Child Labor Discovered in Apple Supplier Companies

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Date: Monday, March 1st, 2010, 05:10
Category: News

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At least eleven 15-year-old workers were discovered in the factories of three factories which supply Apple. Although Apple has yet to name the offending factories, or say where they were based, the majority of its goods are assembled in China.

Apple also has factories working for it in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the United States.

According to telegraph.co.uk, Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer underage. “In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment,” Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

Apple has been repeatedly criticized for using factories that abuse workers and where conditions are poor. Last week, it emerged that 62 workers at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia had been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight. Apple has not commented on the problems at the plant, which is run by Wintek, in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

A spokesman for Wintek said that “almost all” of the affected workers were back at work, but that some remained in hospital. Wintek said n-hexane was commonly used in the technology industry, and that problems had arisen because some areas of the factory were not ventilated properly.

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Mac OS X Market Share Up 29% According to Recent Report

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Date: Monday, March 1st, 2010, 05:07
Category: News

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If you’re still being told that the Mac is on its way out (a la the mantra of the 90′s), a new set of statistics released today show that the market share of Mac OS X in Web use has grown by 29.4% in the last year, while Windows has decreased 3.8%.

According to AppleInsider, web statistics company Quantcast found that Mac OS X represented 10.9% of total Web consumption in North America in January. Despite its losses over a year prior, Windows remains the dominant format with 86.8% of all Web use.

The analytics company noted that Windows share held steady for the last three months, following the introduction of Windows 7. But January repented a decline once again following a strong holiday season during which Apple sold 3.36 million Macs.

Mac OS X share also grew 7% between December and January, and also saw 5.2% quarterly growth. Windows saw a 0.9 percent increase in both monthly and quarterly share.

The report cited that the greatest growth in Web use has been on mobile devices wherein mobile operating systems increased their presence by 123.8% year-over-year in January. Even with that tremendous growth, mobile devices still represent just 1.3% of total Web use.

Quantcast also revealed that Mac OS X 10.5 remains the dominant version of Apple’s operating system. In January, Leopard represented 52.1% of all Mac users.

Adoption of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard remained rapid, with 27.3% of Mac users running Apple’s latest operating system, which was released in August and got off to a strong sales start twice as high as the debut of Leopard and four times better than Tiger.

In January, 17.2% of Mac users were running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, while 3.4% were on an earlier version.

For Microsoft, Windows XP remains the dominant platform, with 51.8% of users running the operating system. In fact, Quantast found that Windows XP actually gained share in January, due to strong sales of netbooks.

Windows Vista commands 37.4% of PC users, while Windows 7 has been adopted by 10.2%.

Recently Released Patent Application Describes Using Finger Swipes Over iPhone Camera as Function Control Scheme

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Date: Friday, February 26th, 2010, 05:13
Category: iPhone, Patents

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It’s Apple’s patents and forthcoming technologies that make things interesting and a recently released patent application entitled “Camera as Input Interface” has revealed something cool. Per AppleInsider, the document describes finger swipes over the iPhone’s camera could at some point allow in-call control of functions such as fast forwarding or rewinding a voicemail.

In addition to a camera detecting the direction of a finger swipe, the phone’s accelerometer could also be used to interpret a user tapping the iPhone, allowing control of the handset while on a call without taking the phone away from one’s ear.

The technology would work to make it easier to control a phone by utilizing the camera at times when it is typically idle.

“These actions allow the user to control functions of voicemail review without removing the device from over his ear,” the application reads.

The functionality could potentially extend beyond voicemail, allowing users to merge calls, place calls on hold, or switch between multiple simultaneous calls by simply tapping the device. Such controls could be customized by the user to their liking.

Apple could also choose to adopt the control method for traditional phone use, in addition to in-call controls.

“Furthermore, a user may navigate a document being shown on a display screen of the device by guiding his finger over the camera lens,” the application reads. “While viewing the display screen, the user holds the device in the palm of his hand in a supine position. Rather than pressing or sliding directional buttons next to the screen or touching a touch screen to navigate a webpage document or contacts list, the user may move his finger over the camera lens in the direction he wishes to navigate the page.”

Apple has filed similar patent applications describing mobile devices with touch panels on the reverse side, allowing users to control a device without obscuring the screen with their fingers. In January, a rumor even alleged that the next-generation iPhone would have a Magic Mouse-like touch panel for its plastic back casing.

The application was originally filed for on Aug. 21, 2008 and is credited to Chad Seguin, Justin Gregg and Michael Lee.

Apple Releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.1

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Date: Friday, February 26th, 2010, 04:21
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.1, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’09 applications.

The update, a 6.8 megabyte download, includes support for the following cameras:

- Hasselblad H3DII-50
- Leica M9
- Leica X1
- Olympus E-P1
- Olympus E-P2
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
- Pentax K-7
- Pentax K-x
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A500
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A550
- Sony Alpha DSLR-A850

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

Apple Releases Updated Mac OS X 10.6.3 Dev Build, Official Release Seems Close

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 05:21
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday Apple released a new version of its Mac OS X 10.6.3 beta to its developer community. The build, labeled 10D561, currently lists no known issues, which suggests that a formal release via Software Update may be in the near term.

Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the latest beta claim no changes have been made to the software’s enhancements checklist, which includes an update to QuickTime X that improves security and compatibility while simultaneously enhancing overall reliability.

Other changes present since earlier betas include tweaks that enhance the performance of Apple’s 64-bit Logic Pro audio suite and improved compatibility with third-party printers and OpenGL-grounded applications.

Those familiar with Wednesday’s beta say Apple is now asking developers to focus their evaluation efforts on Bluetooth, iChat, and USB, in addition to two previously listed focus areas: graphics drivers and QuickTime.

An earlier emphasis on AirPort testing has reportedly been omitted from build 10D561.

Mac OS X 10.6.3 currently weighs in at just over 716MB in Delta form, down slightly from the 737MB package distributed with the previous seeding.

If you’ve had a chance to play with the new build, let us know.

Apple Releases iPhone OS SDK 3.2 Beta 3

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Date: Wednesday, February 24th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

Earlier this week, Apple released iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 3, the most recent update of the company’s iPhone OS development tools. Although details of the beta have emerged, MacNN is reporting that it allows “existing iPhone projects to include the necessary files” to support the iPad. Developers should thus be closer to producing working iPad apps, as there is now a Universal Application binary format that wraps iPhone, iPad and iPod touch code into the same bundle.

Sources with access to the kit point out that its documentation has also confirmed the presence of PowerVR SGX technology in the iPad. “Using OpenGL ES on iPad is identical to using OpenGL ES on other iPhone OS devices,” Apple writes. “An iPad is a PowerVR SGX device and supports the same basic capabilities as other SGX devices. However, because the processor, memory architecture, and screen dimensions are different for iPad, you should always test your code on an iPad device before shipping to ensure performance meets your requirements.”

If you’ve gotten your hands on the SDK and can offer any feedback about it, please let us know.

Syncing Issues Cited Between iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x

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Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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As useful and convenient as iPhones and iTunes tend to be, there may be some serious issues left to resolve.

Per reader Martin Joyce, a number of users have been experiencing syncing issues between their iPod and iPhone handsets running iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x. The issue, which is being discussed at length over at the Apple Discussion Boards, cites that the most common issue is that of there being no content on the iPhone or iPod handset after a sync. The discussion has yet to conclude with Apple publicly acknowledging the issue in any way, shape or form.

If anyone has seen this on their end or has heard of a possible forthcoming fix from Apple, please let us know.

Apple Hunting for Engineering Manager to Bring iPhone OS to “New Platforms”

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Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, 05:47
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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A recent job posting from Apple may demonstrate that Apple plans to grow the iPhone OS. Per MacNN, the company is currently searching for an engineering manager to be based out of Cupertino. The person should specifically be responsible for a team handling low levels of the iPhone OS, including the “bring-up of new hardware platforms.” Candidates are therefore expected to have deep experience in areas like Unix kernels and ARM-based systems-on-chip.

The new platforms mentioned are mostly likely updated iPods, iPads and iPhones, although just the iPod and iPhone are cited, and then only tangentially. The ambiguity could in fact leave room for an unannounced platform. One possibility could be an updated Apple TV, since the device is relatively simple but potentially ready to benefit from iPad-style media playback controls. The present Apple TV hardware has not been updated in any significant fashion since May of 2007.

If you have any guesses, please let us know.

Rumor: Hulu May Only Be Available to iPad Via Paid Service

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPad, Rumor

Ok, this is strange and a bit frightening.

Per MediaMemo, the Hulu TV streaming service may be offered by subscription only on Apple’s new hardware, according to a new report.

Citing sources familiar with Hulu, which is owned by three of the largest U.S. broadcast networks, Peter Kafka reported Friday that the service, which is free for Web users, will likely be pay-only for the iPad. He said the “most likely scenario” would involve some sort of subscription package.

Hulu has been rumored for months to be exploring some sort of subscription plan to help the Web site turn a profit. Sources reportedly said the company is still unsure of the approach it will take with its anticipated premium service, and those issues would need to be resolved before an iPad plan could be made official.

Among the problems for Hulu would be Adobe Flash. Last week, the media Web site was rumored to be working on an iPad-friendly version of its Web site, which would operate without Flash.

Given all of the hurdles that lie in front of the service, Kafka said it’s “very unlikely” that Hulu would launch its subscription plan or have a presence on the iPad when it launches at the end of March. But he noted that Apple would “love it” if Hulu could meet that tight time frame.

Weeks ago, Jobs was in New York meeting with numerous media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to pitch the iPad. In addition to the Hulu-related rumors, the trip produced allegations that Jobs disparaged Flash as “old technology” doomed to failure in meetings with newspaper officials.

iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Icons Hint at Upcoming Video Chat Feature for iPhone/iPod Touch

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Date: Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 05:31
Category: iPhone, News

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You’ve got to love the framework files in the software development kits, as they sometimes indicate more than Apple would like them to.

Per 9 to 5 Mac, a discovery in the iPhone OS 3.2 developer kit suggests Apple is opening the door to video calls on its device. Icons in the Telephony UI framework would cover accepting or declining a video chat invitation and code references alternately make references to “iChat” and “VideoChat.” No apps are currently included that would support the feature.

The code could be a possible carryover from conventional Mac OS X, which includes built-in video functionality for iChat. Still, these references have never been seen before for the iPhone OS SDK and firmware mentions have periodically been signs of iPhone and iPod touch features.

Which devices would get the feature aren’t clear. Alleged spare frame parts for the iPad show room for a camera in the initial design, but front video cameras have been a staple of some higher-end smartphones for years and would be borne out by hints of a taller iPhone that might make room for the added optics. Networking is also an issue as 3G has only limited bandwidth for two-way video.

If you have an opinion on this, please share it with the class.