Archive for October, 2010

Upcoming Table Embiggens Your iPhone Experience

Ignoring the iPhone’s diminutive size, Steve Jobs recently commented on the fact that the when it comes to touch-based devices, size is everything. During an earnings call with the company’s investors and the media, Jobs quipped about the disdain he held for touchscreen devices with less than seven inches of screen real estate, saying “While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the differences, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size.” Either out of respect for Jobs’ unfaltering sympathy for hot dog-fingered tech users, or a dire fear of sandpaper, a group of intrepid developers have undertaken the development of a new way to work Apple’s smallest touchscreen device.

It’s big. Literally.

Tablet Connect utilizes a jailbroken iPhone, a mission-specific app and an enormous custom-built 56-inch capacitive touch screen table to embiggen your iPhone interface to a size that would make even Paul Bunyan’s meaty digits feel right at home. According to the developer’s website, by hooking your jailbroken iPhone to the table’s built-in dock connector (now there’s a lawsuit waiting to happen) you’ll be able to every aspect of your iPhone. At this point, only a prototype mock up of Table Connect has seen the light of day. However, the device’s developer has posted a countdown clock to their site, promising a big reveal in just a little bit over four days from now. When it happens, you know we’ll be there to bring you up to speed on it.

 

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter

 

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Apple Topples Microsoft In Revenue

moolah

(Image courtesy of thomas-fitzgerald.net)

If you’ll recall, this past May, Apple topped Microsoft in market cap.  But there was still that rascally revenue barrier that Apple still could not quite overcome.  Well, that barrier is no more.  Microsoft just reported .2 billion in revenue for the third quarter.  And Apple?  .34 billion.

Apple had projected that they would hit billion, but as many know, Apple usually likes to lowball their revenue number, so that they can top it.  But not only did Apple reach billion in revenue, Microsoft’s quarter-to-quarter total went up just 0 million.

But just the same, Microsoft still leads in profit – .41 billion versus .31 billion, but as TechCrunch points out, one company is technically a software maker, while the other is mainly a hardware maker.

And that market cap area?  Apple now leads by billion.  And guess who’s nipping on Microsoft’s heels now?  Oh, that would be Google.

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter

 

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Apple Shares Dip On Margin Outlook For 2011

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(Image courtesy of tweakosx.com)

Now for some other business news.  You may have caught word that yesterday Apple announced that it “expects to experience decreases in its gross margin percentage in future periods, as compared to levels achieved during 2010,” due to a mix of new products that cost the company more to produce and an expectation that product components and other costs will rise.  On the flip side though, the company also saw a hiring boost in their annual report that was filed with the SEC.

Apple is expecting a 36 percent first-quarter margin, which would be down from the 37.5 percent that analysts, who were polled by Thomson Reuters expect, on average.

On this news, AAPL dropped .66, or about 1.5 percent, to 3.17 a share in afternoon trading according to ABC News.

Despite the seemingly bad news, analysts didn’t think it to be all bad.

Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. said in his note to investors today that there wasn’t any new guidance in Apple’s 10-K, and that he thinks any drop in shares should only give cause to buy more shares of the stock.

Wu felt that Apple’s remarks in their filing were on par with each annual report that it has filed about the upcoming fiscal year “as far as we can remember.” 

He continued, “those fixated on cautious gross margin commentary in its 10-K filing in previous years would missed out on a significant investment opportunity in the last 5-7 years.”

Despite the lower margins, the news wasn’t all bad.  Apple appeared to have gone on a slight hiring spree.  According to the New Mexico BusinessWeekly, the filing also revealed that Apple had 46,600 full-time employees on Sept. 25, which was much higher than the 34,300 in 2009 and 32,000 in 2008. 

That jump in jobs was mainly in the retail area, as Apple had 26,500 employees, a 10,000 increase from 2009.  Apple also now has 317 retail stores, compared to 273 from last year.

On the horizon, Apple is planning to open up 40 to 50 new stores next year, and more than half of those would be outside the U.S. 

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter

 

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The Mac|Life Show: Episode 4

Welcome to The Mac|Life Show.

We’ll be live stremaing the show starting at 4:00PM PDT. Can’t make it to the live stream? Don’t worry, the show will be posted tomorrow morning.

This week Flo checks out some Scosche iPhone wires and and Nic trys not to lose his LaCie Keys.

To share your ideas with us about show, you can contact us via Twitter, Facebook or email us.

 

 

 

Watch us tape the show every Thursday at 4:00PM PDT on Ustream.

 

Follow this article’s author, Roberto Baldwin, on Twitter.


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This Could Be The Best Apple Lawsuit Ever!

Did you really think we could go for more than a few weeks without the mentioning a new Apple-centric lawsuit? Of course not.

This time around, a Taiwan-based monitor manufacturer called Proview is swearing up and down that they registered the name I-Pad back in 2000 to be used as a brand for a line of tablet computers that the company launched and subsequently watched fail. The name was, according to Proview, trademarked in Mexico, South Korea, the European Union, Thailand, China and Vietnam. By 2006, Proview felt that the trademarked I-Pad name was worth more than any product line that they could hope to launch. Consequentially, they sold off their trademark rights to the name for every country they’d established it in, with the exception of China. The purchase, made by an unknown American company called IP Application Development, was made for the meager sum of ,100. IP Application Development registered the I-Pad name in the United States this past January. So, who are these IP Application Development guys? Well, they’ve been connected to a shell company called Slate Computing, who in turn have been connected to–you guessed it–Apple.

What did Apple do with it? Have you heard of the iPad? It’s kind of a big deal.

So, where’s the lawsuit in all of this? It seems that Proview is miffed that they sold their intellectual property to Apple without knowing that they were dealing with Apple. It seems that they’re bitter over having been paid so little money for the rights to a name that has in essence, allowed Apple to basically print their own money. In an interview with the Financial Times, Proview’s chairman Yang Rongshan admitted that his company was “…in big financial trouble and the trademarks are a valuable asset that could help us sort out part of that trouble.”

Sigh.

Have no doubt that as soon as further information surrounding this sordid tale becomes available, we’ll let you know.

 

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter


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iPad Now Available from Verizon and AT&T

Verizon iPad bundle

We told you about it earlier this month, and the day has finally arrived: The iPad is now available for sale at both Verizon Wireless (coupled with a MiFi 2200) and AT&T (where it uses the native 3G data plan).

Engadget is reporting that Thursday, October 28 has finally arrived, and with it, Apple’s iPad is wrapping up a pretty big month for the device retail-wise. After landing in both Target and Wal-mart (not to mention all of the Best Buy stores that didn’t already have it), the tablet is now available for sale at wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T.

Verizon Wireless announced earlier this month that they were taking on the iPad, but in an interesting twist, they’re selling the Wi-Fi only model bundled with one of their MiFi 2200 mobile hotspots. Verizon pricing is 9 for the 16GB model, 9 for the 32GB model and 9 for the 64GB model, and their no-contract data plans are pretty fair at for 1GB, for 3GB or for 5GB. Unfortunately, you can’t get that data plan pricing by buying the MiFi alone — it’s a special deal for iPad buyers only.

Of course, if you don’t want an extra device to carry around (even though the MiFi is impossibly small to begin with) and are looking for the “real deal” 3G-equipped model, head over to one of the AT&T retail stores and be prepared to drop the same dough for the all-in-one model.

AT&T’s U.S. data plans are the same — per month for 250MB or for 2GB. The telco is also offering international data plans for the iPad, but truthfully we don’t see them getting used by anyone with at least a modicum of common sense, especially when the four plans start at for a mere 20MB and don’t get much better when they top out at a whopping 0 for 200MB. Not to mention the fact that there are so many free hotspots all around the world now. You have been warned!

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

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Apple's Already Planning to Expand New Data Centre

Apple has been busy building one of the world’s largest data centers in Catawba County, North Carolina for some time now. This colossal edifice of silicon, wire and awesomeness is rumored to be the keystone of Apple’s future cloud-based computing ventures. Can MobileMe users expect to see more storage space coming their way? Perhaps, if we’re lucky, Apple will finally start putting the media-streaming know how they snagged through the purchase of LaLa to work for content-hungry iTunes users. No matter what Cupertino has planned for their massive North Carolina data facility, one thing is certain, it’s gonna be big… and stands to get a heck of a lot bigger.

According to All Things D, in addition to the 183 acres of real estate that Apple purchased in Catawba County to build their 500,000 square foot data center on, the company has also bought an additional 70 acre parcel of dirt directly across the road from their new facility resides. What could it mean.

Well, there’s two answers to that one, in our opinion: Either nothing or a lot.

If you can afford it (and Apple most certainly can) than you need allows for some wiggle room should you decide to expand a ways down the road. With this in mind, it seems perfectly reasonable for Apple to purchase a few extra acres for later use should they feel the need to expand the scope of their operations in the area. That said, in the company’s recent history, Apple has seldom left anything to chance. If you’re seeing a product today, chances are, it was planned as part of the company’s road map several years ago. With last week’s roll out of the new series of MacBook Airs, Steve Jobs proclaimed that we were looking at the future of notebooks. Much of the future, as Apple sees it, relies upon solid state drive technology. That technology, while obviously superior to old school moving-parts drives, is wicked expensive for the time being. It could very well be possible that Apple, foreseeing the success of Flash-based  computers, plans on providing a huge amount of cloud-based storage for MacBook toting consumers in order to keep the cost of their hardware relatively low.

So what will it be: Did Apple buy the additional land in order to have room to grow or is it all part of their master plan? Only time will tell how this one is gonna play out.

 

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter

 


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Security Alert: New Trojan Horse on Mac OS X Spread Through Social Networks

It’s not often that you hear of a virus for the Mac, but according to a Secure Mac security bulletin, a new trojan virus has been detected on the Mac. The bulletin notes that the virus is spread through social networking websites like Facebook and is disguised as a video.

The trojan called “trojan.osx.boonana.a” has been wreaking havoc on both Windows and Mac platforms.

Secure Mac says, “When a user clicks the infected link, the trojan initially runs as a Java applet, which downloads other files to the computer, including an installer, which launches automatically. When run, the installer modifies system files to bypass the need for passwords, allowing outside access to all files on the system. Additionally, the trojan sets itself to run invisibly in the background at startup, and periodically checks in with command and control servers to report information on the infected system. While running, the trojan horse hijacks user accounts to spread itself further via spam messages. Users have reported the trojan is spreading through e-mail as well as social media sites.”

This is a cross-platform virus due to the Java code that can be executed on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Secure Mac gives us some tips for protecting your computer from this virus. The first tip is to turn off Java execution in your web browser. You can do this in Safari by navigating to Safari > Preferences > Security Tab and unchecking the “Enable Java” checkbox.

Additional tips from Secure Mac includes:

1. Watch where you surf. By sticking with safe, well-known websites, you will be less likely to visit a site that will attempt to infect you with a trojan horse. Be especially careful when surfing to links included in messages on social media sites, even if they come from a friend.
2. Watch what you download. Download files only from trusted sources and safe sites.

3. Use security features in OS X. Turn on the built-in Firewall, and consider security software, especially when a computer is shared by multiple users.

If you believe your Mac is infected with this virus, you can download and run the free removal tool from Mac Scan on the Secure Mac website. You can also read more about this virus on that website.

 

Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.

 

 

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Torchlight is $10 for a Limited Time

torchlight stomp
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Torchlight, the dungeon-crawling, booty-dropping, Diablo-reminiscent game was released. But so says the calendar, and to celebrate the game’s solar orbit, studio Runic Games is slashing Torchlight’s price in half.

Torchlight is an adventure that will have you fighting off all sorts of nefarious creatures, feeding your pet to turn it into a giant fighting blob, and frantically grinding to level up. If you haven’t experienced the adventure, you can do so now for a measly 10 bones, and get prepped for Torchlight 2, which is slated for release this spring.
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If you’re still not sold, you can check out our review here (spoiler: we loved it) or read Runic’s official release here, but you better hurry, the Torchlight sale ends October 29th at 8am PST.

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