Apple Releases MobileMe Gallery App for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 15th, 2010, 07:19
Category: iPhone, Software

mzl.jwfygktj.100x100-75

On Thursday, Apple released its MobileMe Gallery app, an application which allows users to view photos and videos from the cloud-based service on their iPhone or iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the MobileMe Gallery app allows users to select an album with a tap and flick back and forth through photos, pinch to zoom, or rotate into landscape view. The software also automatically stores photos that have been viewed, so they can be accessed again even without a network connection.

Users can access publicly shared content by choosing names from contacts or entering their MobileMe member name. The application also includes a scrolling sampler at the top that gives users access to recent photos.

Users must enter their MobileMe member name and password to see their list of published movies and photos. A MobileMe subscription is required.

The application is available for free and requires iPhone OS version 3.1 or later.

Apple Patent Applications Discovered for iPhone Stylus, Contextual User Interfaces

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:03
Category: Patents

3gs.jpg

A series of recently published patent applications shows that Apple has been looking into creating a stylus for use on a touch-sensitive panel like the iPhone, and creating dynamic user interfaces for mobile devices that would adapt to location and use.

Per AppleInsider, the first patent application addresses the idea of a conductive tip for a stylus that would be recognized by such a screen.

“A metallic or otherwise conductive disk may be attached to one end of the stylus,” the application reads. “The disk may be sized so as to guarantee sufficient electrical interaction with at least one sensory element of the touch sensor panel.”

The application also presents the option of a powered stylus that would provide the stimulus signal required by a capacitive touch screen. A powered stylus could also include sensors that would measure elements like force and angle that would transmit additional information to the device.

“This additional data can be used for selecting various features in an application executing on the host device (e.g., selecting various colors, brushes, shading, line widths, etc.),” the application reads.

The invention is credited to John G. Elias, an Apple employee and co-founder of FingerWorks, the firm acquired by Apple during the development of the original iPhone. The application is titled “Stylus Adapted For Low Resolution Touch Sensor Panels.” It was submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 11th, 2008.

The other application focuses on the idea that future portable devices could have different input methods and user interfaces depending on where they are located.

For example, using the device in the car or in the gym could show a different design on the screen. Devices could also be controlled in different fashions when they are docked and less portable, and a different design and input method might make more sense.

“Each mode may define different features and content that are customized for a particular mode,” the application reads. “Based a selected mode, the media player may provide access to only content, features, hardware, user interface elements, and the like that the user wishes to have access to when the mode is enabled. The media player may provide the user different experiences, looks, and feels for each mode.”

Users would be able to customize each of the different GUIs available. The goal, the application states, is to create a “cleaner, more focused user experience.”

Custom layouts and playlists could be created for use at the gym or while driving, which would automatically be reconfigured when a particular mode is enabled.

“The mode may further specify how applications relevant to the mode may be displayed, such as backgrounds, icons, style information, themes, or other information that provides a visual indicator of the active mode,” the document reads.

The application, entitled “Multi-Model Modes of One Device,” is credited to William Bull and Ben Rottler. It was submitted on Sept. 9th, 2008.

Users Report Window Rendering Bug on MacBooks Under Mac OS X 10.6.X

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:18
Category: MacBook, Software

143393-09macbook386_original

As much as you may like Mac OS X, there may still be some bugs to hash out. Per CNET, several MacBook users have reported experiencing a problem in OS X where the system shows areas of graphics corruption around windows. The corruption appears to be a black area of blocky lines in no particular pattern, and seems to be in the area of the window’s shaded region, moving with the window when it is moved.

GMA3100GraphicsCorruption

The behavior seems to be specific for computers that are running Intel GMA X3100 graphics chipsets. It started occurring with Mac OS X 10.6 for some people, though for others the 10.6.1 update spurred the problem, and as of the latest 10.6.2 release this problem has not been addressed. The issue seems to happen most when multimedia files are being played, especially with beta versions of Adobe flash are being used. From user descriptions, the problem seems to stem from a bug waiting to be fixed in the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system.

Recent reports suggest Apple is working on significantly improving support for more OpenGL 3.0 functions and extensions in OS X 10.6.3, which implies Apple will be updating the graphics drivers in the next update. Hopefully the bug that is causing this problem will be addressed then.

In the meantime, you can try the following fixes and workarounds:

- Reset PRAM and SMC.

- Boot into safe mode and clear caches with OnyX or other maintenance utility.

- Try a different user account.

- Try different graphics settings (bit depth, resolution).

This glitch won’t hurt anything and only affects the MacBook’s rendering of window shadows, which can still be interacted with normally. If you’ve seen this issue on your end and found your own fix or workaround, please let us know.

Apple Now Holds 7.4% of U.S. Market Share in Recent IDC Report

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2010, 06:28
Category: News

applelogo1.jpg

In spite of a lagging economy, Apple was able to keep its domestic market share above 7% in a 31% year-over-year comparison to 1.5 million units sold.

Per AppleInsider, Apple outpaced the rest of the U.S. PC market, which also grew an impressive 24% in year-over-year during the fourth quarter (the three-month period ending December), according to preliminary data released Wednesday by market research firm IDC. Apple’s sales were enough to keep its placement as the fifth-largest domestic PC maker, behind HP, Dell, Acer and Toshiba, respectively.

In total, Apple sold an estimated 5.6 million computers in the U.S. in during the 2009 calendar year, good for an overall 8% share. This was up slightly from the 5.2 million units and 7.9% share the company held in 2008, representing 8.2% year-over-year growth. Apple was the fourth-largest U.S. PC maker in all of 2009.

While Apple is growing, sales data shows that its slice of the market is not. That can be attributed to the booming market for low-end netbooks, which sell for a few hundred dollars and earn manufacturers razor-thin profit margins. By comparison, Apple’s believed to retain some of the highest margins in the industry, often hovering above 30%.

“Low-cost notebooks and mini-notebooks were the biggest contributors to the successful fourth quarter,” said David Daoud, research manager with IDC’s U.S. Quarterly PC tracker.

Overall PC growth during the fourth quarter was bolstered by the launch of Windows 7, which pushed the industry to a record quarter of 20.7 million units for the three-month period. IDC said that consumer confidence was a key factor in these advances, though business spending has lagged behind and is likely to take some more time to take hold.

“The U.S. market exploded in the 4th quarter driven by a series of factors contributing to the unexpected 24% year-on-year growth,” Daoud said. “First is the rubber-band effect and recovery from the year-ago quarter, which suffered from buyer contraction when the economic crisis was confirmed. Then vendors responded with new low price points to stimulate demand and face competition.”

Global sales were also strong, with the market seeing a 15.8% yearly gain. Overall, the fourth quarter of 2009 represented the first double-digit growth in PC shipments since the third quarter of 2008, IDC said.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Include OLED Screen, Dual Core Processor, Other New Features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 06:27
Category: News

3gs.jpg

What’s life without rumors?

Aside from, you know, accurate and filled with information that’s been solidly confirmed by sources and publications.

Per the Korea Times, high-ranking executives at wireless carrier KT, Apple’s exclusive carrier in South Korea, have commented that the next-generation iPhone will include an OLED screen, support video chat and – perhaps most surprisingly – have a removable battery.

The unit will reportedly feature a dual-core processor, more powerful graphics and an improved camera. The officials say that KT’s corporate clients will get the new phones in April as a “litmus test” before they’re provided to local distributors in June.

International availability isn’t specified in the report, but an upgraded iPhone in June would fall in line with Apple’s history.

Following the feature-by-feature breakdown, an OLED screens seems likely. This feature was rumored for the iPhone 3GS and never came to fruition. Competitor Google’s Nexus One handset has just arrived with an OLED screen, thereby perhaps pushing Apple to include one as well.

The removable battery on the other hand seems less likely, as Apple has a history of non-removable batteries in its iPhone and current notebook lineups. Last February, The Register dug up a few battery-related Apple patents, one of which describes a method for removing batteries from mobile devices and charging them in a host computer, so Apple might have a trick up its sleeve.

Video chat could arrive in the next iPhone, but prove to be a double edged sword, as wireless carrier AT&T might express concern about potential bandwidth use. This feature would also require a front-facing camera, which could be valuable even without video conferencing.

Korea Times says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones, though this has yet to be confirmed.

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

Rumor: Apple Apparently Purchases All 10.1″ LCD, OLED Screens for Near Future

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 06:36
Category: Rumor

stone-10

With only 15 days remaining until Apple’s January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena in San Francisco and the tablet rumor’s a’flyin’, an asian component supplier has stated that Apple has puchased all 10.1″ multi-touch LCD and OLED display panels for the near future.

Per TG Daily, an anonymous designer has confirmed that the 10.1″ screen size is currently unavailable, as Apple has supposedly ordered so many screens that the parts cannot be purchased by anyone else.

“We were designing a product for a customer and we needed 10-inch screens,” the source allegedly said, “but we’ve been trying for months and can’t get one from any of the Asian suppliers.”

OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, deliver color pictures without the need for a backlight. They consume less energy and provide a superior picture. Such screens have been a popular choice for Apple competitors of late, with Microsoft using one for its Zune HD, and Google for its Nexus One smartphone.

Although the technology is superior, it’s also expensive. In November, one report suggested an OLED-based Apple tablet would cost between US$1,500 and US$1,700 to build based on current prices. It was then predicted an OLED tablet would cost about US$2,000.

However, the still-unannounced Apple tablet is widely expected to have a final price of less than US$1,000. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray believes Apple could sell 1.4 million devices at an average selling price of US$600.

In December, analyst Yair Reiner with Oppenheimer specifically disputed the claims of an OLED screen. He said checks within Apple’s supply chain have said the device will use a 10.1″ multi-touch display using LTPS LCD technology (the same technology as seen on the iPhone). Reiner then went on to state that he expects an average selling price of US$1,000.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and feel free, as always, to hurl your two cents in on this.

Rumor: Apple Could Launch Next-Gen iPhone in May, Not June/July

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 04:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

3gs.jpg

It came from the rumor mill, so it must be true.

Per iPhon.fr, a group of “mobile operators” are citing that Apple is planning to release its next-generation iPhone in May this year as opposed to the June/July release dates that have historically been used in the past.

While this is still a rumor, the article itself was penned by the magazine’s editor in chief, a move which places a fair amount of credibility on the line. Within the article, a source is cited as claiming the early release move would help compete against tech giant Google, which recently released its Nexus One handset.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you have to say.

Rumor: Apple Tablet to Feature Web Cam, 3G Access

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 11th, 2010, 06:09
Category: Rumor

stone-10

The nice thing about rumors and leaks: sometimes they’re true.

Per French web site Nowhereelse.fr, an executive with wireless operator France Telecom suggested in an interview Monday that Apple will soon release a tablet equipped with a Web cam, and Orange customers across Europe will be able to use the device.

Stephane Richard simply answered “oui” to a couple of questions Monday about a tablet with a Web cam. When asked if Orange customers will be able to use Apple’s tablet, he said, in French, “of course.”

Richard did not volunteer the information, but rather responded by saying yes to a series of tablet-related questions from journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach.

The transcription of the questions went as follows:

Elkabbach: According to weekly Le Point, in a couple of days Apple will be launching its tablet computer…
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: …equipped with a webcam.
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: Are Orange customers going to be able to enjoy it?
Richard: Of course!

Orange is primarily based in Europe and Africa. It is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the world, with more than 189 million customers.

Apple is expected to announce the long-awaited tablet device on January 27th at its media event at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco, California. Current speculation has the unit shipping in March.

USB 3.0 Demoed at CES, Initial Peripherals en Route

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 11th, 2010, 06:50
Category: News

usb3logo

Over at CES, Jeff Ravencroft, the president of the USB Implementers Forum discussed the arrival of USB 3.0 and gave a brief demonstration of transfer speeds on a Hewlett-Packard.

The demo proved one thing: USB 3.0 is much faster than the current USB 2.0 protocol, a nearby display showing the one minute four second time necessary to move a 2.1 GB file from a notebook to an external hard drive under USB 3.0 as opposed to two minutes and seven seconds under USB 2.0.

Per CNET, the USB 3.0 standard is more power efficient than USB 2.0 “This uses one-third of the power it would take on USB 2.0,” said Ravencraft, in an interview at CES. “And it’s backward compatible,” he said, meaning it can also handle peripherals that use older USB standards.

On the peripherals friend, hard drive maker Western Digital has announced a new WD My Book based on the USB 3.0 specification with an adapter card, which will make an existing desktop PC USB 3.0-compatible.

Also, cards that go into a laptop’s ExpressCard slot are available, Ravencraft said. This allows an existing laptop to be upgraded to 3.0.

No official word has been made available as to when USB 3.0 ports and peripherals will arrive on Apple’s products.

Greenpeace Cites Cleaner, Greener Apple in Recent Report, Still Points Out Company’s Flaws

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:27
Category: News

greenpeace_logo

The relationship between Apple and environmental group Greenpeace hasn’t exactly been the most charmed in recent years. Greenpeace’s actions have included creating a mock Apple website, had fig-leaf clad representatives visit the first Apple Store in continental Europe, and “greened” the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. Radical representatives of the group had been ejected from MacExpo London in 2006 for being disruptive, and Greenpeace had assigned Apple low scores in a 2006 e-waste report.

Per Jim “The Beard” Dalrymple over at LoopInsight, Apple was recently ranked #1 in the top 18 consumer electronics company in terms of reduction or elimination of hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of its products. Making amends, Apple was squeaky-clean across its product line, including desktop and laptop computers, phones, and monitors:

However, Greenpeace is still criticizing Apple to a certain degree. Overall, Apple was in the middle of the pack of companies in terms of overall “greenness.” The organization cited Apple for reducing the number of web pages dedicated to information about its supply chain and future plans for toxic chemical phase-outs.