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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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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.

| Read more »
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...

| Read more »
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 »
Apr 01
Apple patent reflects novel way of organizing,...

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

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

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

| Read more »
Apr 01
AT&T should GIVE me a femtocell

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

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

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

-- Dennis Sellers


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

| Read more »
Mar 31
Analyst: 70% Apple will develop its own search engine...

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

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

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

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Mar 31
Best wishes to Tony Fadell, the 'father of the...

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

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

Tony's departure from...

| Read more »
Mar 30
Apple patents range from parental control to...

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

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

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

| Read more »
 
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