Nerval's Lobster writes "As noted by CNET, Apple hasn't released data on the number of iPhone 5C units it presold in the device's first 24 hours of availability—a first for the iPhone since 2009. Why is that? Reporter Josh Lowensohn speculates that iPhone 5C sales 'may not be as impressive when stacked up against tallies from previous years,' with one outside analyst suggesting that Apple racked up 1 million iPhone 5C preorders last Friday, or roughly half the 2 million presales scored by the iPhone 5 on its first day of ordering availability last year. However well the iPhone 5C ends up performing on the open market, Apple's decision to launch two iPhones this year—rather than a single 'hero' device—could result in self-cannibalism, as users who would've bought the iPhone 5S instead gravitate toward the cheaper option. Cannibalism is a topic that Apple knows well, as it's been dealing with the iPhone cannibalizing the iPod for the past several years; but a new iPhone eating away at another new iPhone is fresh territory for the company. During earnings calls, Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to argue that cannibalization—whether iPhones feeding off the iPod, or the iPad taking the place of MacBooks—is a good thing, so long as it's Apple products eating other Apple products. But it's far more questionable whether he would welcome the iPhone 5C—almost certainly a low-margin device, despite its current-generation components and plastic body—taking a bite out of the more expensive, and presumably higher-margin iPhone 5S. Margin erosion remains a prime concern of investors and Apple watchers; anything that contributes to that erosion is bound to be viewed unfavorably."
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dryriver writes "Translated from Der Spiegel: Hamburg Data-Protection Specialist Johannes Caspar warns against using iPhone 5S's new Fingerprint ID function. 'The biometric features of your body, like your fingerprints, cannot be erased or deleted. They stay with you until the end of your life and stay constant — they cannot be changed. One should thus avoid using biometric ID technologies for non-vital or casual everyday uses like turning on a smartphone. This is especially true if a biometric ID, like your fingerprint, is stored in a data file on the electronic device you are using.' Caspar finds Apple's argument that 'your fingerprint is only stored on the iPhone, never transmitted over the network' weak and misleading. 'The average iPhone user is not capable of checking, on a technical level, what happens to his or her fingerprint once it is on the iPhone. He or she cannot tell with any certainty or ease what kind of private data applications downloaded onto the iPhone can or cannot access. The recent disclosure of spying programs like Prism makes it riskier than ever before to share important personal data with electronic devices.' Caspar adds: 'As a matter of principle, one should never hand over any biometric data when it isn't strictly needed. Handing over a non-changeable biometric feature like a fingerprint for no better reason than that it provides 'some convenience' in everyday use, is ill advised and foolish. One must always be extremely cautious where and for what reasons one hands over biometric features.'"
cagraham writes "Pandora has been the standard for internet radio since it launched in 2000, and just announced the appointment of new CEO Brian McAndrews. They claim they're not worried about Apple, but iTunes' massive user base (575 million), content deals, and cheaper pricing options should give them legitimate reason for concern. Can Pandora survive iTunes Radio? Do a-la-carte options like Spotify make any internet radio service irrelevant?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says it's not just because Apple likes bragging about being first and because a 64-bit processor sounds cooler than 32-bits that Apple used the 64-bit A7 chip in the new iPhone 5s. A shift from a 32-bit processor to a 64-bit part paves the way for iPhones to be fitted out with 4GB+ of RAM down the line, but more importantly the move brings iOS and OS X apps much closer. The architecture for 64-bit apps on iOS will be almost identical to the architecture for OS X apps, making it easy to create a common code base that runs in both operating systems. 'Apple has slowly been bringing iOS-like features to Mac OS for years now: think of Launchpad and Gatekeeper,' writes Sascha Segan. 'The ultimate prize, of course, would be to bring the million-plus iOS apps to Macs. Apple could do that with an ARM-compatible virtual machine on Mac hardware, but it would want the VM, the OS and the associated apps to play nicely in the much larger memory space available on Macs. That means moving the whole system over to 64 bit.' By unifying iOS and Mac OS with Xcode developer tools in a 64-bit space, Apple could once again leap ahead of Microsoft and Google, says Segan. Microsoft hasn't yet been able to leverage its desktop strengths to achieve success as a mobile OS. The 64-bit chips for Android devices aren't ready, and neither is Android itself."
Ron Miller (not a relative) wrote a piece titled Apple has a lot in common with The Rolling Stones, based on the song It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It). In the article, Ron writes: "Much like the Rolling Stones, Apple has to get up on stage again and again and figure out a way to blow the audience away – and it’s not always easy." In fact, Apple's latest iPhone announcement seems to have been greeted with a massive "ho hum" instead of the frenzied interest some of their earlier product announcements have created. In today's video, Ron tells us why he thinks this is, and ruminates briefly about the future of Apple and what kinds of products might help people get excited about Apple again.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's iPhone 5S features a fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button. Of course, fingerprint-scanning technology isn't new: Bloomberg Terminals feature a built-in fingerprint reader to authenticate users, for example, and various manufacturers have experimented with laptops and smartphones that require a thumb to login. But the technology has thus far failed to become ubiquitous in the consumer realm, and it remains to be seen whether the new iPhone — which is all but guaranteed to sell millions of units — can popularize something that consumers don't seem to want. Security experts seem to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude with regard to Apple's newest trick. 'I'd caution right away, let's see how it tests and what people come up with to break it,' Brent Kennedy, an analyst with the U.S. Computer Emergency and Readiness Team, told Forbes. 'I wouldn't rely on it solely, just as I wouldn't with any new technology right off the bat.' And over at Wired, technologist Bruce Schneier is suggesting that biometric authentication could be hacked like anything else. 'I'm sure that someone with a good enough copy of your fingerprint and some rudimentary materials engineering capability — or maybe just a good enough printer — can authenticate his way into your iPhone,' he wrote. 'But, honestly, if some bad guy has your iPhone and your fingerprint, you've probably got bigger problems to worry about.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple unveiled the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S today, which will replace the company's current iPhone 5. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives took to a stage in California to introduce both devices. The cheaper iPhone 5C features a plastic casing available in a variety of colors (green, blue, reddish-pink, yellow, white); Apple seems to have done its best to make the device look high quality, with the backing and sides molded of a single piece of plastic; on the hardware side of things, the iPhone 5C comes with a 4-inch Retina display, A6 processor, and 8-megapixel camera. The other new Apple design, the iPhone 5S, is the company's next-generation 'hero' device. While the iPhone 5 was a radical new design, the 5S is an iterative upgrade; on the outside, it looks pretty much the same as its predecessor (the new iPhone features a new color, gold, in addition to the 'traditional' black or white aluminum body). The iPhone 5S has an A7 chip built on 64-bit architecture (capable of running 32-bit and 64-bit apps), which is pretty speedy, to put it mildly. There's also the M7 'motion co-processor' which boosts the actions of the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope—in theory, opening the door to more refined motion-related apps, such as ones devoted to exercise." The iPhone 5S also has a sensor built into the home button that will allow you to unlock the device with your fingerprint. Both new phone will be available for purchase on Friday, Sept. 20th. Apple announced that iOS 7 will be rolling out on Wednesday, Sept. 18th.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The iPhone 5S line has already begun, despite Apple not even having made its announcement yet. From the looks of the invite to the unveiling in San Francisco on Sept. 10 (and another event the following day in Beijing, where iPhones are all the rage), the company will not only be announcing a next generation iPhone, the 5S, but also the lower-priced 5C model, in a variety of cheaper-looking colors."
An anonymous reader writes "Last night's episode of Breaking Bad was one of the most intense in series history, but for those who haven't seen it yet, don't worry, I won't be putting out any spoilers. You see, today's Breaking Bad news has nothing to do with Walter White's slow transformation into Scarface, but rather with a legal suit filed against Apple by a Breaking Bad fan. In a lawsuit that many saw coming, an Ohio man named Noam Lazebnik recently filed a class action suit against Apple upon finding out that the $22.99 he forked over for a 'Season Pass' of Breaking Bad was only good for the first 8 episodes of the show's final season."
Dave Girard has written a lengthy description of how to design the best possible operating system for creative pursuits (video editing, photo manipulation, and sound editing, in particular) — at least the the best possible one he can imagine by selecting from the best tools and behaviors that he finds in Mac OS X, Windows, and (mostly Ubuntu) Linux. He makes a compelling case for the OS (or at least a GUI on top of it) having baked-in support for a wide range of image formats and codecs, and makes some pointed jabs along the way at what each of these three big players do wrong.
An anonymous reader writes with a report from Spiegel Online that the U.S. government "has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, [and] devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure. The United States' National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. ... The documents state that it is possible for the NSA to tap most sensitive data held on these smart phones, including contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been." As a bonus, the same reader points out a Washington Post report according to which "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases ... In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
theodp writes "Throwing some cold water on the buzz surrounding the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch launch, The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan questions how smart a watch can really be. Calling offerings like the Galaxy Gear useful but not the stuff of dreams and revolutions, Buchanan writes, 'So there remains a strange undercurrent of hope that somebody-Apple-will figure out, soon, some grander vision for wearable technology, transforming it from something that people have vaguely imagined into something people intensely desire. It did it for smartphones, once, and again, for tablets. The question that Apple has been charged with, since nobody has definitively answered it yet, is whether the lack of an invention that truly carries us beyond the last five hundred years of wrist-mounted technology is the result of a failure of imagination or simply a fact of nature-that a watch will always just be a watch, no matter how smart it might think it is.' So, will you be an early adopter and drink Samsung's or Sony's smartwatch Kool-Aid, wait to see what Apple comes up with, or hold out for a Windows Forearm Pad 8?"
Calibax writes "Parallels recently released version 9 of Parallels Desktop, their popular hypervisor application for Mac. They also released a new product named Parallels Access that offers access to Windows applications from an iPad for $80 per year. Access has received less than stellar reviews. When a user upgrades Parallels Desktop, he is asked if he wants a free six-month subscription to Parallels Access. Even if he says no, the product is installed on his system and the application is started each time the system is rebooted. It is installed with ancillary files scattered around several directories in the system and Parallels has not supplied an uninstaller or listed the steps to fully uninstall the application, despite a number of requests. In other words, Parallels has decided it's a good idea to silently install a difficult to remove daemon application on the system, even if the user has explicitly stated they do not want it. They have not provided an uninstaller or a list of files installed or instructions on how to remove the application files. These are scattered to at least four Mac OS X OS system level directories."
itwbennett writes "The federal judge presiding over the U.S. electronic books case against Apple has barred the company from striking deals that would ensure that it could undercut prices of other retailers in the e-book market and also prohibited Apple from letting any one publisher know what deals the company is striking up with other publishers. For its part, Apple said it plans to appeal the ruling (PDF), denying that it conspired to fix ebook pricing. Meanwhile, Amazon is alerting customers of their potential payout, which could be as much as $3.82 for every eligible Kindle book."
An anonymous reader writes "The former chief designer of Nokia explains how the company's success and its corporate culture stopped it from taking risks and left it open to being beaten by Apple. He now sees the same warning signs emerging at Apple. Quoting: 'I look back and I think Nokia was just a very big company that started to maintain its position more than innovate for new opportunities. All of the opportunities were in front of them and Nokia was working on them, but the key word is a sense of urgency. While things were in play there was a real sense of saying "we will get to that eventually."' He worries Apple is now in a similar place: 'Nokia became more of a maintainer, more of an iterator, whereas innovation only comes in re-invention and Nokia waited too long to make the next big bold move ... that is now Apple’s challenge. Apple has arrived at a very safe place, it is responsible for something everybody loves, so it feels it has to keep it going.'" Oddly enough, this comes alongside news that a different former insider, Thomas Zilliacus (who was Nokia’s former Asia-Pacific CEO), has founded a company called "Newkia" in the wake of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia. His goal is to take on former Nokia engineers and set them to building phones again — this time, running Android.
wabrandsma writes, quoting Apple Insider "The technology, detailed in a patent awarded to Apple on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, deals with so-called 'access inputs' that determine what apps, device services, and functions can be accessed by a user. Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,528,072 for a 'Method, apparatus and system for access mode control of a device,' describes a system that creates user access modes guarded by predetermined gesture inputs." Reading the patent, it appears Apple managed to patent allowing access to some programs without a passcode from the lock screen of a device while protecting others, so e.g. you can quickly swipe to make a phone call or control your music, but have to enter a code to read your email or access your word processor documents.
ciaran_o_riordan writes "A rare glimpse at the human harm of a software patent lawsuit: company receives 500,000 calls complaining about video quality after a video call system was forced to change to avoid a patent. That's a lot of people having a bad day. We don't usually hear these details because the court documents get ordered sealed and the lawyers only say what the companys' communication strategists allow. However, for VirnetX v. Apple, Jeff Lease decided to go the hearings, take notes, and give them to a journalist. While most coverage is focussing on the fines involved, doubling or halving Apple's fine would have a much smaller impact on your day than the removal of a feature from some software you like. Instead of letting the software patents debate be reduced to calls for sympathy for big companies getting fined, what other evidence is out there, like this story, for harm caused directly to software users?"
Em Adespoton writes "Before the VirnetX case, nearly all FaceTime calls were done through a system of direct communication. Essentially, Apple would verify that both parties had valid FaceTime accounts and then allow their two devices to speak directly to each other over the Internet, without any intermediary or 'relay' servers. However, a small number of calls—5 to 10 percent, according to an Apple engineer who testified at trial—were routed through 'relay servers.' At the August 15 hearing, a VirnetX lawyer stated that Apple had logged 'over half a million calls' complaining about the quality of FaceTime [since disabling direct connections]."
An anonymous reader writes "Today Apple announced the launch of a trade-in program for iPhones. Users will be able to send in their older devices and get credit toward new ones. The announcement precedes an event on Sept. 10th at which Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone model. The trade-in program is being managed by a company named Brightstar, with whom trade-in value maxes out at $336 for a 16GB iPhone 5. The 16GB iPhone 4S, 4, and 3GS max out at $221, $151, and $52, respectively. (The value drops depending on the device's condition, of course.) 'With its new program, Apple steps into a crowded field of competing programs offered by companies such as Gazelle, Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon and others, all of whom accept older iPhones for money. The broader market for used smartphones has been estimated to bring in as much as $5 billion in sales by 2015. With Apple participating as well, more smartphone users may opt for the trade-in option, and could potentially send that estimate even higher. Running its own program would give Apple a way to drive more iPhone sales within its own stores rather than seeing sales from carrier partners, and drive more traffic through its retail stores as well.'"
The launch of the new SimCity back in March made headlines for the problems caused by the game's always-online DRM. EA Maxis even decided that people who bought the game early deserved a free game for their trouble. They also decided to postpone the launch of the Mac version of the game. Well, the delay is over; SimCity has arrived for Macs, and players are now facing a whole new set of installation and launch problems. "Those issues include a 'mutexAlert' error, which can be resolved by switching the OS to English. Another simply doesn't allow a player to install the game once downloaded. The suggested solution for that is to re-install Origin and opt in to the new Beta version. The game also apparently doesn't currently support Mac OS X 10.7.4 nor the upcoming 10.9 beta release." There are also reports that the game won't function on high-resolution display settings.