| Read more »
Dec 01
Greg's bite: Microsoft Mobile Vista 7 crashes and...

By Greg Mills

The big returns are really coming in regarding Microsoft's Mobile Vista 7.  I mean big numbers of phones physically being returned by customers to the cell companies who sold them.  

Big as in a very large sales disappointment for both cell phone companies around the world and cell phone hardware manufacturing partners who were willing to give the Kin crew one more chance. Numbers like 2% of all new phone sales being the new Microsoft phones isn't good news for Redmond.  

The street analysts who spelled out the high expectations for Microsoft's new, but "too-late-to-the-party, unsupported by developers, last ditch stand" smart phone OS platform have to be factoring in a further decline in Microsoft stock. Hit one out of the ball park they did not.

Mobile Vista 7 phones just working and having some novel graphics was not enough to wow either the stock market, developers or consumers who have to consider the strong...

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Nov 30
The iPad at seven months in the wild -- what...

By Terry Jarrell
Apple Consultants Network

Thinking back to this past April, it's hard to believe iPad has only been with us a little over 7 months. The world has changed considerably since then with the explosion of the Apple App Store, and so many others scurrying to release their take on the most successful electronics device in history.

The real story is in iPad users themselves and how there has been an awakening, in a major way, to so many professional industries that had previously been stuck in older, inefficient ways of doing business.

It doesn't take a wild imagination to imagine medical professionals loving iPad. The MacPractice app for iPhone was released a couple years ago but now, the iPad app really brings this functionality home. Med pros can access their patient data literally from anywhere they have an Internet connection, safely and securely. The larger screen is perfect for viewing photos and interact with other...

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Nov 30
Apple patents range from virtual keyboards to media...

Several Apple patents have been granted by the US Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Patent number 7844914 involves activating virtual keys of a touch-screen virtual keyboard. A touch location is determined based on location data pertaining to touch input on the touch screen, wherein the touch input is intended to activate one of the plurality of virtual keys. Each of the plurality of virtual keys has a set of at least one key location corresponding to it. For each of the virtual keys, a parameter (such as physical distance) is determined for that virtual key that relates the touch location and the set of at least one key location corresponding to that virtual key. The determined parameters are processed to determine one of the virtual keys. For example, the determined one virtual key may be the virtual key with a key location (or more than one key location, on average) being closest to the touch location. A signal is generated...

| Read more »
Nov 30
Apple patent involves handling special windows in a...

Apple has been granted a patent (number 7844902) by the US Patent & Trademark Office for an apparatus and method for handling special windows in a display. It could foreshadow some changes in upcoming versions of Mac OS X.

The apparatus and method for handling special windows in a display comprises a window manager in an operating system that is called by application programs to create special windows. The window manager embeds static key signals including encoded special window information, such as the coordinates of a window area to be specially processed, into a video RAM. An existing video interface scans the video RAM and transmits display information, including the key signals, to the display.

The present invention further comprises a window decoder in the display, that detects the key signals, extracts the encoded special window information, and controls display circuitry performing the desired special processing. The key signal encoding scheme does not...

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Nov 30
Apple wins patent for 3D display system

Apple has been granted a patent (number 7843449) for a three-dimensional display system. Don't expect Macs with 3D displays anytime soon, but they may be coming -- and without the need for special glasses, if Apple has its way. After all, Intel's Sandy Bridge processor will debut in January and will certainly arrive in Macs next year. And the processor offers native support for 3D stereoscopic video playback (as well as Blu-ray and USB 3.0).

The patent -- invented by Christoph H. Krah -- involves a method of displaying three-dimensional images providing a projection screen having a spatial filter defining a predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function. It also: determines the left and right eye locations of at least one observer in proximity with the projection screen; projects left and right sub-images of a three-dimensional image toward the projection screen; and angularly and intensity modulaties the left and right sub-images respectively in coordination...

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Nov 30
Blu-ray disc sales grow 80% year-over-year

I'm pretty sure we'll never see Apple support for Blu-ray playback on the Mac platform because Steve Jobs is convinced all movie purchasing will soon be via download (I think he's wrong), but I'm still hoping that Apple will at least provide the "hooks" in Mac OS X to allow third parties to release plug-and-play Blu-ray players for my favorite computing platform.

And I think there's plenty of evidence that this makes sense. According to figures released in October by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, consumer purchases of Blu-ray Disc software reached US$1 billion by Sept. 30. Sales increased 80% over the same period of 2009.

Hardware sales also continued to climb, with over three million standalone BD players sold in the first nine months of the year -- a year-over-year increase of 104%. This brings the total installed base of Blu-ray playback devices in the U.S. to 21.1 million units. DEG president Ron Sanders (also is president of Warner Home Video) has...

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Nov 30
Greg's bite: Apple's Living Room Aspirations...

By Greg Mills

As an Apple fan and a believer in the wisdom of most of what comes out of Cupertino, I bought the most recent Apple TV device and have used it quite a bit since it was first launched. As I noted in this space on a number of occasions I think there is an opening for Apple to challenge the cable/satellite TV content providers, since a lot of people hate them, but it won't be easy and it is not happening yet for Apple. The numbers aren't right yet.

We see the decline of physical media for digital video content delivery, to be sure, but what is replacing video tapes and disks isn't steaming video over iTunes, but rather NetFlix and other streaming content providers with affordable, flat rate monthly plans. Apple TV's iTunes video content available for streaming is way too expensive; the one-off, rental "go to market plan" needs drastic reworking to succeed.

When you analyze the video content offered by Apple TV and the attempt to rent...

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Nov 29
Holiday survey looks good for the iPhone, iPad

PriceGrabber, a part of Experian, has released its second holiday spending consumer behavior report, "A Deep Dive into Online Holiday Spending Trends." And it's good news for the iPhone and iPad.

In PriceGrabber's holiday survey, consumers were asked which smartphone they would prefer to receive as a gift this holiday season. The iPhone took the lead, with 47% of consumers choosing the iPhone 4 over other smartphones. Twenty-two percent of shoppers prefer the Motorola Droid, and 13% choose the RIM Blackberry Torch as the smartphone they would like to receive.

When it comes to devices that consumers prefer for e-reading, 59% of consumers selected the iPad as their device of choice. Twenty-one percent of consumers pick the Amazon Kindle. Five percent selected the Barnes & Noble Nook, and 3% choose the Dell Streak as their preferred e-reader.

Tablet computers are forecast to be one of the most popular technology gadget gifts this holiday season. The number of...

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Nov 29
Greg's bite: Iran should sue Microsoft, Steve...

By Greg Mills

Despite repeated attempts to purge industrial controllers running Iranian plutonium centrifuges and the control systems of their new nuclear reactor (still not on line) the Stuxnet worm continues to wreak havoc.  

One has to take a fresh look at the situation and the legal situation posed. While no one has come forward to admit they wrote the Pulitzer Prize worthy malware called Stuxnet, the facts are plenty clear where a giant portion of the blame lies: Microsoft Corp. and its CEO Steve Ballmer.

Much has been written over the years about the "Apple tax," or additional cost of owning and running Macs as opposed to Windows PCs. The truth is that the pendulum has swung in the other direction in the last few years. If you run Windows of any flavor you had better sign up for an anti-malware service or plan to suffer the consequences. While certainly the Mac is becoming a much larger target for hackers due to increased market...

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Nov 26
Apple patents involve credential authorization,...

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

Patent number 20100200729 is for server computer issued credential authorization. Methods and systems for authenticating computers is disclosed. The methods and system include issue a credential from a first computer to a second computer. When the second computer authenticates to the first computer, the second computer transmits the credential and a first challenge to the first computer. The first computer determines whether the credential is valid, computes a first response to the first challenge, and generates a second challenge. The first computer transmits the first response and the second challenge to the second computer. The second computer determines whether the first response is valid and computes a second response to the second challenge. The second computer transmits the second response to the first computer in order to verify and...

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Nov 24
Greg's bite: more Stuxnet mischief/Big Brother...

By Greg Mills

My post today is loaded with a number of issues of interest to Apple High tech fans.  

° The iOS 4.2.1 Magic Disappearing Folder Trick I discovered a 0 day bug, in the iPad iOS 4.2.1, just released a few days ago, that Apple was completely unaware of.  I call it "the magic disappearing folder trick."

Here is the way it works. The proud iPad user, who has just updated the iOS on their iPad, laboriously sorts a few hundred apps into the cool new folders and drags them to the home screen or the first two or three screens and figures iPad app organization is complete. (In my case a precious 11-year-old daughter has downloaded a zillion kid apps that I have little interest in.  So I put them in new folders named Games1-7.) 

Then, sometime later, a number of app updates showed up as a red number badge on the blue App Store button. The user mashes the app button and chooses to update some apps over Wi-Fi. You sign in the iTunes...

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Nov 24
MacNews, MacTech on scaled-back Thanksgiving Day...

The "MacNews" and "MacTech" web sites will be following a scaled back schedule this week in honor of the observation of Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. We'll be "closed" on Turkey Day itself and will only run critical announcements on Friday.

The gang at MacNews and MacTech wish our readers and advertisers a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

-- Dennis Sellers

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Nov 23
Greg's bite: Lost Folder Bug in iPad 4.2.1 ?

By Greg Mills

One of the features in iPad 4.2.1 iOS that is quite helpful is the folders function for sorting apps into categories that recover many of the 10 screens that you can scroll through.  

I loaded the iPad 4.2.1iOS yesterday and began to play around with it. My 11-year-old daughter had downloaded tons of games that I have little interest in -- I haven't launched "Whack a Mole",  personally so far -- so  I spend an hour sorting out 180 apps into games 1-5, weather, graphics, news, etc. I got 10 full screens of apps down to two pages of thoughtful folders, where I can find things I wanted -- and all on only two screens worth of real estate. There are only 10 screens available.

This morning I went to the Apple App store and set my iPad to download 14 updates that were flagged as having new code for the new iOS. When I got back I was shocked to find that my hour of sorting the apps into folders was apparently lost. All the files I set up...

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Nov 23
Apple granted patents for iPhone 4 and iPad designs,...

Apple has been granted several patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office. Among them are design patents for the iPhone 4 (patent D627,778), the iPad (D627,777) and the iPhone/iPod touch graphical user interface (D627,790). Other patents granted are summarized below.

Patent number 7,840,543 is for a method for sharing groups of objects. The patent is for a method of sharing a group of one or more objects between a plurality of users, in which one or more of said plurality of users is able to change parameter data of at least one said object. The method comprises storing at least one version of each said object; when an object is changed, creating a new version of the object, the new version of the object comprising additional data relating to the creation of the new version; storing the new version of the object together with any version of that object before the change; providing all versions of the object to each of said plurality of users; and using...

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Nov 23
CEO Annual Holiday Study looks good for Apple

The Consumer Electronics Association’s 17th Annual Holiday Study (http://www.digitaltips.org) shows that this year consumer electronic sales will reach the highest level ever reported. And it looks good for Apple.

Despite an overall decline in gift spending, electronic spending jumped 5% from last year's numbers. That equates to an average of US$232 a person to be spent on electronics this holiday season.

So what’s on the top of this year’s holiday wish list? Here’s what the Consumer Electronics Association found to be the top 10 list: notebook/laptop; iPad; eReader; iPod/iPod touch; video game system; digital camera; big screen TV; TV (unspecified); computer (unspecified); and desktop computer (unspecified).

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Nov 23
Greg's bite: the paradox of the Internet

By Greg Mills

I can barely remember when the Internet began to burst on the scene. My first recollection was when my brother, an art professor, mentioned in a phone call about connecting his computer to the Internet.

In those days you had to buy a separate modem costing a few hundred dollars which hooked up to your computer with a clunky serial port cable connector. The modem was the size of a cigar box and ran so slowly it was absurd over a phone line. The very early Internet was text with limited domains and not much in the way of browser software.

About the time the Mac came along a graphic browser called Netscape changed everything. I took a class on the Internet at the local community college and was dazzled by the color displays and search engine that allowed fast research on a lot of subjects. At that time, Yahoo was the big gun in search engines. Google wasn't on-line yet.

The vast potential of the Internet was just dawning on...

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Nov 22
Will the Internet, mobile TV market change the pay-TV...

Is Internet-delivered TV and video content (IPTV) emerging as a threat to traditional pay-TV? In truth, IPTV, in the form that has matured over the past decade, has simply become another type of pay-TV.

Like cable and direct-to-home satellite TV before it, IPTV involves the delivery of high-quality video content to a captive consumer device over a managed network, except that some or all of the content is delivered using broadband Internet Protocol access. The fact is that IPTV, as a set of technologies, represents both a threat and an opportunity for all legacy pay-TV operators, regardless of whether they are cable operators, satellite providers, ISPs or even telcos that offer the TV portion of triple plays by reselling satellite services, according to Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/045be8/...

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Nov 22
Greg's bite: Android fragmentation and Windows...

By Greg Mills

I watch the smartphone situation closely and have discovered articles that illustrate the less-than-viable competition facing the Apple iOS platform. With a new system for the iPad platform coming out any day and iPhone, flying off the shelf, is there anything out there to compete with Apple? If you mention the Android phones or the lame Microsoft platform, guess again.

While Microsoft Vista 7 is being pounded as too little too late by most reviewers, the flood of money Ballmer and company are spending will make some headway in the less astute cell phone buyer market. The embarrassing lack of apps is being hidden first by large blank tiles on the screen of the new Vista 7 cell phones instead of apps and now, it seems by downright fraudulent advertising.

Microsoft, historically, never unwilling to tout vaporware, has done it again to Vista 7 phone buyers. If you buy a Microsoft OS phone expecting it to run "Angry BIrds" since the...

| Read more »
Nov 19

Greg's bite: Apple's industrial footprint...

By Greg Mills

Sometimes what I write hits a nerve, and I get email from readers giving me fresh information they found. My article regarding what I consider false claims that Apple has gone rogue drew an email from a reader.  

He sent me a link to an article and actually an embedded half hour Video TV news story that ran recently in Australia that loosely linked Apple with Chinese pollution in general and worker injury specifically. It turns out this is old news and not quite what it appears.

The story was researched and written by Steven McDonnell of ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation, not related to ABC news in the USA). The article was well written on the surface, but failed to actually connect Chinese pollution in general or worker injury specifically with Apple's industrial footprint (http://www.abc.net.au/...

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Nov 19
I'm an iPad/MacBook Air man

Well, my goal of using my iMac as my main computer and an iPad with a keyboard as a secondary system for writing articles, checking email, etc., just never panned out. I simply missed having an Apple laptop when I was away from my iMac for an extended period.

Using an external keyboard with my iPad worked okay for short articles, brief email responses and the like. But when I'm doing my daily workload -- which involves jumping between Pages, Mail, Safari and iCal, among other apps. The iOS just isn't up to snuff for that just yet (we'll see if iOS 4.2 changes my mind).

But I do love my iPad. So now I own it and an 11-inch MacBook Air (standard except that I sprung for the 128GB solid state driver rather than the 64GB model). I use my iPad for media consumption (surfing the web, watching videos, reading ebooks, etc.) and my MacBook Air for creating (writing articles, doing research, responding to email, etc.).

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Nov 18
Fiber-in-matrix material patent could hint at future...

An Apple patent (number 20100289390) for a reinforced device housing has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office -- as first reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) that could result in even lighter, but even tougher, iOS devices.

The patent -- invented by Kevin M. Kenney -- is for a housing for an electronic device or other object formed from a fiber-in-matrix material. A layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP, may be used. A spine made from CFRP may support, and be attached to, a CFRP skin. The CFRP spine may be a unitary frame that imparts strength and rigidity to the overall housing and also form at least some of the corners of the frame. In some embodiments, the spine may be rectangular.

The skin may be formed from multiple layers of CFRP type material stacked atop each other. Each layer may be cut at one or more corners to expose at least a...

| Read more »
Nov 18
Apple patents involve radio services, simulcasting

Two Apple patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office indicate the company is looking into ways of beefing up radio services in other iOS devices besides the iPod nano -- and perhaps teh Mac.

Patents 20100291861 and 20100292816 are credited to Apple's Freddy Anzures and team mates Henry Mason and Lucas Newman. The patents were originally filed in Q2 2009. Assignee names don't have to appear on patent applications until they've been grantted. 

Patent number 20100291861 is for content selection based on simulcast data. Per the patent a computer system receives information snippets from a mobile device. The information snippets are extracted from a simulcast of a data stream of a radio broadcast received on the mobile device. The system identifies content metadata from the information snippets. The content metadata describes one or more features of the radio broadcast.

The system selects a radio station from a radio station repository based on attributes of...

| Read more »
 
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