Thursday, October 13, 2011

Android attacks have no impact

Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page told analysts today he's seen "no signs" that rivals' tactics challenging Android over patent infringement have been effective.

During the company's quarterly conference call, Page was asked about the onslaught of legal challenges to Google's mobile operating system. Microsoft and Oracle have targeted Android, accusing either the company or its partners of using their intellectual property without licensing it. Earlier today, Quanta signed a licensing deal with Microsoft to use Android as well as Google's Chrome operating system.

Page said that the attacks on Android aren't slowing down the growth of the operating system.

"We're seeing no signs that that's effective," Page told an analyst in response to a question. "If anything, our position is getting stronger."


iPhone 4S Preorder, Sold out?

US carriers are reported to have sold out preorders of Apples’s iPhone 4S one day before the device goes on sale.

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint's online stores are said to have sold out iPhone 4S preorders, yet Verizon and Sprint were listed with "no immediate stock" of the entry-level 16GB model according to Bloomberg.

A quick check on the carrier sites tells a different story: people can still pre-order most models of Apple's new iPhone, but there's no longer the guarantee they'll get it by tomorrow, something that's been the case for most of this week.

The iPhone 4S goes on sale in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K at 8 a.m. local time tomorrow morning. Earlier this week Apple said it sold more than 1 million preorders for the device within the first 24 hours of it going up for sale, the most preorders the company had ever received for a product.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple iOS 5 release

After a four-month wait, Apple released iOS 5 to consumers early Wednesday morning, October 12, 2011.

The new software, which powers Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, comes after seven beta versions of the software, dating back to June when iOS 5 made its debut at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

iOS 5, which is available as a free update, brings an overhaul to Apple's notifications system, alongside a new messaging platform called iMessage that lets iOS users text and chat with one another free of charge. The software is also deeply tied to Apple's iCloud service, which ferries photos, applications, and settings back and forth between iOS devices, and serves as a built-in backup solution. Perhaps most important of all, iOS 5 lets iOS devices stand on their own, removing some of the ties to Apple's iTunes by letting users update their software and edit media right on the device.

The new version of the software can be found by plugging your iOS device into iTunes. It's compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, third- and fourth-generation iPod Touches, and both the first- and second-generation iPad. Users with older iOS devices remain on older versions of the system software


Apple preps iCloud for the masses

Apple is planning to launch its cloud-based storage and syncing service, iCloud, to the public today, but so far, only some folks are able to log in.

Users who have an Apple ID and go to to sign in to the service will be unable to use the service for now, unless they have a developer account. The full rollout is expected to occur sometime later today.

Once users are in iCloud, they can view, add, or change Contacts, input events into Calendar, and store documents in the cloud with the help of the platform's iWork application.

In addition, users who have an iPhone can use iCloud to find the device, and view it on a map. That application also features the ability to remotely lock or wipe the device in the event the handset has been stolen or misplaced


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The article that inspired Steve Jobs

In 1971, Esquire's Ron Rosenbaum set out in search of a story about a small and little-known underground group of hackers who had figured out how to outwit Ma Bell to make free phone calls. It was the first article to publicize the antics of the (now legendary) "Captain Crunch," as well as the exploits of the phone phreakers, as they were called.

The piece was also notable in that it fired the imagination of one Steve Jobs, who, along with his partner Steve Wozniak, proceeded to build the so-called "blue boxes" used to make the free calls. Slate has reproduced the article on its Web site, and it still makes for a fascinating read 40 years later.

In an interview with the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association, Jobs recalled his blue-box collaboration with Woz, saying it was key to their later founding of Apple.

"Experiences like that taught us the power of ideas," Jobs said. "The power of understanding that if you could build this box, you could control hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of telephone infrastructure around the world--that's a powerful thing. If we hadn't had made blue boxes, there would have been no Apple."


International BlackBerry outage continues

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has still not fully restored e-mail, messaging, and Web service to more than 10 million customers in Europe, the Middle East, parts of South America, and Africa after a disruption at one of its network operation centers yesterday.

A BlackBerry outage, which began on Monday around 10:20 a.m. BST, has resulted in limited access to e-mails, Web browsing, and messaging services such as BlackBerry Messenger, otherwise known as BBM.

Late yesterday, RIM said it had resolved the issue. But this morning, millions of BlackBerry subscribers woke up to find their service was still disrupted. The company has acknowledged the problem, but has not offered much detail about when it will be fixed.

The company said in a statement that the issues experienced by its customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure


Monday, October 10, 2011

What we still don't know about iCloud

Apple's iCloud service will finally be active on October 12, but the concept is still a mystery for most people. iCloud's still a little cloudy.

We know about document-editing, iTunes Match, photo streams, and cloud syncing of settings and app data, but here's what still confuses us as we approach the day where we'll be figuring it all out for ourselves.

Some of the iCloud features not clear are:

1. You can redownload iTunes music...but can you erase it?
2. Do videos have a home on iCloud?
3. Will Photo Stream save original-resolution photos?
4. Will the App Store experience be any different from what exists now?
5. iTunes Match: How do downloaded iTunes versions get resolved with originals?


iPhone 4S sticks with 512MB of RAM

Even with a number of improvements to the hardware within the upcoming iPhone 4S, it looks like one component that will remain the same is the amount of built-in memory.

A report from China-based, which seems to have gotten its hands on an iPhone 4S ahead of Friday's launch says that the site has posted photos and videos of the device in action, including the new Siri voice assistant.

In a post over the weekend, the person with the device also notes that the device is packing 512MB of RAM versus the 1GB some had been expecting.

While Apple has been eager to tout the technical specifications of the iPhone 4S in comparison to its predecessor, the company has not broken with the tradition of not disclosing the amount of built-in RAM in iOS devices. RAM increases in devices like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 have led to noted improvements in multitasking, as well as keeping more Web pages open in Safari on both of these devices.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple's Siri: A TV remote that you can talk to?

In a note to clients issued Friday, Cross Research's Shannon Cross pivots from the Steve Jobs eulogies to take a closer look at Siri, the natural language interface that Apple (AAPL) unveiled the day before he died.

The artificial intelligence in Siri -- the product of a five-year, 300-researcher DARPA project called CALO -- may not be mature enough to understand half of what users are going to ask of it when it gets released later this week, but making sense of the commands grunted by couch potatoes and navigating TV Guide's database are almost certainly within its ken. And as Cross points out, when Siri is installed across all of Apple's iOS product line -- including its current and future TV devices -- the need for a physical TV remote might finally disappear.


10 ways Steve Jobs changed the world

Steve Jobs left behind a company in the best financial shape of its 35-year history.

There may never be another chief executive like him. Apple's former CEO and co-founder transformed the world's relationship with technology -- forever.


For Jobs, how a product looked, felt and responded trumped raw technical specifications. While PC makers chased after faster processor speeds, Jobs pursued clever, minimalist design.

One ex-Apple employee remembers sitting in a meeting with Jobs, who was mulling over the appeal of Mini Coopers. (An old coworker of his sold them at the time.)

"He finally decided they were cool because they were small," he says. "Steve said that's when he knew Apple had to get really good at metal. Most computer makers at the time were all using plastic, but he knew to get smaller, you had to get metal really, really well."

The move paid off: Apple's titanium-turned-aluminum notebooks became bestsellers. The most recent MacBook Air models have been held up as examples of the ideal intersection of design, price and performance.