iOS 6 Maps chief Richard Williamson fired, Cue reportedly “racing” to apply fixes to app

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Date: Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, 09:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

Sometimes a few heads have to roll.

Per Bloomberg, Apple has reportedly fired the executive in charge of its widely ridiculed Maps application built in to the iOS 6 mobile operating system.

Richard Williamson, who oversaw Maps in iOS 6, was let go by Apple, according to “people familiar with the move.” Williamson was reportedly fired by Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president and the new man responsible for both iOS Maps and Siri following an executive shakeup last month.

As Cue looks to improve Maps in iOS, he is said to be seeking out advice from mapping technology experts outside of Apple. In addition, Cue is also said to be encouraging its partner TomTom to “fix landmark and navigation data it shares with Apple.”

“In removing Williamson, Cue wants to install a new leadership team for the group, one person said,” author Adam Satariano reported. “A replacement for Williamson wasn’t immediately known.”

In other news, executive Eddy Cue is reportedly “racing to turn around the troubled service,” according to a report published by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Cue also has a history with Jobs, and Wednesday’s report referred to him as a “close confidant” of the late CEO. For years he has overseen Apple’s iTunes and iCloud services, but his role expanded last month as part of an executive shakeup at the company.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini to retire next May

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Date: Monday, November 19th, 2012, 08:54
Category: News, Processors

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Come next May, someone new steps in as head of Intel.

The processor giant announced on Monday that president and CEO, Paul Otellini, has elected to retire as an officer and director of the company effective next May according to the Washington Post.

Otellini’s retirement caps a career of nearly 40 years of continuous service to Intel and its stockholders. His distinguished tenure includes eight years as CEO, during which he is credited with managing the company through challenging times and market transitions. In a statement Monday, Otellini said he plans to remain an advisor to the company’s management following his retirement.

“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the world’s greatest companies,” Otellini said. “After almost four decades with the company and eight years as CEO, it’s time to move on and transfer Intel’s helm to a new generation of leadership.”

Over the next six months, Otellini will work with Intel’s chairman Andy Bryant and senior management on a leadership transition that will include a CEO search conducted by the company’s board of directors. Intel says it plans the consider both internal and external candidates for the chip maker’s top seat.

In addition, Intel also announced Monday that the board has approved the promotion of three senior leaders to the position of executive vice president: Renee James, head of Intel’s software business; Brian Krzanich, chief operating officer and head of worldwide manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.

While presiding as CEO from the end of 2005 through the end of 2011, Otellini helped grow Intel’s annual revenue from $38.8 billion to $54 billion, and generated cash from operations in excess of $100 billion.

Shortly after assuming to leadership role at Intel, Otellini teamed with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to help shift the Mac away from PowerPC processors and towards Intel’s — a transition that helped fuel Apple’s resurgence in the PC market. He’s also credited with transforming Intle’s operations and the cost structure for long-term growth, as well as achieving breakthrough innovations like High-K/Metal gate, 3-D Tri-gate transistors, and dramatic improvement in energy efficiency of Intel processors.

Forstall ousting apparently met with “quiet jubilation” among Apple employees

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Date: Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, 07:50
Category: News

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Maybe Scott Forstall’s departure was a long time coming.

Per GigaOm, employees at Apple are said to be extremely satisfied with the ouster of iOS software chief Scott Forstall, who had apparently worn out his welcome at the company.

Sources familiar with the situation told GigaOm’s Om Malik that Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of “quiet jubilation,” particularly among those who worked in Apple’s engineering groups. One person quipped that a number of employees were going out for “celebratory drinks, even if there is a little bit of doubt about their roles in the future.”

Forstall’s departure from Apple was also said to be “fairly last minute.” A number of employees at Apple’s iOS and OS X teams only learned the news minutes before the press release was released to the public on Monday, and engineers were “caught off guard.”

Employees are also said to be excited about designer Jony Ive taking over the new human interface group, while many feel that Craig Federighi needs to prove himself in heading both the iOS and OS X teams.

While Forstall was said to be close with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, none of the remaining executives particularly cared for Forstall. Ive, in particular, was said to have had a “rocky relationship” with Forstall.

Earlier reports also revealed that one significant reason why Forstall is out at Apple is because of his apparent refusal to sign an apology letter for the quality of the new Apple Maps application in iOS 6. When the letter was issued to the public, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was the only signature included.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple assembles audio/video homage to Steve Jobs to celebrate former CEO’s passing

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Date: Friday, October 5th, 2012, 06:45
Category: News

If you have a chance, head on over to www.apple.com today.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has assembled its homage to co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away one year ago today as well as a letter from CEO Tim Cook.

Users who visit the web site are greeted with a blank white website that simply plays the video, which features black-and-white pictures of Jobs, along with audio clips from some of his greatest speeches and presentations.

The video concludes with the title “Remembering Steve,” and the dates marking his birth and death. After it concludes, navigation links to the remainder of the company’s website fade in to view, along with a note from Cook, Apple’s chief executive.

Cook’s full letter is included below:

A message from Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.

One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road. It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.

Tim

It was exactly one year ago, on Oct. 5, 2011, that Jobs passed away at the age of 56 after a long bout with cancer. He died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family.

Apple exploring wireless headphone technology for “active” users

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Date: Thursday, October 4th, 2012, 07:22
Category: Hardware, News, Patents

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The wireless headphones you’ve been dreaming of…they could be en route.

And if wireless headphones are the biggest concern in your life, that’s saying something.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday reveals Apple is investigating a unique set of headphones, designed to withstand the rigors of athletic activity by eliminating the need for cumbersome cords.

The invention, titled “Detachable wireless listening device,” describes headphones designed to free listeners from the burden of wires by leveraging wireless transmission technology, such as Bluetooth.

Apple notes that, while inexpensive and efficient, common wired headsets like earbuds are “susceptible to becoming entangled while the end user is participating in physical activity.” The situation can be “particularly nettlesome” since the cord is somewhat firmly affixed to the portable media player by a 3.5mm plug, which can be a potential hazard to both the device and its user.

To solve the ever-present trouble of wired connections, Apple suggests a type of hybrid system that can receive audio data through a cable as with traditional earbuds, but can also be detached from the device and operate wirelessly when needed.

The clever “listening device” is connected to the player by either a physical clip or detent, or a series of magnets. When attached, the headphones are able to use the cord as an RF antenna with data being processed by the host device, and a means of power for charging a set of built-in batteries. While connected, the headphones receive audio signals through the cable and are able to tap into the media player’s power supply if needed, thus saving precious energy for untethered use.

If the headphones becomes detached, either by the user or unintentionally, the host device seamlessly pauses the charging process, activates a wireless module and begins to send audio over Bluetooth of some other form of radio communication. The patent notes that stereo audio can be provided to the wireless headset by assigning each side, right and left, a unique wireless address.

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs famously said in 2005 that Bluetooth was simply not suitable for headphones because the bandwidth was too low for high quality sound reproduction, and people are loathe to charge both an iPod or iPhone as well as a peripheral.

That was arguably true seven years ago, however the advent of low-power Bluetooth 4.0 components, combined with Thursday’s unique hybrid headphone invention, could one day lead to the level of technology Jobs was waiting for.

The “listening device” patent was filed in March 2011 with Jorge S. Fino credited as its inventor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rare Steve Jobs speech from 1983 unearthed, complete with predictive technology comments and foreshadowing of future Apple technologies

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Date: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012, 07:51
Category: News

Ok, now this is REALLY interesting.

Per AppleInsider and the LifeLibertyTech.com blog, the full-length version of a “lost” Steve Jobs speech given at the Design Conference in Aspen was unearthed and posted to the web on Tuesday, illustrating some of the prescient insights the late Jobs offered as to how computers would one day be an overwhelming presence in our lives.

Perhaps the highlight of the newly-published recording is a question and answer session in which Jobs describes mobile computing, pointing out that he would like to one day build a computer in a slate-like form-factor, much like the iPad.

Points of interest from the audio as noted by LifeLibertyTech:
- He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars. It seems so obvious now, but hardly a given back then.

- He equates society’s level of technology familiarity to being on a “first date” with personal computers. He recognized that technology would continue to evolve in the near future as would people’s comfort level with it. In hindsight, once it became dominant the PC industry stood relatively still while Jobs was busy planning “the next big thing”.

- He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication. Again, this is before networking was commonplace or there was any inkling of the Internet going mainstream. Yet he specifically talks about early e-mail systems and how it is re-shaping communication. He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing.

- He discusses early networking and the mess of different protocols that existed at the time. He predicts that we were about 5 years away from “solving” networking in the office and 10-15 years from solving networking in the home.

- He says Apple’s strategy is to “put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes”. Does that sound like anything we are familiar with today? And they wanted to do it with a “radio link” so that people wouldn’t need to hook it up to anything to communicate with “larger databases” and other computers.

- Right at the end of the Q&A session, a question is asked about voice recognition, which he believed was the better part of a decade away from reality. Given the context of Siri today, it is interesting to hear him talk about the difficultly of recognizing language vs voice because language is contextually driven. He says, “This stuff is hard”.

The full audio file can be downloaded from here.

As always, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments and thanks for reading!

Picture: MacBook Pros galore helped Curiosity get to Mars

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Date: Monday, August 6th, 2012, 06:06
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Pictures

By the time I graduated from high school in 1996, I was one of two people in my school routinely carrying a notebook computer through the halls of Providence Country Day in East Providence, Rhode Island. I carried a PowerBook 150 and one of my best friends, Josh Ledgard, carried a white Toshiba notebook that he had named “Herbie”.

It was also around this time that Apple was at its lowest point, Steve Jobs had yet to officially return in any capacity and people wondered aloud if Apple would die and why I didn’t carry a Windows PC notebook?

A picture’s worth a thousand words, ladies and gentlemen, and via the extremely cool cats at 9to5 Mac, there’s the following killer picture of not just a few MacBook Pro notebooks helping to land Curiosity on Mars last night:



And yes, I know some of them may have booted Linux or Windows partitions at the time, so that joke still stands…

Happy Curiosity Day, guys!!!

Adobe to discontinue new Flash Player installs on August 15th

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Date: Friday, June 29th, 2012, 05:08
Category: News, Software

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Sometimes a Web technology just has to ride off into the sunset.

According to The Verge, Adobe’s mobile Flash days are now numbered, as the company has announced that it will no longer accept new Flash Player installations through the Google Play application store after August 15 and will not support the upcoming 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Android.

Following up on the announcement last November that it was discontinuing development of Flash for mobile browsers, Adobe published a blog post on Thursday detailing deprecated support for the player on Android.

“Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed,” the post read.

Adobe also said that there will not be any Flash-certified Android 4.1 devices. Though in the past unsupported devices were sometimes able to get Flash Player working, the company said that this is “no longer going to be the case” because it has not developed or tested the player for the upcoming version of Android and its browsers.

Android users who want to keep running Flash as legacy software will need to download and install Flash before the August 15th deadline. Adobe also recommends that they stay on Android 4.0, as Flash Player on 4.1 Jelly Bean could exhibit “unpredictable behavior.”

“We recommend uninstalling Flash Player on devices which have been upgraded to Android 4.1,” the company wrote.

Last year, an Adobe manager put part of the blame on Apple for the demise of mobile Flash. Mike Chambers acknowledged that the software would never reach “anywhere near the ubiquity” of its install base on desktops because Apple would not allow Flash Player in the iOS browser.

“No matter what we did, the Flash Player was not going to be available on Apple’s iOS anytime in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs set off an intense debate about the merits of Flash in 2010 with his open letter criticizing the format as outdated and needlessly proprietary.

Android makers decided early on to advertise Flash as a differentiating feature of their devices as compared to Apple’s own. The move ultimately backfired on companies like Motorola, as Flash support ended up being postponed due to technical issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple begins manufacturing first batch of HDTV units

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Date: Tuesday, May 29th, 2012, 06:20
Category: Apple TV, Hardware, Rumor

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Apple’s HDTV units might be en route relatively soon.

Per China Business News, Apple this month is reported to have begun production of the first prototypes of its much-anticipated connected television sets at one of its overseas manufacturing facilities ahead of a general production ramp expected to begin late in the 2012 calendar year.

The news, which was attributed to “informed sources”, was picked up and translated by the WantChinaTimes web site earlier on Monday.

In particular, the publication cited its sources as saying that this initial build plan is taking place in one of Foxconn’s Shenzhen plants as a trial production run, which typically produces a small number of assembly-line-quality prototypes for Apple to put through its design test verification stages. No further details were reported.

While Apple’s foray into the big-screen, connected TV business has been a popular topic of discussion amongst industry watchers for several years, few — if any — reliable details surrounding the project have surfaced outside of a claim by the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson that he had ‘cracked’ secret to a simple HDTV.

Jobs’s vision for a connected TV, disclosed vaguely to Isaacson prior to his passing last October, would see the device synced with all of a user’s devices, and with Apple’s iCloud service.

The simplified HDTV would reportedly spare users from having to use complex remotes for multiple devices like DVD players and cable boxes. More specifically, Isaacson wrote in the best-selling biography that Jobs “wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant.”

Earlier this month, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said his manufacturing firm was “making preparations” for an Apple television, but development or manufacturing had not yet begun. But days later, Gou issued a statement to reporters in which he backtracked on those claims, stating that “[a]ny reports that Foxconn confirmed that it is preparing to produce a specific product for any customer are not accurate.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recently published Apple patent shows interest in developing stylus for iOS devices

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Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 07:14
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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It never hurts to have different options for your user interface.

Per Engadget, an Apple patent application for an optical stylus has turned up on the United States Patent Trade Office website.

Although late Apple CEO Steve Jobs had derided the stylus as an input method for the iPhone and the iPad once famously saying that ‘If you need a stylus, you’ve already failed,’ Jobs was well known for throwing the opposition a curve ball from time to time speaking out against an idea, only to have been developing a concept behind the scenes. One example was when he said that consumers liked having a separate iPod while also carrying their phone, only to reveal the ultimate convergence device in the iPhone a couple of years later.

The Apple patent application describes a stylus that incorporates image capture along with an on-board image processor, while also capable of sensing pressure. It would include an accelerometer and an antenna to help relay the relative position of the stylus in relation to the device. Apple is also known to file patents for products, or technologies, that may never see the light of day. However, creative professionals, and other users would probably welcome an Apple stylus if it was released. The aftermarket stylus ecosystem the iPad and the iPhone, along with an interesting stylus project at Kickstarter and the forthcoming Adonit Jot Touch suggests that the demand is indeed there.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.