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Monday Recap: AAPL Closes at $600, 3 Million New iPads, AT&T’s Good Friday

Apple stock price Monday, March 19, 2012Wow! What a weekend for the new iPad, which Apple announced today moved three million units in 10 countries around the world. But new iPad owners aren’t the only ones happy today — investors liked the sound of Cupertino’s new dividend and share repurchase plan announced early this morning, which is pushing the company ever higher. How high can they go? Is it possible for what goes up to actually stay up? These are questions we may never have the answers to — but have a look at the news for Monday, March 19 and you be the judge.

AAPL Closes Above 0 Per Share

Have a look at that screenshot above from Apple’s own Stocks app — investors must have liked the sound of what they heard during this morning’s conference call to discuss Cupertino’s cash hoard, because they sent AAPL shares flying to heights they’ve never been before, closing at 1.10 per share for the first time in history (and shortly after cracking the 0 barrier earlier this month). Even more remarkable, today’s high comes less than five weeks after the company’s climb to 0 per share on February 13. Which brings us to Apple’s other good news today…

Apple Announces 3 Million New iPads for Launch Weekend

The media was scratching its collective head this morning expecting Apple to announce how many new iPads found a home over the weekend — but none came. Thankfully, Cupertino isn’t keeping us in suspense any longer, announcing Monday afternoon that the new iPad sold three million units since launching on Friday, March 16 in the United States and nine other countries around the world. For those keeping score, the original iPad took 80 days to sell three million units — a feat the new iPad accomplished in less than four days. “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold — the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.” That’s right: Apple will roll the new iPad out to 24 more countries come this Friday, March 23, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Dropbox Announces Sharing to Facebook Friends — On Twitter

Sometimes, the irony is so obvious, you have to wonder how it’s possible for these companies not to see it. The fine folks at Dropbox took to Twitter today to announce that invitations to shared folders can now be sent to… Facebook friends? You’d think that Dropbox would want to get the word out to Facebook users, but they must be covering all their bases by hitting their Twitter feed with the news as well. #LOL

Notes from Apple’s Cash Balance Conference Call

This morning, Apple held an early morning conference call to announce plans for a dividend and share repurchase program that kicks off later this year, much to the glee of investors. While the press release covered most of the basics, MacRumors has gathered notes from the call itself, which included a recap of the company’s current activity. However, the main impetus of the call was on the company’s nearly 0 billion pile of cash, billion of which resides outside the United States. Noting that the company has “been very disciplined with the use of our cash,” CFO Peter Oppenheimer laid out the three prongs of the company’s investment opportunities: “Current income for our longterm shareholders, increase attractiveness to a broader investment base and preserve value from employee equity dilution.” Analysts who dialed into the call were hoping for more details on the company’s future product pipeline, to which CEO Tim Cook noted, “We actually do love to announce new products, we just don’t do it in conference calls.”

AT&T Reports Record “Sales and Activations” for New iPad on Friday

While Apple made it clear that this morning’s conference call would be focused strictly on the company’s dividend and share repurchase program, analysts couldn’t stop themselves from asking about the new iPad’s debut weekend. Despite Apple’s claims during the call that the third-generation tablet had a “record weekend” and remarking that they were “thrilled with it,” Cupertino was curiously quiet this morning, with no press release shouting the initial numbers from the rooftops. Carrier partner AT&T, on the other hand, was quite happy to do it for them, announcing that Friday’s launch day set “a new single-day record for its iPad sales and activations, demonstrating robust demand for the new iPad on the nation’s largest 4G network.”

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Friday Recap: “The New iPads Are Here! The New iPads Are Here!” Edition

Sky Gamblers: Air SupremacyIf it seems quiet across the internet today, that’s because thousands of us are now holding the new iPad in our hot little hands, and we’re probably too busy jumping between Retina Display-enabled apps to do much else. By all accounts, today’s launch is another success for Apple, who appears to have beefed up inventory of the new iPad as many retail outlets still have stock remaining. You know what that means: Skim through today’s recap and then get to the store and buy one! Without further ado, here’s what’s making news for this Friday, March 16, 2012.

App Updates: Sky Gamblers, Mac|Life, Where’s a Retina Instapaper?

Now that the new iPad is finding happy homes in 10 countries around the world, those users are looking for apps to install on them. As luck would have it, Namco pushed out Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy on Thursday night. You’ll recall the .99 Retina-ready app was one of a trio of apps featured during last week’s Apple keynote introducing the new iPad, and now “the ultimate air combat game” is ready to touchdown on your tablet.

While it may not be Retina-ready quite yet, the Newsstand-enabled Mac|Life app also got an update this morning to version 1.9, offering previews of each issue before purchasing (yay!), minor performance enhancements (excellent!) and the ability to print pages via AirPrint (awesome!). Great work, guys — now let’s get cracking on that Retina update, shall we?

Speaking of Retina Display upgrades, fans of Instapaper might be wondering why developer Marco Arment has nothing for them to download to their new iPad today. According to his blog, it turns out that the Instapaper app does indeed include the necessary 2x resolution graphics — but they won’t appear until the app is compiled using the iOS 5.1 SDK. Given that Arment already has a nifty 4.1 update nearly finished, he decided to hold off rushing out a patch release for Retina Display support and plans to submit the new version to Apple this weekend. (And just for the record, text still looks amazing in Instapaper on our new iPad.)

Consumer Reports Says Unlimited Data Plans May Be Costing You More

We’ve always wondered if clinging to our original iPhone’s unlimited data plan through AT&T was worth the each month, and now along comes Consumer Reports saying, “Not so much.” As it turns out, “close to half of AT&T customers with unlimited plans could save a month by switching to a metered plan” — and that’s not exactly chicken feed in today’s economy. According to usage data provided to CR by Validas, a full 48 percent of current AT&T unlimited data subscribers use less than 300MB a month — and by switching to the lowest plan available, they could save 0 over the course of a year (which is 0 over a two-year contract). Granted, most of us don’t want to part with our unlimited plans, which have been grandfathered with each new iPhone, especially since there’s no going back. But given that AT&T is now slowing down your 3G speed when you hit 3GB each month, it’s not like “unlimited” means the same thing it did back in 2007 anyway…

Your New Verizon iPad Can Also Run on AT&T’s 3G Network

We’re among those who opted for a Verizon 4G LTE model with the new iPad, which is why we were quite thrilled to read this report from MacRumors claiming that this model is also capable of using AT&T — but only at 3G speeds. “I was one of the first to obtain a Verizon iPad and can happily confirm that this is allowed,” exclaimed MacRumors forum member jsnuff1 earlier today. “I used my ATT iPhone 4S sim card and took out the Verizon sim, and data worked! You must apply the AT&T APN carrier settings before this works though.” Because AT&T’s 4G LTE uses a different radio band than Verizon, you’ll be limited to 3G — but that includes using the carrier’s HSPA+, which they’ve rebranded as “4G” anyway. So, in a pinch you could yank the SIM card out of your iPhone 4/4S, slap it into your new iPad with Verizon 4G LTE and gobble up some of that aforementioned unlimited data we were just talking about.

This American Life Issues Retraction on Apple Factory Story

Ironic considering the new iPad just hit stores today, but This American Life has posted a retraction on a controversial story the radio show aired back in January about the factory working conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturing partner in China. The report used content from Mike Daisey’s monologue “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” itself culled from Daisey’s own visits to Foxconn. As it turns out, a Chinese interpreter hired during that visit has disputed a great deal of Daisey’s story, and today This American Life issued a rare retraction to this particular show over what they call “significant fabrications” in Daisey’s one-man show. “Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast,” the TAL blog notes. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.” The embarrassing retraction comes after broadcasting what TAL calls “the single most popular podcast in This American Life’s history, with 888,000 downloads and 206,000 streams to date.” Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook has another reason to smile today…

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Apple Confirms New iPad Available Friday 8am in USA, 9 Other Countries

The new iPadYou already knew that Apple was releasing the new iPad on Friday, March 16, but now the company has confirmed what time their retail stores will open on that fateful day in the U.S. and nine other countries around the world.

Apple has announced that the new iPad will go on sale this Friday, March 16 at 8am local time in the company’s retail and online stores. In addition to the United States, the coveted tablet will also arrive simultaneously in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K. as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The new iPad features a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a five-megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life while remaining amazingly thin and light,” Apple’s press release reads. “iPad Wi-Fi + 4G supports ultrafast 4G LTE networks in the US and Canada, and fast 3G networks around the world including those based on HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA. Additionally, iPad 2 is available at a more affordable price starting at just 9.”

Apple’s press release also notes that the new iPad will roll out to another batch of international customers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden starting March 23.

U.S. customers will also have the choice of buying a new iPad at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart as well as direct from 4G LTE carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Those lucky enough to get their preorders in last week should be seeing a UPS or FedEx truck pulling up to their door sometime on Friday as well.

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Apple: New iPad Demand “Off the Charts,” Lines Forming Ahead of Friday Launch

Man buying iPad 2Confirming Friday’s report that new iPad preorder ship dates have slipped past this Friday’s launch date, Apple says that demand for the new tablet has been “off the charts” — with many eager buyers already lining up outside Apple retail stores to make sure they get one on March 16.

USA Today is reporting that Apple has now confirmed selling out their preorder stock on the new iPad. After slipping to a March 19 ship date on Friday, Apple’s online store is now showing ship dates of two to three weeks for all models and colors of this year’s edition, with the iPad 2 models shipping in one to three business days.

“Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased,” Apple said in a statement. “Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”

With no more preorder units to sell, early adopters will now be forced to head to their latest Apple Store or authorized retailer come Friday, March 16 in the hopes of grabbing one. According to Cult of Mac, the new iPad is likely to once again have customers lined up around the block — particularly since some lines have already started to form five days ahead of time.

“There’s still just under four days to go until the third-generation device goes on sale, but that hasn’t stopped the lines from forming,” the report reveals. “Ali and Zohaib are the first two people to set up camp outside of Apple’s Regent Street store in London.”

Those plum spots are already highly coveted, too: The pair claims they were approached by a passer-by on the street who offered to buy their place in line for the cost of an iPad!

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(Image courtesy of CNBC)

 

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Friday Recap: iPads Sell Out Online, iWork.com Closing, Retina Storage Crunch

New iPads ships by March 19We’re now at T-minus seven days and counting before the first wave of new iPads come flying into the hearts and minds of their early adopter owners, and already Apple’s online store is feeling the squeeze, with orders now shipping by March 19. But don’t get too bummed out — there’s likely to be an ample supply at stores nationwide next Friday, assuming you don’t mind duking it out with all of the other procrastinators. Let’s find out what else is making news for this fine Friday, March 9, 2012, shall we?

Procrastinators: No Launch Day New iPad for You!

Still on the fence about grabbing one of those swanky new iPads in time for launch day delivery next Friday? Turns out the choice is no longer yours — Apple’s online store is now showing shipment dates of Monday, March 19 for all models and colors. Keep in mind that’s a ship-by date, which means you probably won’t be actually fondling your Retina Display-enabled buddy until sometime later the same week, most likely. Worse yet, the ship-by dates are likely to slip even further in the next seven days, so buying sooner than later is advised. Otherwise, Godspeed as you brave the throngs of unwashed masses who will surely amass at Apple retailers across the nation this time next week.

Apple Shutters iWork.com Beta (Not That You Ever Used It)

Remember iWork.com, which was launched as a beta way back in January, 2009? Yeah, we never used it either, but apparently some of you must have, because Apple has sent out a “very important service message” email to iWork.com users today announcing the end of the beta period. “As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web,” the email reads. “We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer.” The email provides a link to a support article on Apple’s website detailing the procedure for saving your iWork.com documents to your computer so you can port them into iCloud, should you so desire. RIP iWork.com, we hardly knew ya…

Apple: New iPads Purchased Abroad Will Work with AT&T LTE

Foreigners, we feel your pain — Apple is going to sell you a new iPad that won’t utilize 4G LTE on your home turf (unless that home turf happens to be Canada, where Telus, Rogers and Bell will be happy to snap up your cash). But the news isn’t all bad — according to The Verge, Apple has confirmed that foreigners bringing their new iPads onto American shores will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s 4G LTE while here in the Colonies. Of course, you’ll need “the appropriate SIM and plan” and there’s no word yet on how to nab one of those. Foreigners, you’ll want to make an AT&T retail store one of your first stops after arriving here with your new iPad…

Apple’s Own Terms and Conditions Hint at Free Trials for Apps

Unlike most of us, the eagle eyes over at Cult of Mac spied an interesting new bit of verbiage in the new iTunes terms and conditions that we all had to accept after installing iTunes 10.6 on Wednesday. In the section regarding In-App Subscriptions, one sentence explains how “certain paid In App Subscriptions may offer a free trial period prior to charging your Account.” Free trial period? That’s certainly news to us, and it’s been something developers have been chomping at the bit for Cupertino to offer practically since the first day the App Store opened back in 2008. Seems like an Apple attorney might have spilled the beans on this one, but we’ll all have to wait until this year’s WWDC to find out what the company might have in store for developers — and end users — with regards to free trials.

Thinking of Buying a New 16GB iPad? You Might Want to Think Twice

Macworld today posted a great opinion piece on a subject we’ve been thinking about since Wednesday’s unveiling of the new iPad: All those swanky Retina Display graphics are going to start inflating the size of our favorite apps (particularly games!), which could cause problems for many owners. The crunch will particularly affect budget-minded buyers who chose a 16GB model, but even 32GB and 64GB models could feel the walls closing in on them in the months ahead, especially if you tend to store a lot of space-gobbling media such as HD movies. “Let’s look at some of Apple’s own iPad apps to see whether fretting about how Retina iPad graphics affect file size is a waste of energy,” writes Macworld’s Lex Friedman. “Keynote went from 115MB to 327MB; Numbers increased from 109MB to 283MB, and Pages went from 95MB to 269MB. With the exception of iMovie (which also added in new support for iMovie Trailers as it ballooned from 70MB to 404MB), these apps increased their file sizes by a factor between 2.5 and 3. (iMovie is nearly six times larger than before.)” And those are just Apple’s own apps — there’s likely to be a veritable flood of Retina-ready apps hitting the App Store in the weeks ahead, which could start making a 32GB or 64GB model even more enticing…

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Friday Recap: Dock Connector RIP?, Readability March 1, Steve Jobs Birthday

Apple dock connectorFebruary is winding to a rapid close, which means we should hear something about that rumored iPad 3 event next week — likely in the form of an invite for the media to attend. After all, the powers that be in Cupertino aren’t going to take this new U.S. Proview lawsuit over the iPad name trademark too seriously, especially when they have a fancy new tablet being queued up, probably as we write this. In the meantime, let’s all head into the weekend by catching up on the rest of the day’s news for this fine Friday, February 24, 2012.

About Those “Apple Ditching the Dock Connector” Rumors…

It’s not hard to find rumors spread far and wide about almost every part of an iOS device, from the software to the hardware inside. But Google for something about the dock connector and you might be surprised how little might be found — that is, until this week. iMore is reporting that Apple may be preparing to ditch the traditional iPod dock connector first introduced in April, 2003 with the third generation iPod in favor of a smaller “micro dock.” Why tamper with something that works and risk the ire of accessory makers everywhere? The report theorizes that Apple could make the switch in an effort to free up space inside the iPhone for other fun stuff like LTE radios. For our money, we buy the first half of the rumor — the 30-pin dock connector is past its prime. But instead of a “micro dock,” we like Daring Fireball scribe John Gruber’s idea of wireless charging, which would cut the cord entirely and bring AirPlay everywhere.

Video: Finally! Readability Announces March 1 Debut of iOS App

If you’re a fan of “read later” apps like Instapaper or Read It Later, you’re probably familiar with Readability. While support for the service has been turning up all over third-party iOS apps, the company’s own native solution has been conspicuously absent from the App Store, months after its submission. Today, the company has announced that the wait will soon be over: The official Readability app for iOS will debut next Thursday, March 1 as a free, universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. We’ve certainly been waiting for the blessed event here at MacLife.com, and to tide you over for the next few days, Readability has posted a minute-long video to demonstrate the new app, which we’ve embedded here for your viewing pleasure. Now if only we could find those keys to our time machine so we could jump ahead a few days…

 

Netflix Snubs BlackBerry (and PlayBook), For Now

It ain’t easy being Research in Motion these days. Reuters is reporting that the latest “agony of defeat” moment for the BlackBerry maker arrived today, with word that Netflix has no current plans to support the flailing platform in either smartphone or tablet form. The word came down via Twitter in response to a customer’s inquiry, which means some percentage of the company’s 24 million U.S. subscribers will have to find something better to do with their time now. Of course, the PlayBook 2.0 update released on Tuesday makes it possible for Netflix to simply port their existing Android app to the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the company’s tweet would seem to rule out even that less-desirable option. Don’t worry, guys… once those BlackBerry 10 devices start rolling out later this year, things will start turning around for you… won’t they?

Happy Birthday, Steve!

If the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs were still alive, he would have been 57 years old today, a fact that appears to be trending on Twitter. According to MacRumors, at least two Jobs fans are celebrating the day outside Apple’s flagship retail Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, planning a party in the man’s honor. “To fete what would have been Jobs’ 57th birthday, dancers will gyrate to Bob Dylan songs while vegetarian birthday cake is served and black turtlenecks are handed out to hundreds of Apple fans,” explained event organizers Brendan McElroy and Seth Rogers. “If you want to respect his memory, the best way of doing it is focusing on a lot of the positive memories we have of him.” MacRumors also noted that the day marks the 12th anniversary of the popular Apple-centric website, so here’s a tip of the hat to both Steve Jobs and MacRumors!

Apple Patents Reveal Concept for Even Thinner Keyboards

AppleInsider is reporting that the folks in Cupertino have been working diligently to make keyboards “even thinner and lighter with a brand new take on the classic input method.” The discovery comes by way of a new patent application entitled “Single Support Lever Keyboard Mechanism,” which describes “a handful of ways that a keyboard could be shrunk in size without affecting its performance.” Call us crazy, but we kind of think that Apple’s external keyboards are already too thin (we never quite got used to those mushy keys!) — the company has a mixed track record with keyboards and mice when they’re not part of a notebook computer, in our humble opinion. “Apple’s solution is a single support lever keyboard mechanism, which the proposed invention says would allow the keyboard cap to be formed of almost any material, but would also provide stability to each key,” the report explains. The word “rigid” is used quite a few times in describing the new patent, so we like the sound of it. Does this mean we’ll never see that rumored touchscreen Mac, though…?

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Friday Recap: iPad 3 Display Confirmed?, Foxconn Updates, App Store 25 Billion

Apple App Store 25 Billion contestAnother long week in the tech world finally comes to a  close, but not before yet another tech blog gets its hands on a secretive Apple component ahead of the actual product introduction. We’ve also got a couple of updates on the Foxconn story to share with you, and plenty more on deck for this Friday, February 17, 2012.

MacRumors Nabs iPad 3 Display, Everybody Run for Cover

It’s been nearly two years since Gizmodo got their mitts on a real-life iPhone 4 and documented it for all to see, during which time Apple has been able to keep a tight lid on most of its other products leaking into the wild. Apparently, that winning streak ends today, with MacRumors reporting they’ve got their hands on a bonafide iPad 3 display part, which they’ve examined “under a microscope in an effort to determine whether it is indeed an ultra-high resolution Retina display” — the kind that’s been widely rumored for some months. Cut to the chase: The rumors appear to be true, with the leaked display part packing four times the number of pixels in the same 9.7-inch space, which equates to double the resolution — 2048×1536, to be exact, which is double that of the current iPad and iPad 2. Godspeed, MacRumors, may the wrath of Tim Cook fall upon the shoulders of another…

Final Draft Reader Arrives for iPad

It’s not quite the convenience of being able to actually write a screenplay on the iPad, but the creators of the number one selling scriptwriting software in the world have finally dipped their big toes into the tablet pool. Final Draft, Inc. has announced the availability of their Final Draft Reader app this week, a .99 iPad-only solution for reading Final Draft 8 FDX files on Apple’s tablet, exactly the same way they appear on the Mac and Windows versions. You’ll get ScriptNotes for easily adding, editing and categorizing notes right on the iPad, and any edits or additions will be maintained when the script is brought back to the desktop. FDX script files can be imported via iTunes File Sharing, Dropbox or email, and screenplays can be shared with others easily via email as well. 14 different languages are supported, so scripts written in other countries are also compatible. Best of all, Final Draft is promising that Reader is only “the first in a series of mobile apps for scriptwriters and filmmakers,” suggesting that the best is yet to come. Final Draft Reader 1.0 is now available from the App Store; the 8.6MB download is compatible with all iPads running iOS 5.0 or later.

Foxconn Ponies Up More Dough to Employees After Change.org Campaign

Change.org gave themselves a big high-five today with the announcement that Apple’s largest supplier, Foxconn, “will be raising workers wages by 16 to 25 percent” on the heels of increased criticism over working conditions there. Members of Change.org delivered more than 250,000 signed petitions to Apple stores around the world, which appear to have done more than simply raise publicity for the organization. “Apple and its suppliers have both taken action this week in response to their consumers concern about the treatment of the Chinese factory workers,” said petition creator Mark Shields, a self-professed Apple “super-user.” “These quick responses are great steps in the right direction, and I hope the early signs of a genuine commitment by Apple to make sure that their products are made without abusing workers.  It would still be great to see Apple use some of its hallmark creativity to issue a worker protection plan so that the injuries and suicides that have marked new product launches to date, quickly become a thing of the past.” The full petition remains for all to see on Change.org’s website.

App Store Nearing 25 Billion Downloads, Apple is Celebrating

Interested in winning a ,000 App Store Gift Card? Apple’s website now features a counter that’s rapidly spinning toward 25 billion — the amount of apps downloaded from the App Store, which could happen in the very near future. “As of today, nearly 25 billion apps have been downloaded worldwide,” Apple announced on its website. “Which is almost as amazing as the apps themselves. So we want to say thanks. Download the 25 billionth app, and you could win a US,000 App Store Gift Card.* Just visit the App Store and download your best app yet.” Needless to say, the odds of downloading the winning app at just the right moment are probably slim at best, but hey — somebody’s gotta win, so why not you?

Never Mind: “Tons of Issues” Cited During FLA Foxconn Audits

Announced on Monday, Apple invited the Fair Labor Association to begin inspections of the company’s Foxconn plants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. Almost just as quickly, Reuters reported that the FLA found the plants in first class condition — but it turns out such comments may have been premature. FLA CEO Auret van Heerden told Bloomberg today they were “finding tons of issues” while en route to a meeting where preliminary findings will be presented to Foxconn management. “I believe we’re going to see some very significant announcements in the near future,” van Heerden said. For now, that’s all the FLA is going to say, and neither Foxconn nor Apple have anything further to add as a 30-person FLA inspection team continues to interview 35,000 Foxconn employees.

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Friday Recap: SugarSync 2012 Plans, AT&T Upgrade Fees Double, LTE Micro-SIMs

AT&T LTE micro-SIMAnother week goes flying by! Friday is here again, and with it comes the usual wave of rumors, product updates and fee increases by AT&T. Oh, missed that last one? Well, be sure to read all the way through today’s news recap, because your next handset is going to cost you more, thanks to the upgrade fee charged by the carrier effectively being doubled, beginning this Sunday. But hey, why close out the week on such a downer note? There’s better news ahead in the rest of our recap for Friday, February 20, 2012.

SugarSync Teases New Features Coming in 2012

If you’re syncing files between your desktop computer(s) and mobile device(s), chances are you’re using popular choices such as Dropbox or SugarSync. While the two companies duke it out for the hearts and mind of users everywhere, SugarSync CEO Laura Yecies took a moment today to email customers, reflect on some big developments from last year and look ahead to others yet to come. “Looking back on 2011 not only helps us remember all that was accomplished, but it also keeps us excited about all the new features we’re currently working hard on to bring to you in 2012,” Yecies writes. So what might that include, you ask? According to the email, the company is hard at work on support for external drives, integrating SugarSync with Samsung Smart TVs, redesigning the user interface “to make SugarSync even easier to use,” searching for files and last but not least, “updated mobile apps and new apps for iPad and Windows Phone 7.” Definitely sounds like the best is yet to come!

Report: “Radically Redesigned” MacBook Pros On the Way

We’ve heard this news before, but AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is hard at work on the next generation of MacBook Pro, which are expected to be introduced in the near future. Unlike the last several generations, Cupertino is planning to completely revamp the design to something already familiar to mobile notebook users. “They’re all going to look like MacBook Airs,” claims a source familiar with Apple’s plans, with AppleInsider referring to them as “radically redesigned” MacBook Pros. Needless to say, the “new, ultra-thin unibody enclosures” will most certainly require Apple completely scrapping traditional optical drives and hard disks in favor of flash storage already used in the MacBook Air and iOS devices. So what about the current MacBook Pro form factor? “Existing MacBook Pro designs are expected to be phased out over the course of the year,” the report reveals. If you love those MacBook Pros with an optical disk slot, now might be the time to buy one…

LTE Micro-SIMs Invade AT&T, Speculation Runs Amok

Oh, rumors… how we love you so! Since Friday tends to be a slow news day for tech, the internet is abuzz with so-called “evidence” to support an incoming LTE-enabled iPad 3 or — heaven forbid! — even an iPhone 5. It all started earlier today when PhoneArena.com published some photos from “an anonymous tipster” (one shown above) showing how AT&T is in the process of swapping out their old 3G micro-SIM cards — the ones used in the current iPad 2 and iPhone 4/4S –  for swanky new ones that also happen to work with the carrier’s fledgling LTE network. To their credit, the website tosses out some hard facts before switching gears into wild speculation: These micro-SIMs are likely intended for the imminent release of the Windows Phone-packing Nokia Lumia 900. But then they have to ruin it by going to Crazy Town, suggesting the iPhone 5 will be coming later this year with LTE — and other websites ran with this suggestion, adding the more likely possibility that the iPad 3 could indeed come with LTE on board. Speculate all you want, but the only thing we know for sure is that AT&T appears to be getting ready for some LTE handsets that require micro-SIMs.

German Court Stomps Out Motorola Injunction Over 3G Patents

Apple hasn’t had a lot of luck lately in German courts, but this morning, things seemed to finally turn their way. According to Foss Patents, “Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court announced that a Motorola Mobility lawsuit over a patent declared essential to the 3G/UMTS wireless telecommunications standard has been dismissed.” The bottom line here is that the court found “that any implementation of 3G/UMTS must inevitably infringe this patent claim, as opposed to [Motorola] demonstrating that the accused Apple products actually practice the claimed invention.” Sadly, there are still two other patents related to GPRS and push email that went in Motorola’s favor last November and countless others yet to come, but always nice to see the home team grab a victory now and again.

Planning an Upgrade to iPhone 5? Now It’ll Cost You More

AT&T may have had a boffo fourth quarter last year, but they seem to be quite busy looking for new ways to milk their customers for even more dough this year. According to BGR, this Sunday, February 12, 2012 will see an increase in the fee the carrier charges when you upgrade to a new handset — from the current to a whopping . (Yes, you’re reading that correctly: Double!) How is Ma Bell justifying this change? In a letter to dealers about the change which BGR got their hands on, the carrier blames it on “the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device,” which they claim have increased in some way. Translation: “We’d rather keep you on an existing handset because we make more money that way. But if you really want that shiny new phone, prepare to pay for it.” At least they’re doing this now instead of waiting for some hot smartphone like the iPhone 5 to be released later this year…

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(Image courtesy of PhoneArenea.com)

 

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Friday Recap: Snow Leopard Rosetta Bug, Readdle’s Remarks, iBooks Author Update

Remarks for iPadAh, Friday: Time to kick up the feet and relax, assuming you don’t have to work the weekend. (Sadly, we do — feeling sorry for us yet?) Despite the weekend being upon us, today was a rather busy day in the tech world, with Apple briefly removing 3G-equipped iOS devices from its online store thanks to a Motorola injunction, RIM baiting Android developers with free BlackBerry PlayBooks and a whole lot more. Read on to find out what’s making news for this Friday, February 3, 2012.

German Motorola Victory Briefly Removes 3G Devices from Apple Online

If you live in Germany and have been trying to buy a 3G-equipped iOS device aside from the iPhone 4S in the last day or so, you might have been out of luck. According to AllThingsD, Apple removed all 3G-equipped iOS devices from their online store in that country with the exception of the iPhone 4S in compliance with an injunction granted to Motorola Mobility last December, part of the ongoing patent dispute between the two companies. Even as Apple was moving to comply, they were hard at work on an appeal, and this morning it came through — although it’s only a temporary measure until the matter is resolved, which patent expert Florian Mueller says could take upwards of a year. “Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago,” an Apple spokeswoman explained to AllThingsD.

Free BlackBerry Tablet for Android Developers

iOS developers must surely be getting a good chuckle out of this: BlackBerry PlayBook maker Research in Motion is trying to woo Android developers to their tablet by giving them the necessary hardware for free. According to The New York Times, “all an Android programmer has to do to get one is make a PlayBook app and submit it to RIM’s app store, BlackBerry App World, by Feb. 13.” We’re not even talking about native BlackBerry QNX apps here — RIM wants that Android goodness, presumably in the hopes of expanding its user base the way Amazon has with the Kindle Fire and its own Appstore. However, the report notes that RIM has an ulterior motive here: “Oddly, the PlayBook giveaway could have less to do with the tablet than it does with future BlackBerry smartphones.” Perhaps the idea is to lure Android developers and turn them to the Dark Side, writing QNX apps for the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 (and, presumably, the next PlayBook tablet as well).

Oops, Apple Did It Again: Snow Leopard Security Update Breaks Rosetta

While OS X Lion users had to content with a cryptic CUI error after installing Mac OS X 10.7.3 this week (assuming they could successfully open apps at all!), it turns out the seemingly harmless Security Update 2012-001 for Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard that Apple pushed out at the same time is also causing some ticks in that big cat’s fur. According to Macworld, Snow Leopard users who install the update are finding they can no longer run PowerPC apps, which require Rosetta to run. “People have reported cursor glitches, printing errors, and crashes when quitting an application,” the report reveals. “The popular financial package Quicken 2007, which requires Rosetta to work on Intel Macs, appears to be a frequent victim.” Thankfully, an enterprising group of system administrators at a Nebraska high school have already come to the rescue with the aptly named RosettaFix, which swaps out the afflicted files for the ones installed prior to applying the Security Update. The only caveat is that the fix may not work for all apps, but it’s worth a try if you find yourself stuck with no other choice.

Readdle Introduces Innovative New Remarks App for iPad

The creators of the popular Readdle Docs and PDF Expert apps are back, fresh from the recent Macworld/iWorld expo, with their latest work: Remarks, a .99 digital notebook app for the iPad. “Write down your thoughts, capture ideas and information, annotate documents and outline notes anywhere from university class to sofa at home,” the app description reads. “To let you write anything you have in mind we included all the tools you might need: pens and highlighters of different colors, floating text boxes, shapes and of course an eraser.” But this isn’t just a simple note-taking app: iPad users can also extensively annotate their notes, which are saved in PDF format and can be easily shared with others, imported to other iPad apps or even saved to the Mac or PC. Judging from early user reviews on the App Store, Ukraine-based Readdle has another winner on its hands with this 17.8MB app, which is now available and ready to purchase.

Apple’s iBooks Author License Not Quite as Evil

You may recall that the launch of iBooks 2 and the free iBooks Author was somewhat marred by a firestorm of controversy surrounding exactly what users could do with their finished work. According to MacRumors, many took the EULA quite literally, “believing that Apple was claiming rights to all content used in the production of the iBooks Textbooks, perhaps attempting to exclude books from being published in any other form.” Thanks to today’s iBooks Author 1.0.1 update, the licensing terms have now been clarified: Apple is claiming rights only to the .ibooks document format, while authors are free to sell their content in other formats as they please. A subtle change, but one that should send content creators back to the village to snuff out those torches and hang up the pitchforks — at least for now.

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Friday Recap: Palm CEO Leaves HP, Apple Beats Samsung, T-Mobile Embraces iPhone

Former Palm CEO Jon RubinsteinWhat a week! Apple is swimming in more cash than they know what to do with, the Macworld/iWorld show is winding down in San Francisco and the EFF is working overtime to keep jailbreaking legal. What’s that? You didn’t hear about that? Why, you’ve come to the right place, then… step right up and have a heaping handful of the best and brightest news for this Friday, January 27, 2012.

Former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein Exits HP

The strange, twisted saga of webOS took another interesting turn today with the announcement that former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein (pictured above) has officially left the building at HP. According to The Verge, an HP spokesperson confirmed the departure with a simple “Jon has fulfilled his commitment and we wish him well,” apparently in reference to a commitment he was tied to when HP purchased Palm in 2010. Of course, it doesn’t help that the baby he has been nurturing since its introduction in 2008 — that being webOS and its associated Pre, Pixi and TouchPad hardware — has been put out to pasture by HP, with webOS kicked downstairs as a curious open source project whose future is still uncertain. Rubinstein granted Verge boss Joshua Topolsky an exclusive exit interview which is worth a read for any Palm fans still lurking about.

Apple Again Ranked as World’s Largest Smartphone Vendor for Q4 2011

We can’t say we’re too shocked after seeing Cupertino’s record financial results earlier this week, but research firm Strategy Analytics today confirmed that Apple has narrowly passed Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone vendor for the last three months of 2011, with 37 million sold compared to Sammy’s 36.5 million. It’s a bit of a hollow victory, since Samsung still takes home the gold ribbon for the entire year, with 97.4 million smartphones versus Apple’s 93 million, but the better news for the industry is that global shipments are up 54 percent and a record 155 million smartphones were sold in the fourth quarter. Samsung’s market share for the year is 19.9 percent compared to Apple’s 19 percent, with Nokia in third place with 15.8 percent, having shipped 77.3 million devices during 2011.

Like Jailbreaking? Help the EFF Keep It Legal

Many of us take jailbreaking our iOS devices quite seriously, but did you know that an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that made the practice legal is about to run out? According to AppleInsider, the exception granted by the DMCA in 2010 will lapse this year, and could potentially make it a crime for users to jailbreak and unlock their devices. Crazy, right? Thankfully, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants to come to the rescue and is lobbying for users to speak out and make their voices heard by the DMCA with a new “Jailbreaking Is Not A Crime” website. “The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement, but it’s been misused to threaten tinkerers and users who just want to make their devices more secure and more functional,” explains EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “The U.S. Copyright Office should hear from concerned Americans who want to run software of their choice on the gadgets of their choice.” The EFF also seeks to expand the current exception to “specifically cover tablets and videogame systems,” so hit the website and throw your hat into the ring while you still can.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Sets the Record Straight on Factory Workers

Yesterday, The New York Times published an exposé on factory conditions where Apple’s manufacturing is done in China — and to say it didn’t paint a pretty picture is an understatement. Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook is firing back, with an email sent to Apple employees to set the record straight. According to 9to5Mac, who managed to get their hands on a copy of the email, Cook went on the offensive: “For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.” Cook has good reason to be defensive about the accusations, since his former role as COO made him directly responsible for the manufacturing of Apple’s products for quite some time prior to being enlisted as Steve Jobs’ heir to the CEO throne last year.

Beginning Sunday, T-Mobile Will Heart iPhone Customers Even More

It’s no secret that there are around a million iPhone users who have chosen to unlock their handsets and hang their shingle at fourth-place carrier T-Mobile, despite the fact that their device is incapable of using the company’s 3G and faux 4G radio bands. T-Mo has quietly supported such customers, but according to TmoNews, that support will be coming out of the closet this weekend. On January 30, T-Mobile “will begin offering additional support to customers using an Apple iPhone on our network.” Such support will include “common procedures, information about feature and specifications and other basic device questions.” T-Mobile has frequently been a safe haven for customers who prefer buying an unlocked device and paying month-to-month or even prepaid, and the carrier seems quite happy to embrace those lost souls into their own bosom.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of The Verge)

 

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