Sprint partners with Raketu Communications, works to bring caption calling feature to iOS devices via app

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Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 06:48
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, Software

This could be interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Sprint on Tuesday announced the availability of a new accessibility feature aimed at helping iPad and iPhone owners on that network with hearing loss better use their devices.

Partnering with Raketu Communications, Sprint has developed Wireless CapTel for installation on the phones and tablets of the hearing-impaired. Wireless CapTel allows users to read conversations with real-time word-for-word captions displayed on the screen of their phone.

Users download the Wireless CapTel app from the iTunes App Store. The app is free with an Everything Data plan on Sprint.

After installation of the app, calls to the device will automatically connect to the CapTel service when an outgoing call is made. The service listens to what the caller on the other end says and automatically transcribes that into text the user can read.

The service does require that users give out the special number that routes calls through CapTel in order to have all calls transcribed.

Wireless CapTel is a Sprint-exclusive feature, and the carrier is rolling it out for some Android devices as well.

The CapTel app requires an iOS device running iOS 4.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Wireless CapTel service on your iPhone and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Q3 2013 numbers, cites $35.3 billion in revenue, $6.9 billion profit

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Finance, News, retail

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There wasn’t massive growth, but the numbers were still good.

Per Macworld, Apple reported sales of US$35.3 billion, with net profit at US$6.9 billion for its third fiscal quarter. That translated to earnings of US$7.47 per diluted share. Apple’s revenue marked a record for the June quarter, ticking up 1 percent from the $35 billion Apple posted in last year’s third quarter. Still, profits fell 22 percent year-over-year, down from US$8.88 billion in 2012. Apple also reported a drop in profit during its fiscal second quarter of 2013.

With a tiny increase in revenue but a drop in profit, you’d rightly conclude that Apple’s gross margin dropped: For the quarter, it was 36.9 percent, versus 42.8 percent on the year-ago quarter. That’s because Apple’s most popular products now have lower margins than the top-sellers a year ago.

The company also says it has issued US$18.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

While Apple generally keeps a tight lid on future product announcement, company officials did reiterate a point made during its second-quarter earnings announcement in April—that the company plans to roll out new products starting this fall and into the next year. “We are laser-focused and working hard on some amazing new products,” CEO Tim Cook said in an statement accompanying Apple’s earnings announcement.”

Apple says it sold 32.2 million iPhones—a record for the June quarter. That’s up from 26 million iPhones in the year-ago period. For the U.S., iPhone sales rose 51 percent year-over-year, Apple says.

The picture was less rosy for iPad sales, but Apple has a perfectly reasonable explanation for the 14 percent drop in tablet sales from last year’s third quarter. A year ago, Apple introduced the third-generation iPad and enjoyed a full quarter’s worth of sales to the tune of 17 million units. This quarter, sales fell to 14.6 million iPads.

Still, Apple has plenty of reason to remain bullish on the iPad. Company chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said that the iPad ranked tops in a 2013 U.S. tablet satisfaction survey by JD Power and Associates. And during the quarter, the company inked a deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the U.S., to roll out iPads to 640,000 students.

In fact, the iPad got the bulk of the credit for a strong quarter of sales to U.S. schools. According to Oppenheimer, the last three months generated the highest quarterly revenue ever for Apple’s U.S. education institution business.

Mac sales also fell in the quarter, down 7 percent from last year to 3.8 million units. Still, Oppenheimer pointed out that the 3.8 million Macs sold beat Apple’s own expectations. And Apple’s sales still were ahead of the total PC market, which saw sales contract by 11 percent according to estimates from research firm IDC. By Apple’s math, the Mac gained market share during the quarter.

The Mac was one of the few product lines to see any changes during the quarter, with Apple updating its MacBook Air lineup at the beginning of June by adding new Intel processors. Company executives had little to say about any impact those new laptops had on overall Mac sales, but Oppenheimer did call it the most successful MacBook Air launch to date, adding that customer response was great.

But during the call, executives implied that there were better things to come. Oppenheimer noted that June’s Worldwide Developers Conference included previews of both the Mac Pro and the next version of OS X, code-named Mavericks.

The iTunes Stores—which includes the App Store, Mac App Store, iBookstore, and the music, movies, and TV sections of iTunes—generated $4.3 billion in billings, Oppenheimer said, culminating in the best week and best month ever for App Store. That translated to quarterly revenue of US$2.4 billion, up 29 percent year over year. Total quarterly revenue from iTunes, software, and services generated US$4 billion in revenue.

Oppenheimer said that Apple now has over 320 million iCloud accounts, and 240 million Game Center accounts.

As for brick-and-mortar retail efforts, the Apple Store saw revenue of US$4.1 billion for the quarter, virtually unchanged from the year-ago quarter. Oppenheimer reported that Apple saw 16,000 visitors per store each week.

For the quarter, Apple had an average of 405 stores, with average revenue per store at US$10.1 million, down US$1 million from the year-ago quarter. Apple opened six stores across five countries during the quarter, giving it 408 stores around the globe; 156 of those outlets are outside the U.S.

The company plans to open nine new stores during the September quarter, giving it 27 new openings during the 2013 fiscal year. It’s not just about new stores, however: Apple says that it relocated four of its stores to more appealing spots; it will complete 23 such relocations before the end 2013 fiscal year in September.

Where stockholders are concerned, the company’s Board of Directors has announced another cash dividend, this one at US$3.05 per share of common stock, payable on August 15 to any shareholder as of August 12.

For the next quarter, Apple is predicting revenue between US$34 billion and US$37 billion, with gross margins between 36 and 37 percent. That sales figure would put Apple’s performance in line with the US$36 billion in revenue it reported in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the coming quarter, Apple also predicts operating expenses will be between US$3.9 billion and US$3.95 billion, with a tax rate of 26.5 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Best Buy to relaunch iPad trade-in program, offer $200 gift certificate for qualifying, undamaged iPads until August 3rd

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013, 06:05
Category: News

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A bargain’s a bargain.

Per 9to5Mac, retailer Best Buy will re-launch its iPad trade-in program tomorrow, July 23rd. The program, which offers a $200+ gift card toward the purchase of a fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, will run until August 3rd.

Best Buy piloted an iPad trade-in-program earlier this month for two days due to the success of the iPhone version.

For this new trade-in-program, iPad 2 and third-generation iPad models without water damage or a cracked display are eligible. While Best Buy will formally announce the special tomorrow, a Best Buy employee provided the above memo to employees detailing the deal:


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If you happen across this deal and have any feedback about it, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Analyst sees late September launch date for iPhone 5S, earlier launch dates for next-gen iPads, Haswell-based Retina Display MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013, 06:06
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

The guesses as to when the next-gen iOS devices are out.

Per AppleInsider, according to a research note obtained by the web site, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S” is seeing setbacks in the production of “numerous components,” as well as handset assembly, meaning the next-gen smartphone will be available in limited amounts following a late September launch.

“While shipments forecasts may still grow sharply in 4Q13, we are concerned iPhone 5S may face the same problem as its predecessor, namely that by the time supply matures, demand will already have waned, hurting shipments,” Kuo writes.

The analyst also sees shipments of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone being below expectations, though the device will be available sooner than the iPhone 5S due to a less complicated manufacturing process. Kuo sees the model being priced at US$450 to US$550, with shipments capped at 26 million units for 2013. Market consensus had shipments at 30 to 40 million units.

As for Apple’s tablet plans, Kuo notes a redesigned 9.7-inch version will be the “highlight of iPad in 2013,” as no new iPad mini model is set for release this year. The analyst says Apple is unlikely to debut an anticipated Retina display version of the 7.9-inch tablet with A7 SoC this year. Due to higher energy demands attached to the Retina panel, as well as the components required to improve power efficiency in such a small form factor, Apple will likely shoot for a launch in March or April 2014.

Interestingly, Kuo points to a possible cheaper iPad mini running a legacy A5 processor. That device could still see release by the end of 2013, December at the earliest, but given the model is unlikely to see a substantial price cut compared to the current iPad mini, Apple will most likely debut the tablet next year.

Finally, the Mac lineup will see continued upgrades to Intel’s Haswell silicon in the coming months. Apple’s Retina display MacBook Pro is looking at a mid-September refresh, while the iMac will get the chips in late August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 12.2.2

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Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2013, 11:22
Category: News, Software

Even a small update makes a difference.

CrossOver, the popular virtualization program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 12.2.2. The new version, a 75.4 megabyte download, is available as a demo, offers the following fix:

- CrossOver has been updated to allow Cube World, a popular indie computer game, to run.

CrossOver 12.2.2 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple testing larger-screen versions of upcoming iPhone, iPad devices

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2013, 06:09
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

Maybe there’s money to be made in the larger display market.

Per the Wall Street Journal and 9to5Mac, Apple and its suppliers are reportedly testing versions of the iPad and iPhone with larger displays.

Apple and its Asian component makers are testing larger screens for iPhones and tablets, officials at the company’s suppliers say.

Due to mounting competition from hardware competitors like Samsung, a larger-screened iPhone has long been expected and rumored. However, this is one of the first specific claims for a larger sized iPad. In March of this year, an unverified claim emerged for a 12.9-inch iPad model being in the works with a rather unlikely name. The report pointed to a display “measuring slightly less than 13 inches diagonally.”

A June report claimed that Apple and its suppliers are testing versions of the iPhone with both 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch screens. With Apple likely releasing a new iPhone with the same design as the iPhone 5 later this year, it seems likely that Apple’s 2014 iPhone will include significant design changes. The WSJ report does not specify screen sizes for the future iPhones.

The 2013 iPhone update, likely known as the “iPhone 5S”, will include an improved camera system, better chip, and potentially a slow-motion camera mode and fingerprint sensor.

As for today’s larger iPad claims, as Apple moves forward in its post-PC initiative, and as Mac sales dwindle, larger iPads that could replace more Mac features seem plausible.

In 2012, Apple slightly enlarged the iPhone display size by increasing the screen to 4-inches diagonally. Apple also shrunk the iPad by debuting a 7.9-inch model called the iPad mini.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple purchases HopStop, could focus on public transit and navigation updates for upcoming versions of Maps

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2013, 06:47
Category: News, Software

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Apple has snagged HopStop.

Per AppleInsider and AllThingsD, Apple on Friday purchased transit navigation service HopStop, which also has an iPhone app of the same name, in a possible bid to bolster its own in-house mapping solution.

Citing sources with knowledge of the deal, Bloomberg reports that Apple has just purchased HopStop, a localized public transit navigation service that could potentially be folded into the company’s Maps iOS app, and the upcoming OS X Mavericks version.

If the report is accurate, HopStop’s technology could be used by Apple to build out its Maps app, offering users directions for bus, train, subway and other transit options. The current version of Maps does not include such functionality, and instead points users searching for public transit routes toward third-party apps that can handle such tasks. Along with supporting transit information for over 300 major cities, HopStop also includes walking, car and bicycle routing.

News of the reported purchase comes just hours after Apple announced it had acquired Locationary, a tech startup that uses crowd-sourced data to offer accurate and up-to-date listings of local businesses.

Apple’s Maps has been the source of much debate since it was launched with iOS 6 in 2012. Incorrect data, graphical glitches and navigation issues plagued the app during its first few months in the wild. The company is still working hard to bring the mapping solution up to snuff, as evidenced by the acquisitions.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.8.800.115

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 10:48
Category: News, Software

It’s hard to ignore a Flash Player update.

On Friday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.8.800.115 for Mac OS X, an 18 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:
- Sandboxing enhancements: This feature adds enhancements to the existing sandbox feature by better addressing application launches in protected mode.

- Recursive stop on MovieClip: For Flash Player, this feature allows a game developer to effectively pause/stop a running SWF without having to iterate through all of the objects on the DisplayList.

- Datagram Socket: DatagramSocket APIs are now supported for iOS and Android also. This will work only with swf-version 21 or later.

- Server Socket: ServerSocket APIs are now supported for iOS and Android also. This will work only with swf-version 21 or later.

- LZMA SWF support: LZMA compressed swfs can now be packaged for iOS and Android targets and are supported.

- 4096×4096 texture support: With this feature, a new profile, BASELINE_EXTENDED is introduced in the class flash.display3D.Context3DProfile, which will support a
maximum texture size of 4096X4096.

- Rectangle Texture Support: Rectangle Textures are now supported in BASELINE as well as BASELINE_EXTENDED profile. T e texture formats supported for Rectangle Textures are BGRA, BGR_PACKED and BGRA_PACKED. Details for usage can be found in the language reference.

Adobe Flash Player 11.8.800.115 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new Flash Player and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 8.0.18608

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 10:51
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, Parallels released version 8.0.18608 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 336.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Install Windows 8.1 Preview using Express installation.

- Work with Ubuntu 13.04 in Coherence view mode.

- Resolves an issue with the Contact Card opening too slowly in Microsoft Outlook 2013.

- Resolves an issue with visual artifacts in Microsoft Outlook 2013.

- Smoother mouse scrolling in guest operating systems.

- Improved 3D graphics performance: playing World of Tanks, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and other games in a virtual machine became more stable.

- Resolves an issue with reverted colors on guest OS screenshots.

Parallels Desktop 8 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases iWork for iCloud beta invitations beyond developer community, asks ordinary users for feedback

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 06:28
Category: News, Software

It’s kind of nifty when you get an invite for something typically accessible to the developer community.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has apparently begun inviting non-developers to the online document editing program. Tipsters have stated that the company asked them to try out the services and send in feedback.

In order to try the new beta, all you have to do is sign in to iCloud on a Mac or a PC using the current version of Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer. Then just click on Pages, Numbers, or Keynote and you’re off.


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Users that have received the invitation don’t need to visit beta.icloud.com – they can just use the regular icloud.com address.

The free status hints at the possibility of iWork for the Mac/iOS going free in the near future. The current version of iLife is included with the purchase of a new Mac, but the iWork apps are sold for US$19.99 in the Mac App Store. Going free would probably reduce the number of Office for Mac purchases, but many argue that it could lead users to expect even more free apps.

If you’ve received the beta invitation or tried iWork for iCloud out and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.