Mac 512K talks to Siri, requests directory listing and files [Video]

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

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The Mac 512K was the second Mac released by Apple, hitting store shelves all the way back in September, 1984 for the low low price of $2795. 29 years later, and some folks, believe it or not, still have working Mac 512Ks up and running.

Not only that, but one enterprising user decided to have his Mac 512K talk to Siri and, well, the result is pretty damn cool.

iPhone 5S will be NFC equipped and come with fingerprint authorization technology

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

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Rumors surrounding Apple’s next-gen iPhone are starting to crystallize, with the latest news coming courtesy of the China Times which reports that the iPhone 5S will come with NFC functionality along with a fingerprint authorization sensor under the home button.

The report claims that Apple has tapped the Taiwanese chip company Chipbond to help build the fingerprint sensors into its next-gen iPhone. The technology would presumably come from AuthenTec, a security firm specializing in fingerprint technology that Apple acquired last year for #365 million.

With NFC functionality in tow, users will be able to engage in commercial transactions linked up to their credit card accounts simply by swiping their device over a payment pad. And with fingerprint authorization, Apple will be able to add an extra layer of security over such transactions.

Rumors of an NFC-equipped iPhone have been around for years now. Not only has Apple patented quite a few NFC related technologies and functions, but it has also made a number of notable NFC hires as well.

Meanwhile, iPhone 5S production is already rumored to have begun with a product launch scheduled for sometime this Summer.

via Macotakara

 

Citing iPhone woes, Peter Misek lowers his price target on Apple shares to $420

Tue, Mar 12, 2013

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Apple just can’t catch a break from analysts these days. Earlier today, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek – you know, the same guy who erroneously predicted an Apple event featuring an Apple TV announcement – came out with a new research note wherein he downgraded Apple with a new price target of $420. That of course is below where shares of Apple are currently trading so Misek isn’t really enthusiastic about Apple’s future prospects.

The root of Misek’s pessimism is rooted in Apple’s rumored low cost iPhone. According to Misek, Apple is having problems with its new casing colors and is being forced to push back its iPhone family rollout from June to sometime between July and September.

What’s more, Misek’s checks inform him that Apple’s low-cost iPhone may not be as cheap to manufacture as first thought. Specifically, the low cost iPhone will sport a 4-inch Retina Display and will reportedly feature the same processor as the iPhone 5S, albeit with a cheaper construction.

Consequently, Misek slashed his current quarter estimate for iPhone sales from 37.5 million units down to 35 million units. He anticipates Apple will report revenue of $41 billion but qualifies that by stating that there’s a 25% chance Apple will even miss its own quarterly guidance.

Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display tops over 18 other notebooks in battery life tests

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

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Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display recently trounced 18 Windows 8 laptops and a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook in a series of tests meant to gauge which notebook sports the best battery life.

The test was conducted by Which?, and the results clearly indicates that when it comes to battery performance, Apple’s notebook simply can’t be beat.

laptop battery test

 

Apple’s MacBook Pro lasted an impressive 6 hours and 28 minutes while the runner up – an Acer Aspire ultrabook – checked in at 5 hours and 58 minutes.

The longest running Windows 8 laptop for web browsing is the Acer Aspire timeline Ultra M5-581T – a 15.6″ screen, 2.1kg ultrabook. It lasted almost six hours on battery – enough to get you to from London to Middlesbrough and back – and fell 30 minutes shy of the battery life of the 13″ Apple Macbook Pro Retina, but costs around £500 less.

Lastly, we know that Windows 7 isn’t the latest out of Redmond, but this particular testing result is so bad it’s worth noting. Running Windows 7, the Dell Inspiron 17R was only able to churn out 1 hour and 45 minutes of battery life while browsing the web.

via Which

2005 iPhone prototype looks more like an iPad

Mon, Mar 11, 2013

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iphone prototype ipad

 

Thanks to the Apple/Samsung trial, we’ve seen a plethora of iPhone prototypes. But earlier today Ars Technica got its hands on photos of an extremely early iPhone prototype. And by early, I mean that this bad boy looks more like an iPad than a phone.

The prototype above is 5×7 inches and comes equipped with a bunch of access ports; not necessarily because Apple was planning to ship an iPhone with an ethernet port, but rather because it made working on and testing the device much easier.

The photo – and others – came from a former Apple employee who worked on a variety of Apple hardware projects back in the early 2000s. The photo above purports to be of an iPhone prototype in 2005. Notably, development on the original iPhone – at least the software portion of the project – began in late November or December of 2005 according to court documents released in the Apple/Samsung trial.

As seen in the gallery above, this early prototype has a number of ports that we’re used to seeing more commonly on computers than on mobile devices, including USB ports, an Ethernet port, and even a serial port. Apple never intended for all of these to make it into the final product, of course—our source said that because this was a development prototype, ports like Ethernet and serial were included simply to make working on the device easier. Still, “at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be,” the source emphasized, highlighting the constantly changing nature of Apple’s development process.

Perhaps in a few years we’ll see prototype images of early iterations of an iWatch, or better yet, an Apple HDTV.

via Ars Technica

Apple’s low-cost iPhone to utilize Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip – Report

Fri, Mar 8, 2013

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With rumors of Apple’s plans to release a low cost iPhone this Summer swirling about, we now have a new report via the China Times which claims that Apple’s more economical iPhone will make use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip as opposed to one of Apple’s A-series processors.

The report claims that the Snapdragon’s ability to integrate both bluetooth and Wi-Fi onto the main chip will enable Apple to keep costs low and ideally protect their margins as much as possible.

What’s more, the report claims that Apple has tapped TSMC to manufacture the chips using their 28nm process. What’s notable here, aside from Apple foregoing using one of its in-house designed processors, is that it would mark the first time Apple would be utilizing a foundry other than Samsung to produce its processors. The report also claims that the low cost iPhone will be 3G only.

It’s worth mentioning that the above report regarding Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip is at odds with the typically spot-on Ming-Chi Kuo who wrote earlier this week that Apple’s lower cost iPhone will utilize Apple’s A6 processor.

Kuo also noted that the lower cost iPhone will be comprised of plastic and fiberglass and will come in 6 different colors.

China Times via Macotakara

Apple and Samsung may feature wireless charging in 2013 “flagship” smartphone models

Fri, Mar 8, 2013

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Wireless charging isn’t exactly knew – anyone out there remember the Palm Pre? But according to a recent report in Digitimes, both Samsung and Apple may be implementing wireless charging technology into their flagship smartphone models later in 2013.

While the report pegs Samsung as opting for Qi wireless charging technology for its upcoming Galaxy S IV, it points out that it won’t come with this capability right out of the box. Rather, users will be given the option to purchase a replacement back cover that will be able to access a charging pad.

As for Apple, shockingly, they may be going about things on their own.

Apple is likely to adopt the wireless charging technology developed internally, but it remains unknown if the next-generation iPhone will come with built-in wireless charging capability or with other attached accessories, said the sources.

Digitimes has a spotty track record when it comes to predicting features on upcoming Apple products, so certainly take this with a grain of salt. It’s also worth looking back at a Phil Schiller quote from a 2012 interview with All Things D where Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing explained why he wasn’t keen on wireless charging.

As for wireless charging, Schiller notes that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said.

“Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller said.

At the same time, it’s not as if Apple ever tips its hand and praises a new technology that it hasn’t yet implemented into its own products yet. Still, I’d be skeptical that wireless charging is on the way. The next iPhone, the iPhone 5S, will for the most part feature upgraded internals such as a superior camera. Aside from that, there are strong rumors that the next iPhone will come with a fingerprint authorization sensor. As for wireless charging? Color me skeptical

 

Analyst urges Apple to be more transparent with.. analysts

Fri, Mar 8, 2013

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Perhaps speaking to the power wielded by analysts, UBS tech analyst Steve Milunovich recently reiterated his “Buy” rating on Apple shares, while also mentioning that Apple may stand to learn something from IBM to the extent that Big Blue will meet with analysts and clue them in as to what’s coming down the pipeline.

IBM was one of the early vendors to deal with maturity and make a strength of it by consistently giving back up to 80% of its free cash flow to investors. Intel, Cisco, and more recently Dell and TI have made strong commitments to returning cash. We believe Apple needs to do the same and, from all signs, is likely to meaningfully boost cash return in the next few months, most likely through buybacks. Increased transparency the next step In 2005 IBM was telling the Street it could grow earnings double-digit, but the company was so complicated that analysts didn’t believe it. IBM’s earnings roadmap has been a great success in increasing understanding of the company. In its own way, Apple needs to be more transparent, perhaps beginning with an analyst meeting. Without pre-announcing products, management should be able to outline how it thinks, highlight strengths, and showcase management depth.

Apple continues to make money hand over fist, and yet their P/E ration is shockingly low. We’ve all seen how much influence un-sourced reports out of Asia can have, so maybe this isn’t such a bad idea after all. I know Apple doesn’t like to pander to short term AAPL observers, but with shares of Apple in the gutter and its earnings multiple under 10, it’s not the worst idea we’ve come across.

via Barrons

Steve Jobs used to call up Bob Iger and tell him that Disney movies “sucked”

Thu, Mar 7, 2013

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BusinessWeek has a in-depth piece up detailing the behind the scenes happenings that led to Disney purchasing Lucasfilm. The story is a must-read for any Star Wars fans out there, but there is an interesting nugget about Steve Jobs that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his antics.

While discussing Disney’s purchase of the Steve Jobs led Pixar, the article notes:

Iger accelerated that process by making acquisitions. The first was the $7.4 billion purchase of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006. Iger personally negotiated the deal with Steve Jobs, who was then Pixar’s CEO. As part of the deal, Iger kept the creative team, led by John Lasseter, in place and allowed them to continue to operate with a minimum of interference in their headquarters near San Francisco. “Steve and I spent more time negotiating the social issues than we did the economic issues,” Iger says. “He thought maintaining the culture of Pixar was a major ingredient of their creative success. He was right.”

The transaction gave Disney a new source of hit movies. Jobs also became a Disney board member and its largest shareholder. Periodically he would call Iger to say, “Hey, Bob, I saw the movie you just released last night, and it sucked,” Iger recalls. Nevertheless, the Disney CEO says that having Jobs as a friend and adviser was “additive rather than the other way around.”

Jobs’ efforts to maintain the creative integrity of Pixar under the Disney umbrella was well-documented in his biography. Indeed, maintaining a healthy corporate culture that fostered creativity was a common thread that ran through both Pixar and Apple. You might remember that Jobs, in his biography, noted that famed Apple designer Jony Ive was given free reign at Apple.

With Jobs, creativity and design always reigned supreme.

via BusinessWeek

How men will use Google Glasses

Thu, Mar 7, 2013

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Not too shabby! Google Glasses may very well feature cool technology, but it seems that Google, in their zeal and excitement for the project, haven’t thought of any of the practical concerns that might accompany the product’s release.

Here’s a hilarious spoof poking fun at some of those issues.

In rare tweet, Phil Schiller advises Android users to be careful of malware

Thu, Mar 7, 2013

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Phil Schiller doesn’t tweet often, but today the Apple executive decided to send out a tweet poking fun at the growing problem of malware on Google’s Android platform.

A few hours ago, he sent out a tweet that read, “Be safe out there:” along with a link to a recent security study conducted by F-Secure which details the growing threat malware poses to Android.

The summary of the report reads:

Android malware has been strengthening its position in the mobile threat scene. Every quarter, malware authors bring forth new threat families and variants to lure more victims and to update on the existing ones. In the fourth quarter alone, 96 new families and variants of Android threats were discovered, which almost doubles the number recorded in the previous quarter. A large portion of this number was contributed by PremiumSMS—a family of malware that generates profit through shady SMS-sending practices—which unleashed 21 new variants.

Check out the full scoop over here at Network World.

Apple looking to create music streaming service, wants to pay significantly less in royalties than Pandora

Thu, Mar 7, 2013

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Amid rumors that Apple is attempting to roll out its own music streaming service comes a report from the New York Post which claims that Apple is attempting to pay record labels even less money in  royalties than they currently receive from sites like Pandora.

Apple is reportedly offering about 6 cents per 100 songs streamed compared to the 12 cents per 100 songs streamed that Pandora currently pays.

While the labels would admit Apple’s music service could tap a whole new revenue stream for them, they are loath to say yes to the offer as the industry is fighting on Capitol Hill to prevent Pandora from lowering its current rate, sources added.

Music label insiders suggest Apple — which is sitting on a cash hoard of roughly $137 billion — ought to pay at least the rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board, or about 21 cents per 100 songs streamed.

That rate applies to companies that don’t own broadcast operations.

By comparison, terrestrial radio-backed online services — such as iHeart — pay about 22 cents per 100 songs streamed.

Interestingly enough, Spotify, everyone’s favorite subscription based music service pays record labels 35 cents per 100 songs streamed.

So why does Apple want to get into the music streaming business? Well to be blunt, music streaming is huge. Not only does 50% of Apple’s iTunes revenue come from purchases on mobile devices, note that Pandora is a hugely popular application and it would make sense for Apple to want a piece of that pie.

But the music labels aren’t as willing to get into bed with Apple as they once were. The music industry is thriving and Apple’s negotiating position isn’t as strong as it once was as a result. Consequently, the music labels aren’t opposed to a streaming music service from Apple but want upfront payments in addition to a percentage advertising revenue.

via NY Post

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