Apple launches iPhone in China, 32 additional countries

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Date: Monday, December 17th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The iPhone 5 world introduction tour continues.

Per The Next Web, Apple kicked off sales of the massively popular iPhone 5 handset in China and 31 other countries on Friday, fending off supply constraints as the company continues its fastest rollout ever.

Concerning the China launch, the usual long lines seen at past Apple product launches in China were staunched, largely in thanks to the combination of a snow storm and the preorder system instituted by the country’s two official partner carriers.

The Sanlitun Apple Store, the company’s first retail outlet in China, saw workers milling about waiting to greet customers that never came. The lack of walk-in purchases is in stark contrast to reports of strong pre-sale number that had cellular carrier China Unicom sitting at over 300,000 preorders days before Friday’s launch.

China is now Apple’s second-largest market, and holds the world’s biggest base of mobile subscribers. While the Cupertino, Calif., company has been able to broker deals with China Unicon and China Telecom, Apple has yet to tap into the vast pool of the world’s largest carrier China Mobile. An arrangement has been rumored to be in the works for years and China Mobile’s president recently acknowledged that the two companies are in talks, but chances are slim that a partnership will be reached in the near future.

Along with China, the iPhone 5 also launched in the following countries on Friday:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The smartphone will debut in over 50 countries in December with the next wave of releases scheduled for a week from today.

Apple releases Epson 2.28 drivers for Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:01
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released version 2.28 of its Epson printer drivers.

The updated driver provides updated support for Epson’s entire line of printers, scanners, fax machines, and multi-function machinery when connecting to a Mac running OS X 10.6. The update is available as a 1.04 gigabyte download size from Apple’s Support website.

The updates can also be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve installed the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Next-gen iPad mini to include higher resolution display

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 08:44
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The nice thing about rumors: there’s a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is rumored to be focusing on upgrading the resolution of its recently released iPad mini to Retina display specifications, with the changes said to be arriving in the next generation of the small form factor tablet’s next generation.

The Taiwanese publication cited sources from the backlighting industry as saying Apple’s next-gen iPad mini will boast a higher resolution display. It is not yet clear if the 7.9-inch tablet will feature a screen on-par with current Retina offerings, but “market observers” said a HiDPI display is likely the next step for the mini.

If the rumors are true, the next-generation tablet will move to a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would yield a higher pixel density than the full-size iPad’s 264 ppi due to the discrepancy in screen size.

Sources also said Apple will be modifying the 9.7-inch iPad’s existing LED backlighting system, going from dual light bars to one in an effort to cut weight and slim down the tablet’s profile.

Although DigiTimes has a spotty record when it comes to forecasting upcoming Apple products, the publication’s sources in the display industry are a bit more reliable. In October, it correctly noted that AU Optronics would be tapped as a suppler of the current generation of iPad mini displays, while a second report said weak yields were delaying the release of the iPad mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the new iMac.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.03

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 07:14
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.03, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 5.07 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS 6D

– Nikon 1 V2

The update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

Apple releases iTunes 11.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, December 14th, 2012, 07:38
Category: iTunes, News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 11.0.1 of its iTunes multimedia/jukebox application. The new version, a 191.3 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses an issue where new purchases in iCloud may not appear in your library if iTunes Match is turned on.

– Makes iTunes more responsive when searching a large library.

– Fixes a problem where the AirPlay button may not appear as expected.

– Adds the ability to display duplicate items within your library.

iTunes 11.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases Find My iPhone 2.0.1, adds turn-by-turn driving directions to located devices

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Date: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 08:36
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

This could help out a bit.

Apple has added driving directions to Find My iPhone with version 2.0.1 of the iOS app for iPhone and iPad. Users now have the ability to get driving directions courtesy of Apple Maps directly within the app.

The directions include voice turn by turn directions and in-app directions, too, just like in Apple Maps.

The update also made the Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase buttons all appear separately from the map view within the app.

The Find My iPhone application is free, available on the App Store and requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

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

Rumor: Apple meeting with Asian manufacturers, testing multiple HDTV designs

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Date: Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 08:26
Category: Hardware, Rumor

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An Apple HDTV should be en route, they’re just selecting the optimal one.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s most recent efforts have focused on a collaboration with struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp.

According to the Journal’s supply chain sources, Apple has been testing “a few designs” for a large format HDTV, though the publication warns that the Cupertino, Calif., company may not actually build the device.

“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” said one source.

Apple has reportedly been working on prototype designs for years, but the recent collaboration with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known by its trade name Foxconn, and Sharp may signal that the TV is edging closer to production.

The rumors are in line with previous reports regarding Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou’s investment in Sharp’s Sakai LCD plant, which netted Hon Hai a 37.6 percent stake in the facility’s operator. In November, Apple too was said to have invested some US$2.3 billion to keep Sharp alive as the firm is a key supplier of displays used in iDevices and other products.

In an interview with Brian Williams of NBC’s Rock Center, Apple chief executive Tim Cook stoked the “iTV” fire when he was asked about the company’s next big thing.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Hints of an Apple-built TV have been circulating for years, and reports have claimed inside knowledge that the final product will be anything from a full-fledged HDTV to a revolutionary set-top cloud-enabled cable box, but sources have yet to offer tangible evidence in support of their claims.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple awarded patent for intelligent caller ID image selection feature

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Date: Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, 08:48
Category: News

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This could lead to something cool.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has won a patent for the method in which pictures are assigned to incoming calls, offering a twist to the common feature seen on most cellular devices since the introduction of the camera phone.

The U.S. patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,331,916 for “Image selection for an incoming call.” At first glance, the patent appears to be simply covering the method with which a device assigns a picture to a contact, but on closer inspection the IP calls for a more advanced system that randomizes and selects images intelligently based on predetermined criteria.

According to the patent language, the system relies on filters to parse out relevant images of a contact associated with a certain caller ID. Any incoming telecommunication protocol can be used to determine who the caller is, for example text messages are supported.

Pulling from a pool of images, stored on-board the receiving device or on an off-site server, the system matches the caller ID information with pictures associated with the caller. For example, upon detection, a caller’s picture may be randomly selected from the image pool based on a weighting system that takes into account how many times a certain image has been used. Going further, the pictures may have associated star ratings that can be used to refine the filter even further.

The method also allows for image selection based on a set of criteria, such as location, date and other rules. For example, if a call is found to be originating from San Francisco, the system will search the image pool for pictures of the caller taken in that city. Alternately, if the call originated from the home town of the caller, but that person is currently on a trip to New York, pictures of previous trips to New York will be displayed.

Time is also taken into consideration as an image taken during the day or night can be selected depending on what time it is in the call’s originating location.

Finally, the system also supports video snippets to be played in place of pictures when appropriate.

The patent was first filed in 2010, with Timothy B. Martin and Gregory Charles Lindley credited as its inventors.

Apple releases Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.7, works to address HDMI flicker issue on late-2012 Mac mini

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Date: Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, 07:20
Category: Mac mini, News, Software

You can’t knock a good firmware update.

Late Monday, Apple released Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.7, the company’s firmware updater for the late-2012 Mac mini desktop. The update, a 4.8 megabyte download, addresses HDMI video flicker issues on Mac mini (Late 2012) computers and is recommended for all users.

The EFI Firmware Update 1.7 requires a late-2012 Mac mini running OS X 10.8.2 or later to install and run and can be directly downloaded or located and installed via the Software Update feature.

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

Apple, Google reportedly partnering on $500 million bid for Kodak’s patents

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Date: Monday, December 10th, 2012, 07:50
Category: News, Patents

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Apple and Google may not always see eye to eye on matters, but both of them know a deal when they see one.

Per Bloomberg, Apple has reportedly teamed up with Google to offer a bid for Kodak patents worth over US$500 million.

On Friday, the news site cited two sources familiar with Kodak’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings who claim Apple and Google have become partners in a grab for 1,100 patents owned by the erstwhile photography monolith. Sources say the Apple-Google consortium was behind a bid placed a bid earlier this week.

When bidding first started, the companies led two separate teams, with Apple’s consortium including Microsoft and patent holdings firm Intellectual Ventures, while Google joined up with RPX Corp. and a number of Asian handset manufacturers. At the time, it was thought that HTC and Samsung were part of Google’s team.

Before the imaging patent auction began in August, Kodak estimated the value of its portfolio to fall between US$2.2 and US$2.6 billion, though the first round of bids were reportedly in the range of US$150 million to US$250 million. Under the terms of Kodak’s US$793 million loan agreement, the winning bid for the portfolio must not be lower than US$500 million.

Interestingly, Kodak previously leveraged patents in a suit against Apple and HTC, as well as an ITC case against Apple and RIM, as a last-ditch effort to stay afloat. Apple subsequently took action and sued Kodak after claiming ownership of ten patents related to the QuickTake camera, which was a cooperative project between the two companies. A judge ultimately ordered the Cupertino, Calif., company to halt current and future litigation so the bankruptcy proceedings could continue.

In November, sources claimed both Apple and Google remained interested in the patent cache, and Kodak said it was “confident” that the minimum woud be reached.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.