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Mobile Technology News, April 19, 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.

  • Caine’s Arcade, Built of Cardboard and Tape, Brings Fast Fame
    An 11-minute film of an arcade created by Caine Monroy, a 9-year-old boy in Los Angeles, has become an Internet sensation.

  • PayPal Strength Helps eBay Exceed Forecasts
    The company posted higher revenue and net income because of a sustained turnaround of its Internet marketplace and the soaring popularity of the PayPal online payment system.

  • VIDEO: Beatboxer ‘collides’ with computers
    Coders who use the SuperCollider music programming language have descended on London for a festival that celebrates the tool’s creative powers.
  • Will ultrabooks, Windows 8 finally spur PC growth?
    Newfangled PCs running on Microsoft’s next operating system may be the start of a new PC era.
  • Apple Driving iCloud Conversions with Free Copies of Snow Leopard for MobileMe Users
    As noted by Macgasm, Apple has begun notifying at least some MobileMe users of a new upgrade program offering a free copy of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. The offer is being made to provide users of machines running older versions of Mac OS X with a reduced-cost pathway to upgrade to OS X Lion, which is required to take full advantage of the features of iCloud.

    With OS X Lion being distributed via the Mac App Store, users need to have Mac OS X Snow Leopard installed on their systems in order to access the store. Consequently, users still on Mac OS X Leopard or earlier would have to pay $29 to upgrade to Snow Leopard via disc and then an additional $29.99 to upgrade to Lion via the Mac App Store in the absence of the new upgrade program. With MobileMe set to be discontinued in favor of iCloud as of June 30, Apple is clearly seeking to encourage MobileMe users to move their accounts to iCloud.

    In an article sent to MobileMe customers, Apple has recommended that potential customers get in touch with Apple to receive a free DVD of Snow Leopard so that users can upgrade to Lion, and move to iCloud. All you have to do is follow this link, log in to MobileMe with your Mobile Me account, and fill out your mailing information. Apple will then send you a Snow Leopard DVD for free.

    Mac OS X Snow Leopard remains available in the Apple online store for $29, suggesting that the offer is a targeted program intended for MobileMe members who need to upgrade their systems in order to move to iCloud rather than a general price cut for all purchasers of Snow Leopard.

  • Noticed: Ready for My Video Chat Close-Up
    Some people opt for cosmetic surgery to make themselves look better on Skype or FaceTime.

  • DealBook: Talks With Instagram Suggest a $104 Billion Valuation for Facebook
    The negotiations to buy the photo sharing service could offer insight into Facebook’s highly anticipated initial public offering.

  • Microsoft’s Windows Store goes global with 33 more countries
    In a continued push to include apps from more countries in the Windows 8 store, the tech giant is reaching out to developers across the world.
  • Mini sticky credit card unveiled
    The latest salvo in the battle to launch a digital wallet is unveiled – with a mini, stick-on credit card.
  • Apple Wants Trial in iBooks Antitrust Case [Mac Blog]
    An Apple lawyer has said it wants a trial to defend itself in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing of e-books. Apple’s attorney said the company “would like the case to be decided on the merits”.

    Apple Inc wants to go to trial to defend itself against U.S. government allegations that it conspired with publishers to raise prices of electronic books, a lawyer for the Silicon Valley giant said in court on Wednesday.

    Two publishers took a similar stance in the first hearing in Manhattan federal court since the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice last week accused Apple and five publishers of colluding to break up Amazon.com’s low-cost dominance of the digital book market.

    The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for June 22. Apple has previously come out strongly against the lawsuit, with a spokesperson saying the accusations against the company were “simply not true.”

  • Apple Working on Local Backup Servers for iOS Devices Needing Genius Bar Replacement?
    9to5Mac reports that Apple is working on a new hardware solution for its retail store Genius Bars that would allow staff to quickly back up devices requiring replacement and move that data back onto the the replacement devices. While users are always encouraged to back up their devices before bringing them to a Genius Bar appointment, users who fail to do so and then learn that their devices require replacement can lose valuable data.

    According to the report, the systems would essentially be a local wireless backup system capable of quickly obtaining an iCloud backup from a device and temporarily storing it while the device is swapped out for the user. Once the replacement device is powered on and activated if necessary, Genius Bar staff would be able to quickly pull that data onto the new device to provide the user with a fully-updated and functional replacement device.

    A user brings in their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to the Genius Bar to be swapped for a fully working unit. The person didn’t back up their device. Now, instead of having to conduct an iCloud wireless backup or go home for a tethered iTunes backup, the Genius Bar will have the ability to mirror an iCloud backup, but onto a local store server. After the device is swapped, the Genius can pull the content right back from the server onto the new device. The content is then automatically wiped from the store server.

    While users could presumably use their existing iCloud accounts and Apple’s in-store Wi-Fi access to accomplish similar backups in the event that device replacement is needed, the local systems are said to operate more efficiently and can assist users who have not signed up for iCloud accounts.

    The report’s source indicates that the project is still in the early prototyping phase and may not ever be released, but if Apple does decide to bring it into the field it may begin appearing in retail stores in mid-2013.

  • eBay sees quarterly profits rise
    Online retailer and auction site eBay reports an increase in sales and profit for the first quarter of the year.
  • Extended iCloud Mail Outage Generating User Complaints [Mac Blog]
    MacRumors has received a number of reports today from users who have been unable to access their iCloud mail accounts, and a growing thread in Apple’s discussion forums is documenting the growing complaints.

    According to user reports, iCloud mail went down around 9:30 AM Eastern Time this morning, and it remains out some seven hours later. Apple updated its iCloud System Status page at 10:08 AM Eastern Time to note that Mail and Notes were down for some users, but pegged the issue as affecting less than 1% of users.

    iCloud services do go down from time to time, although the downtime is usually fairly brief, as evidenced by a short half-hour outage just yesterday. And while Apple’s status update indicates that only a small number of users are being affected by this latest outage, for those who are unable to access their mail the extended seven-hour downtime may be a significant inconvenience.

    Apple has provided no estimate of when affected users can expect iCloud mail services to return, noting only that they “will be restored ASAP”.

  • Larry Page practices the art of evasion in court
    Google’s CEO maintained that he was not familiar with senior Android engineer Tim Lindholm, and simply knew of him. Of course, that could depend on what “familiar” and “knew of him” mean.
  • Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3
    Just over a month after the arrival of the previous build, Apple today seeded registered members of the Mac Developer Program with the third developer preview version of OS X Mountain Lion.

    The new version arrives as Build 12A178q, up from the earlier 12A154q version. Changes included in the new version have yet to be discovered, but those with access to the build will undoubtedly be searching for Apple’s latest tweaks as the company continues to work on the next-generation operating system.

    Apple does list a number of known issues with the current build:

    – On systems with FileVault enabled, canceling the restart to the Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 Installer may leave your system unable to present a password dialog at boot time. You can repair the problem by holding down command-R to boot to the Recovery OS and then using Disk Utility to unlock and Repair your volume.

    – Installing OS X 10.8 over 10.7.2 or earlier with FileVault turned on may fail

    – Pre-Lion FileVault user accounts are not supported in this Developer Preview

    – Some Apple menu items such as Restart may not work when a sandboxed app is in the foreground

    – iTunes no longer syncs Notes

    – Mail’s photo browser cannot access the iPhoto library

    – Back to My Mac doesn’t work for the first 5 minutes after rebooting

    – DVD Player may not launch after inserting a DVD on some systems

    – Most help topics are unavailable in this Developer Preview

    – In the Recovery HD:

         – Some icons may be missing

         – Network Utility’s Lookup pane does not work

         – Time Machine restoration via a AFP share does not work

         – Restoring from a Time Machine backup via AFP does not work

    – Migration from a Time Machine backup that excludes paths such as /System may yield an unusable system

    – Brightness settings may change unexpectedly after reboot

    – Display brightness may be dim after sleep or reboot

    – If Mail is hidden at logout time, it may not be correctly relaunched during a subsequent login but will appear to be running

    – Java applets may not work in Safari

    – QuickTime screen recordings may produce corrupted videos or cause an exception when run on machines with NVDIA graphics

    Apple also appears to be continuing to put a fair amount of effort into getting Game Center up and running on OS X with the new build.

    OS X Mountain Lion is Apple’s next major operating system version and is scheduled for release in “late summer”. The release will offer greater integration with iCloud, as well as a number of new feature including some drawn from iOS.

  • US publisher demands piracy trial
    John Wiley & Sons, publisher of the “For Dummies” guide books, demands the trial of four suspected file-sharers.
  • Advertising: Marketers Find a Friend in Pinterest
    Organizations like the Gilt Groupe, L. L. Bean and the National Pork Board have flocked to the site to spread their messages.

  • How Oracle makes sense of Java
    The company’s chief architects for Java explain the value of the language and its related APIs after the acquisition from Sun.
  • Chrome now prints to FedEx
    Google unveils a new partnership with FedEx Office locations, while introducing support for Canon printers and a helpful Chrome for Android tweak.
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