Apple Denies iPhone App Which Measures Radiation Exposure, Cites Interface Issues

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Date: Monday, March 8th, 2010, 05:57
Category: iPhone, News

As cool as the App Store can be, sometimes it’s the rejected applications that prove the most interesting.

Last week, the TechCrunch reported that Apple rejected an application that promises to measure and minimize a user’s exposure to cell phone radiation.

The application, which had been developed by Israeli company Tawkon, had spent 18 months in development with the firm looking to sell it for between US$5 and US$10.

“Our message is moderate, we don’t claim to try to stop users from using their phones,” said Tawkon co-founder Gil Friedlander. “We just say to do so responsibly.”

In rejecting the application, Friedlander was told by Apple the information about radiation levels provided by the application may be confusing for users despite an excellent interface. “They are very clear about the fact that they make content decisions about what they want to post or not.” An Apple spokesman reportedly declined to comment about the issue.

According to the company, Tawkon’s RRI patent pending technology alerts the user when radiation levels cross a predefined threshold and provides simple, non-intrusive suggestions to reduce exposure to radiation. The application leverages various smart-phones capabilities including the built-in Bluetooth, motion and proximity sensors, GPS and compass to determine the results.

The technology collects and analyzes your phone’s dynamic SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels, network coverage, location, environmental conditions and phone usage at any given moment to help determine those results.

Apple to Release Wi-Fi iPad on April 3rd, 3G-Capable Models to Arrive in Late April

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 08:46
Category: iPad, News

Apple finally announced that it will release the Wi-Fi version of its long-awaited iPad on Saturday, April 3rd (full press release available here) in the U.S. with 3G-capable units arriving in late April. All models of the device will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK come late April.

Users will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi and the 3G-capable units from Apple’s online store come March 12th or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.

Prices are slotted at US$499 for the 16GB unit, US$599 for the 32GB unit US$699 for 64GB unit. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of US$629 for 16GB, US$729 for 32GB and US$829 for 64GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know if you plan to snag an iPad at launch or wait a bit…

Apple Dramatically Lowers Pricing for Mac OS X Developer Program

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:19
Category: News

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Following a brief outage on Thursday, Apple’s developer site came back online offering a restructured developer program for the Mac modeled after the US$99/year iPhone development program according to MacRumors:

“Modeled after the highly successful iPhone Developer Program, we’ve relaunched the Mac Developer Program to offer members technical resources, support, access to pre-release software, developer forums and more, all for just $99 per year. As our developer base continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we’re working hard to ensure we provide our developers with everything they need to create innovative applications for both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X.”

Apple had previously offered assorted tiers at much higher prices (Select and Premier for US$499 and US$3,499 a year, respectively), but also offered hardware discounts and assorted membership perks. The company may be looking to tempt the large number of iPhone developers to easily jump to Mac development. Existing ADC members accounts will continue as is until they expire, at which time members can then join the new $99/year program. Prospective Mac developers can still download the Xcode tools for free, but without access to the pre-release software and technical support.

Wall Street Journal Developing iPad Content, Keeping Prototype Under Lock and Key

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s legendary secrecy around its products continues as Rupert Murdoch revealed that the Wall Street Journal, in developing its iPad edition, has a pre-release model that is checked in on nightly by Apple.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch confirmed during a speech in New York on Tuesday that his News Corp. publication will be offered on Apple’s forthcoming iPad. According to a report in the Journal, the executive also gave insight into Apple’s secretive practices as the paper has had access to a pre-release iPad.

“In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” Murdoch was quoted as saying. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

The Journal and Apple had an iPad-related altercation last month when editor Alan Murray posted to Twitter from the device when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs visited the paper to pitch its e-reader capabilities. That incident reportedly upset Jobs, who was said to be “furious” and allegedly had the editor delete the post. In a subsequent e-mail, Murray would not confirm the incident, but merely said that “Apple’s general paranoia about news coverage is truly extraordinary.”

The Journal stands as one of the high-profile publications developing content for the iPad and last week, the Associated Press revealed that it is also creating an app for the iPad centered around a subscription model.

How much to charge for content on the iPad and other devices remains a point of contention. While reports have suggested that Times executives cannot agree whether to charge $10 per month or closer to $30 per month, the Journal began charging users of its iPhone application late last year. Murdoch has previously said that News Corp. intends to charge for all of its online news sites, noting that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Murdoch added that he believes the iPad is just the first in a number of devices that many will use to read newspapers on a daily basis. He reportedly said there will be a “half dozen or more” introduced in the next year.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in…

Rumor: iPad to Hit on March 26th

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Date: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, Rumor

Because the rumors make life interesting.

A recent rumor has suggested that Apple Store employees will get their first hands-on experience with the iPad and begin training on Wednesday, March 10th, while consumers could be able to purchase one Friday, March 26th.

According to The Examiner, an unnamed Apple Store manager in Southern California stated Tuesday evening that the definitive release date has not yet been determined, but the March 26th date is “very likely.” As was announced at its unveiling, the 3G-enabled models will arrive about a month later.

While employees will begin training on March 10th, commercials will allegedly begin to air on TV starting March 15th. Those TV spots are expected to emphasize the e-book capabilities of the device.

Finally, the report claimed that those who camp out for the iPad will receive a “special gift.”

If accurate, the report would suggest that an alleged “manufacturing bottleneck” will not delay the launch of Apple’s new multi-touch device. However, initial supplies could still be constrained, as rumors of an “unspecified production problem” have surfaced from Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn.

Initial demand for the iPad is predicted to be strong, with most analysts on Wall Street forecasting first-year sales of between 1 million and 5 million.

Publishers Looking to Raise Prices to $13 – $15 Per Book for iPad Content

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Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 05:55
Category: iPad, News

With the iPad only days away from launch, a new report states that consumers have “unrealistic expectations” about how low e-book prices should be.

Recently, the New York Times provided a breakdown on the economics of producing a book from the publisher’s perspective. The report noted that while printing costs go away when a book is reproduced in an electronic format, a number of expenses remain, including royalties and marketing.

The report said that while the average hardcover bestseller is IS$26, the cost to print, store and ship the book is just US$3.25. That cost also includes unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers.

Publishers get roughly US$13 of the selling price of a book. But after factoring in payments to the author and the cost of cover design and copy editing, only about US$4.05 is left. The report also noted that this figure doesn’t include overhead such as office space and electricity.

Under Apple’s agreement with publishers for the iBookstore, the hardware maker will keep 30% of each book sale, leaving US$9.09 for the publisher on a typical US$12.99 e-book.

“Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about 50 cents to convert the text to a digital file, typeset it in digital form and copy-edit it,” the report said. “Marketing is about 78 cents.”

Click the jump for the full story…

Rumor: Apple Looking to Bring HDMI Ports to Various Macs

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Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 05:20
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, Rumor

Because the rumor mill’s fun, sources have stated that Apple plans to introduce HDMI ports on some of its systems this year, embracing a current trend among its competitors.

According to AppleInsider, a prototype of the Mac Mini has been seen with an HDMI port by two sources close to the story. The port sits besides mini DisplayPort connector and marks the first instance of full-featured HDMI connectivity on a Mac. It also represents only the second Apple product to feature the port outside of the company’s fledgeling Apple TV streaming media device. Cosmetically, the Mac mini is otherwise said to look identical to existing models, with no other visible changes to its enclosure.

At least one of the Mac mini prototypes described by those privy to the hardware is said to include Nvidia’s MCP89 chipset, which is the successor to the existing MCP79 (or GeForce 9400M) chipset found alongside Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors across the majority of Apple’s existing Mac product line.

However, an ongoing Intel licensing dispute with Nvidia will prevent Apple (and other PC makers) from using the MCP89 supporting chipset alongside its latest generation of Nehalem-based Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. As a result, Apple may continue to rely on existing Core 2 Duo (pre-Nehalem) processors as part of its upcoming Mac mini revision.

Alternatively, the Mac mini prototype in question could have been in development before Intel’s disagreement with Nvidia came to a head, meaning successive prototype revisions that forgo the new Nvidia chipset in favor of Intel’s may have since emerged, though there’s no evidence thus far to support that theory.

Click the jump for the full story…

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.

Click the jump for the full story…

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.