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.
- Review of the new iTunes 11 for Mac
The release of iTunes 11 marks a major upgrade for the media, entertainment and app store application from Apple. This update has been anticipated for weeks now as Apple delayed the release by a month and that users have complained about the archaic menus and navigation of iTunes for several years [...]
- Official Syrian Web Sites Hosted in U.S.
- Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Overhaul of Electronic Communications Privacy Act
- India to Revise Enforcement of Internet Law
- Microsoft Surface Pro is more ultrabook than tablet
The core silicon in the Microsoft Surface Pro is not unlike that of an ultrabook. So, think of it as a hybrid ultrabook more than a pure tablet play.
- Apple SVP of Technologies Bob Mansfield Cashes in Over $20 Million in Stock [Mac Blog]
Apple Senior Vice President of Technologies Bob Mansfield has decided to sell off a set of stock for over $20 million, according to a regulatory filing. Mansfield sold off 35,000 shares of his Apple stock at a price of $582.21 per share.
The move comes nine months after Mansfield sold 30,000 shares of stock for a gain of $12.5 million in early February, with Apple shares netting an average of $452.28 at the time. Since then, Mansfield has retired, taken an advisory role, and then recently un-retired to take charge of a new “Technologies” group in an executive reshuffling that saw iOS chief Scott Forstall ousted.
Mansfield’s stock sale does not mean that he is looking to exit his ownership in Apple, as he has regularly cashed in on stock options and is an active participant in Apple’s stock option and grant award programs for senior executives. Mansfield still has 29,548 shares of Apple stock and stands to gain an additional 150,000 shares in two equal portions June 2013 and March 2016. He also holds a restricted stock grant that could earn him another 100,000 shares in 2014. All of those shares, which would net him $145.5 million at current stock prices, would only be awarded to him if he remained with Apple.
Mansfield and other executives may also be looking to unload stock as 2012 draws to a close due to a scheduled increase in capital gains taxes for 2013. By selling stock now rather than holding it into 2013, sellers can reduce their tax burden, although fluctuations in the company’s stock price over time could more than compensate for the higher tax rate should Apple’s stock continue to rise.
- Apple Now Selling Unlocked GSM iPhones in the U.S.
Apple has begun selling unlocked GSM iPhone 5 models in the United States, some two months after it originally went on sale. This is similar to the delay that preceded sales of the unlocked iPhone 4S last year.
The launch follows the drop of the iPhone 5′s estimated shipping times to one week just a few days ago. The unlocked GSM models are available for $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64 GB models and also have an estimated ship time of one week. In the U.S., the unlocked models will work on both AT&T and T-Mobile.
The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment. You can activate and use iPhone on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States. The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It does not come with a micro-SIM card for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, or a nano-SIM card for iPhone 5, so you’ll need to get one from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.
- Apple and Starbucks Partner for (Product) Red Gift Cards
Just in time for the holidays, Apple and Starbucks have partnered up for a (Product) Red gift card combo. When you buy the $15 iTunes + $15 Starbucks gift card both companies together will contribute 5% to the Global Fund to help fund AIDS research.
Give a gift that gives back this holiday season with Starbucks iTunes (RED)™ eGift basket. You can send loved ones a thoughtful gift of two digital eGifts—$15 eGift to Starbucks and $15 eGift to iTunes—for $30. Plus, for every gift sold, Starbucks and iTunes will together contribute 5% of the purchase price to the Global Fund to help deliver an AIDS free generation by 2015. With the convenience of a Starbucks Card, Starbucks Card eGifts can be used for purchases in-store at participating company-owned and licensed stores in the U.S. and online. This unique and meaningful eGift basket can be purchased at www.starbucks.com/REDeGift.
Apple has long been a supporter of the (Product) Red campaign, selling red iPod nano models, iPad Smart Cases and Smart Covers. Most recently, Apple released a (Product) Red bumper for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. At an Apple town hall meeting in February, Tim Cook mentioned that Apple (Product) Red products have generated over $50 million to help fund AIDS research. The gift card combo can be purchased at this website.
- New Way To Track Tsunami Debris
A new smartphone app developed in Victoria will enable people to help track debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan as it gets within…
- Griffin Launching Official Lightning Connector Cables Next Week
Griffin today announced the upcoming release of Apple-certified Lightning charge and sync cables for the iPhone 5, 5th generation iPod touch, fourth generation iPad and iPad mini.
Though there have been several unofficial third party Lightning accessories, Griffin’s accessories will be the first official third-party standalone Lightning connector cables on the market when they launch next week.
Griffin’s new cables with Lightning Connector are affordable charging solutions that are built to resist kinks and tangles. The cables work perfectly with Griffin’s family of PowerBlocks and PowerJolts as well as Apple’s USB power adapters, or plug into a computer’s USB to sync with iTunes.
The company is offering several different cable configurations:
- 2’ straight USB-to-Lightning cable ($16.99)
- 3’ straight USB-to-Lightning cable ($18.99)
- 4’ coiled USB-to-Lightning cable ($24.99)
- 9.8’ (3 meter) straight USB-to-Lightning cable ($29.99)
Earlier this month, Belkin introduced two official Lightning accessories, including a car charger and the Charge + Sync Dock. Scosche has also announced car and home chargers, although its products have yet to begin shipping.
Apple has been maintaining strict control over its Lightning connectors, which has made it difficult for third party manufacturers to introduce new accessories.
Vendors that launch Lightning-related accessories must produce them in Apple-approved facilities. The Lightning connector also requires controller chips to take advantage of adaptive technology, which has delayed the release of third party Lightning accessories.
- Security Essentials fails latest AV-Test
Microsoft’s free antivirus suite did not pass the most recent efficacy test by AV-Test.org — the only one out of 24 suites tested to not earn certification.
- Microsoft Details Surface Pro Pricing Amidst Reports of Poor Sales of RT Version
Microsoft announced pricing information on its Surface Pro tablet this morning. The tablet will cost $899 for the 64GB version and $999 for the 128GB version. The Surface Pro comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000, 4GB of RAM, and a display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080.
Instead of running Windows RT like the standard version of the Surface released earlier this month, the Surface Pro tablet will run the full version of Windows 8. The tablet will ship with a Surface pen, but it does not include a Touch or Type Cover, each of which cost another $100. While the official announcement didn’t include information on the Surface Pro’s battery life, the spec list on Microsoft’s website lists a 42 watt-hour battery.
Engadget, however, discovered a tweet from a curious Twitter user revealing that the tablet will have a battery life half as long as the Surface RT. After asking for more information on the battery, the user received a reply directly from Microsoft’s official Twitter account:
@shahroom Hey Shahroom, #Surface pro will have approximately half the batter life of Surface RT. — Surface (@surface) November 29, 2012
The RT version of the Surface officially has an eight hour battery life with some testers finding slightly longer running times, implying that the Surface Pro will feature a battery life of roughly four-and-a-half hours, less than most laptops. This low battery life information comes at a time when Microsoft is seeing poor sales of the Surface RT. A report on Black Friday from Piper Jaffray revealed that the brick and mortar Microsoft stores experienced low Surface sales in comparison to iPad sales at the Apple Store.
There was 47% less foot traffic at the Microsoft (MSFT) outlet than the Apple (AAPL) store. Shoppers bought 17.2 items per hour at the Apple Store and only 3.5 items per hour at the Microsoft Store. All but two of the Microsoft purchases were X-Box games. Shoppers at the Apple Store bought an average of 11 iPads per hour. Despite heavy TV, print and billboard advertising for the new Microsoft Surface tablet, not one was sold sold during the two hours Piper Jaffray spent monitoring that store. Doesn’t bode well for Microsoft’s answer to the iPad.
A recent report from Digitimes also indicates that Microsoft has reduced its tablet orders and may consider lowering the price of the Surface RT.
The upstream supply chain of Microsoft’s Surface RT has recently seen the tablet’s orders reduced by half, and with other Windows RT-based tablet orders also seeing weak performance, sources from the upstream supply chain believe the new operating system may not perform as well as expected in the market. Microsoft originally expected to ship four million Surface RT devices by the end of 2012, but has recently reduced the orders by half to only two million units. The sources also noted that Microsoft may consider reducing its Surface Pro price to attract more consumers; however, such a decision may put the already awkward relationship between the software giant and notebook vendors in an even worse situation.
The Surface RT is currently available from Microsoft for $499 for the entry level 32GB tablet. There was no specific release date mentioned for the Surface Pro, but it is expected to be released in January 2013.
- Lydia Dobyns: Making It a Team Effort: Students Learn to Collaborate
Watching high school freshmen navigate a collaborative project for the first time is a delight, or should I say watching them cross the "finish line" is a source of pride for all involved. Think of it like teaching your child to ride a bike, only this is a tandem bike built for six.
- New mobile technology revolutionizes drug-resistant TB diagnosis
Veredus Laboratories has developed a diagnostic method that significantly decreases the time required to diagnose tuberculosis (TB).
- Brian Honigman: 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures From 2012
Here are 100 of the most fascinating social media statistics and figures from 2012 that can help you better understand Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus for the coming year.
- Bezos: Amazon Web Services is lean manufacturing for IT
At the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos explains how the company’s Web services business model — and a 10,000-year clock — embody innovation.
- Viewpoint: The robots are coming
Robotics are now a big part of our lives.
- Bendy phones ‘to appear in 2013′
The first wave of handsets with flexible screens
- Roundup of Changes in iTunes 11: ‘Expanded View’, No Cover Flow, ‘Up Next’ and More
iTunes 11 has finally arrived, nearly a month after it was originally promised because of the need to “get it right” according to Apple. The app promises a redesigned store, simplified layout, and more.
Aside from the tentpole changes, there are a number of other things — both promising and confusing — that have changed in iTunes 11. Here’s a selection:
- The default iTunes 11 view removes the sidebar that has been a staple of iTunes since it was first released. The Mac Observer tells us how to get it back. Head to the View menu and select Show Sidebar.
- iPods have come in a wide variety of capacities in their time, but one notable capacity has never graced the device. There has never been a 128GB iPod, though as Sonny Dickson points out, iTunes appears to be ready for such an eventuality. A 128GB iOS device has been consistently rumored over the years, but has yet to make an appearance.
- Users can now redeem store-purchased iTunes Gift Cards by using the camera built into most recent Macs (or Windows machines) to scan the redemption code. This should make redeeming cards quicker and reduce user frustration.
- It has a new icon, as seen above.
- The red/yellow/green buttons at the top left of the window again perform in the standard OS X manner. Previously, the green button would send the iTunes into its special MiniPlayer window. Now, a special icon in the top right corner, next to the full screen button, toggles minimization.
- John Gruber at Daring Fireball notes the new ‘Expanded View’ mode:
I think my favorite new design element is what Apple is calling “Expanded View”. In a graphical list of albums or movies or shows, you click one and it opens in a subview right there under the album/movie/show. Instead of going to a new view, you stay where you are. No way to get confused about where you are, more of a sense of direct manipulation. I think this is a brilliant design for everyone, particularly typical users. And there’s a neat trick: the colors for the song listing are chosen algorithmically based on the album or poster art. (Examples: here and here.) Very clever, very fun. It’s a digital approximation of going through real-world albums or DVD jewel boxes and opening them in place — with the custom color palettes, the listings feel like the “inside” of the albums.
- Gruber also noticed that the ‘Up Next’ menu displays differently on retina and standard displays. “On regular displays, the Up Next icon is a bullet list. But on retina displays, it’s a numbered list with minuscule numerals.“
- iTunes DJ, formerly called Party Shuffle, is gone. It’s been replaced by the clever ‘Up Next’.
- Cover Flow, a major feature when it was introduced, is gone. It’s been replaced by the ‘Expanded View’ mentioned above.
- There seems to be a bug with the AirPlay button. The button, which has been moved from the bottom right to the top left of the main window is missing for some users. Some have reported restoring the button by going to the MiniWindow and activating AirPlay there and it will then appear in the main window. Not all users are affected by the issue, however.
- Many users are reporting label issues within the iTunes and App Stores. As the stores are basically glorified web pages, these issues will likely be fixed server side while Apple gets the bugs shaken out.