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Mobile Technology News, May 15, 2012

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • In Pictures: UK top engineering award
    Three finalists fight for UK’s top engineering award: a multinational car firm, a small flood consultancy and a high-tech camera manufacturer
  • Twitter vows to ‘protect’ users
    As it marks its first year operating in the UK, Twitter tells the BBC it is to work more closely with government and other policymakers.
  • ‘Bones’ Finale: All The Evidence Points To Brennan
    It’s a good thing "Bones" (Mon., 8 p.m. ET on Fox) has already secured its same time slot on Fox’s Fall 2012 schedule. There is…
  • What kind of heat is the future 15-inch MacBook packing?
    What does Apple have planned for the new 15-inch MacBook? Oh, the possibilities.
  • Facebook Needs to Turn Data Trove Into Investor Gold
    As the company goes public, it has to figure out how to use its vault of information to enrich its shareholders.

  • Chairman of Best Buy, Richard Schulze, to Step Down
    The company’s audit committee said Richard Schulze, also the chain’s founder, failed to report an inappropriate relationship between the former chief executive and an employee.

  • Increase in Customer Base Helps Groupon Narrow Loss
    The company’s revenue surpassed Wall Street’s expectations and Groupon’s stock rose nearly 18 percent in after-hours trading.

  • Retina Displays Also Coming to Next-Generation iMac?
    As part of ABC Newsroundup of the latest MacBook Pro rumors, Joanna Stern claims that not only the MacBook Pro family but also the iMac line is set to gain ultra high-resolution “Retina” displays.

    The laptop will see the introduction of the “Mac Retina Display,” which is said to have a very high resolution. ABC News has similarly heard from its own sources that both the next MacBook Pro and the iMac would be getting very, very high resolution displays. Apple refreshed its new iPad with a Retina Display in March.

    The MacBook Pro has long been the focus of the Retina or HiDPI display rumors, but it seems natural that Apple would want to move all of its displays to the standard. What is unclear, however, is just how Apple will implement the increased resolution given that most Macs already approach Retina resolution at typical viewing distances.

    Many have assumed that Apple will follow the model used in the iPhone and iPad, doubling the resolution in each dimension with a screen carrying four times the pixels of its predecessor. That specific suggestion has already been made in regards to a rumored 15-inch MacBook Pro with 2880×1800 display compared to the 1440×900 display in the current model.

    But as screen sizes get even larger, quadrupling the number of pixels starts to bump up against the hardware capabilities of graphics chips and display interface standards. While a 17-inch MacBook Pro coming in at a Retina resolution of 3840×2400 might be possible, the more significant issues surface with the iMac, which is also gaining higher-resolution displays according to today’s report.

    The 21.5-inch iMac would see a pixel count in the range of the 17-inch MacBook Pro as its 1920×1080 resolution would be bumped to 3840×2160, but the 27-inch iMac would move from its current resolution of 2560×1440 to a monster Retina display at 5120×2880. The same panel could also be used in a revised Apple Thunderbolt Display should hardware be able to support the resolution.

    Consequently, some have suggested that Apple would increase display resolution on its Mac lines by a smaller amount than seen on iOS devices, with current variation in pixel density among Mac models already introducing some flexibility in interface element sizes. But with most Mac models offering pixel densities in the range of 100-130 pixels per inch (ppi), moving to a somewhat higher density such as 160-170 ppi to qualify as a Retina display still imposes some difficulties for developers and users.

    While user interface elements do vary in physical size depending on the machine they are displayed on, they are designed to be usable in the typical range of 100-130 ppi. Moving to something in the range of 160-170 ppi, for example, could result in user interface elements becoming too small for users to click on with ease unless applications are specifically updated with new elements designed for that pixel density range. Otherwise, elements could be scaled to approximate the physical size seen on lower-resolution displays, but this scaling would undoubtedly degrade image quality.

    David Barnard has argued that Apple could still use the pixel doubling motif on larger Mac displays without necessarily having to quadruple the number of actual pixels if users would be willing to accept a smaller workspace than seen on current machines. In one example, Barnard describes how rather than moving the current 2560×1440 27-inch iMac all the way to 5120×2880, Apple could instead offer a display at 3840×2400 that would present itself with a Retina workspace of 1920×1200.

    Apple could build a 3840 by 2400 pixel 27-inch screen that presented itself as a pixel doubled 1920 by 1200 pixel display. That’s effectively an 84ppi screen @1X and 168ppi screen @2X. […]

    What you should notice is that the text and UI elements are physically smaller on the current 109ppi iMac than they’d be on the hypothetical 84/168ppi 27-inch iMac. This may be frustrating to some users, but I actually prefer my old 94ppi 24-inch Cinema Display to any of Apple’s higher PPI displays. I like that the system default 12pt text is larger. The sacrifice is in the usable workspace, and that’s a matter of taste.

    So while Apple appears to face some challenges in bringing its Retina display concept to the Mac, the company seems to be committed to making the transition. It simply remains to be seen how the company will implement the move, hardware rumors and hints within OS X Lion and Mountain Lion are certainly pointing toward Retina Mac displays sooner rather than later.

  • AMD unveils Trinity processors
    AMD unveils its latest PC chip boasting more graphics power than Intel’s Ivy Bridge and new ‘energy recycling’ tech.
  • More Reports of NVIDIA Graphics Chips in Next-Generation MacBook Pro
    As long ago as last November, SemiAccurate claimed that Apple would be switching back to NVIDIA from AMD for the graphics chips in the next-generation MacBook Pro. With MacBook Pro rumors flooding out today, that claim is gathering renewed momentum from several sources.

    In its roundup of the latest MacBook Pro rumors, ABC News specifically claims that Apple will be using NVIDIA graphics chips in the new MacBook Pro reportedly set for introduction at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

    The new laptops are expected to be powered by Intel’s latest processors, called Ivy Bridge. Those processors will be faster than the current generation of Intel processors and improve graphics. However, the laptops will also get a graphics boost from Nvidia’s latest graphics, the GeForce GT 650M card. ABC News has heard the same from its sources, which say Apple will move from AMD to Nvidia graphics chips in this version of the MacBook Pro.

    The Verge offers similar claims, with the growing reports suggesting that the switch from AMD to NVIDIA may indeed be taking place.

    Apple’s updated MacBook Pro rumored to arrive this summer will feature Nvidia graphics alongside Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, a switch from the AMD GPUs in the current models. The news comes to us directly from a trusted source, and it’s further corroborated by Joanna Stern at ABC News, whose sources also tell her that the new machines will indeed feature high resolution Retina Displays.

    Apple has moved back and forth between NVIDIA and AMD several times over the years, taking advantage of whichever graphics chip firm is offering the better product with the right pricing and timing. Consequently, a shift to NVIDIA should not be taken as an indication that it is a long-term decision, although Apple has been rumored to be making a similar move for the Mac Pro.

  • Facebook Raises The Bar
    NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, May 14 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has raised the price range on its initial public offering to $34 to $38 a share…
  • Loss widens at ‘China’s Facebook’
    Renren, known as China’s Facebook, reports wider losses for the first three months of the year because of weak advertising revenues.
  • Robot can scent online activity
    A web-connected robot that emits a puff of perfume is helping people gauge how connected they are online.
  • 25 San Francisco Bars To Install ‘Creepy’ Facial Detection Cameras
    This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly’s The Snitch. By Erin Sherbert Last year, San Franciscans were pretty freaked out when they learned…
  • Evan Ross Katz: Xtra, Xtra: The Grindr Chronicles
    Hunky goodness is (really) great and all, but the problem for me became the heartbreak. "NSA" means "No Strings Attached," and not the Mila Portman/Ashton Timberlake film but the reality that this encounter will never happen again.
  • VIDEO: Philippines call centre success
    The Philippines has recently overtaken India as the country with the most call centre workers – and it is due in no small part to technology.
  • Megaupload Founder’s Wife: Return My Property
    What do a $157,000 Mercedes-Benz, a Chanel diamond watch and a Christian Colin sculpture have in common? According to the New Zealand Herald, they were…
  • VigiVU: an app to increase the efficiency of anesthesiologists in the OR
    The efficiency of anesthesiologists in the OR is always something that hospitals are looking into. In response to this need, researchers at Vanderbilt University recently reported the creation and successful implementation of a medical app that can be used to increase their situational awareness of patients. Their implementation of the app focused on its use by anesthesiologists, but the app could be replicated in concept to meet the needs of other health professionals
  • RxDrop app helps find a nearby prescription drug disposal center
    Highlighting a CDC Report, which states that prescription drug abuse results in one death every 19 minutes, the American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) has launched an app to encourage safe disposal of prescription drugs and thus lower this risk by removing unused prescription drugs from the home.
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