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Mobile Technology News, April 6, 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.

  • To Fill Out Its App Store, Microsoft Wields Its Checkbook
    In an effort to challenge the dominance of Apple and Google, Microsoft has increased incentives for developers to create brand-name apps for its Windows Phone app store.

  • Apple Releases Second Update to Java in Two Days
    Apple has released its second update in two days to the OS X implementation of Java. The first update closed a vulnerability that has led to the infection of more than 600,000 Macs via a trojan horse. The infections have received increased media attention in the past day, including a splashed headline on the Drudge Report.

    While yesterday’s Java for OS X Lion 2012-001 update closed the vulnerability in Java 1.6.0_29, there’s no indication what the new update — called Java for OS X 2012-002 — fixes. The update notes link to the same support document as update 2012-001.

    Last year, Apple introduced a security update to OS X that would automatically remove malicious software from OS X installations. It isn’t clear if the infected machines can be fixed via the internal OS X security mechanisms.

    In OS X Mountain Lion, the next version of the OS X software that will be released this summer, Apple will include a feature called Gatekeeper. The new system relies not only on Mac App Store distribution as means of vetting apps, but also on a new “identified developer” program under which developers distributing their applications outside of the Mac App Store can register with Apple and receive a personalized certificate they can use to sign their applications. Apple can then use that system to track developers and disable their certificates if malicious activity is detected.

  • Chocolate printer to go on sale
    The UK scientists who developed a prototype chocolate printer last year say they have now perfected it – and plan to have the machine on sale at the end of April.
  • Review of MLB at Bat – The Ultimate Baseball Fan App
    One Strike.
    Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  As a die hard Texas Rangers fan, it was going to be the shining moment after 40 years of frustration for the franchise.  But like Chicago Cub fans, as I write this review, I’m reminded that there is always next year.  The Rangers, in their second […]
  • To succeed, ultrabooks need displays like the iPad, MacBook
    Hey, ultrabook makers, want to compete more effectively with the iPad and MacBook? Then use the same kind of high-quality displays.
  • Samsung expects profits to double
    Samsung Electronics says it expects profit for the first quarter to almost double as its smartphone sales continue to grow.
  • iPhone Life Magazine Comes to Newsstand
    One of the venerable publications for iOS users has now finally made it into Newsstand.  iPhone Life Magazine has been around for several years after transforming to being iOS focused after years as Pocket PC Magazine (that is when I started reading it regularly).  If you are not familiar with the […]
  • DealBook: Facebook Is Said to Pick Nasdaq for I.P.O.
    Facebook’s decision to list its shares on Nasdaq is a coup for the exchange, which has been embroiled in a fierce battle with the New York Stock Exchange for the company.

  • Bits: Pentagon Pushes Crowdsourced Manufacturing
    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is sponsoring research that uses crowdsourcing to drastically reduce the time it takes to design and manufacture military equipment.

  • Google remainders its independent e-book resales
    Google reps assert that the reseller program hasn’t met the needs of readers or booksellers.
  • Lack of Hardware Updates Leading to Lighter-Than-Expected Quarterly Mac Sales
    Previously-released data from NPD on U.S. Mac sales for January and February have demonstrated relatively anemic year-over-year growth, with January sales tracking only 1% above the previous January’s performance and February sales coming in 4% higher. Still, analysts have suggested that ongoing growth in international markets could compensate for stagnation in the U.S. market as consumers continue to wait for product updates. Consequently, analysts have generally been holding firm on their predictions of 15-20% Mac unit growth on a worldwide year-over-year basis for the full quarter.

    Some analysts had also held out hope that Apple could sneak in at least one update to its Mac lineup before the end of the quarter to provide a spark for Mac sales, but with the first group of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors not launching until the end of the month, Apple was unable to update its main Mac models within the first three months of the year.

    Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty is out with a new research note today incorporating NPD’s data on U.S. Mac sales for March, and as might be expected given the lack of hardware updates, Apple continues to fall short of analyst expectations, with Mac shipments down 4% year-over-year for the first calendar quarter.

    Huberty continues to believe that international growth will offset at least some of the flat performance in U.S. sales for the quarter, although she appears somewhat pessimistic that it will be able to reach her 15% growth target on a global basis. Nevertheless, Huberty seems optimistic that booming iPhone and iPad sales will make up for any shortfall on the Mac side due to the balance of profits among the segments.

    Although the US retail market improved in March, Apple shipment growth decelerated as the company faced much tougher Y/Y comparisons due to a notebook refresh this time last year. US retail data suggest Apple shipments fell 4% Y/Y in C1Q12 compared to our estimate of 15% global Mac unit growth. We expect faster international growth to offset some of the deceleration in the US. In fact, the divergence between international and US growth has accelerated from about four points in prior quarters to 15 points in C4Q11. More importantly, we expect demand upside from iPhone and iPad (83% of gross profit) to more than offset any Mac downside (9% of gross profit).

    On a broader basis, the PC market is seeing even more substantial declines in sales, with U.S. PC sales tracking for declines of 10-15% year-over-year for the quarter. That performance is, however, better than Huberty had been modeling for, and major PC manufacturers such as HP and Dell could see some upside if their final results fall in line with data released so far.

  • Google CEO defends privacy change
    Larry Page posts a letter to his firm’s social network a year after becoming chief executive promising improved search.
  • LaCie Hub Now Shipping, Connects eSATA Drives via Thunderbolt
    Announced at CES earlier this year, the LaCie’s new Thunderbolt eSATA Hub is now shipping. The device allows external eSATA drives to be connected to Thunderbolt equipped Macs. The daisy-chainable hub includes two eSATA ports and retails for $199.

    eSATA is a high performance drive connector used to connect external hard drives to your computer. eSATA has never been a standard option on Macs, but is a faster alternative to USB 2.0 and Firewire and is commonly found on high performance external drives and storage arrays.

    For those who are have existing eSATA drives or are waiting for Thunderbolt drives to drop in price, this could be a good interim solution. The Hub isn’t yet available for order on LaCie’s website. We spoke to someone at LaCie’s sales center who told us the first batch had sold out, but that more were to arrive in a few days. Interested parties can contact LaCie sales directly to place an order for one of these backordered units, and it’ll ship out when LaCie receives them.

  • Apple Updates iPad Billboard Atop West 14th Street Store [Mac Blog]
    Just a day after media reports pointed out the outdated billboard atop the West 14th Street flagship Apple Store in New York City, it has been replaced with an updated sign.

    SplatF’s Dan Frommer snapped a picture of the updated billboard showing a shot from the new iPad television ad with the iPad being used to make a painting.

    The timing of the updated billboard so soon after the media’s commentary on it yesterday is most likely a simple coincidence.

  • Free Mass Effect finale changes
    The developer of the Mass Effect 3 video game is to offer an expanded ending at no cost, but resists making major changes.
  • Kony 2012 group releases new film
    US activist group Invisible Children releases a sequel to its video highlighting the activities of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.
  • Walter Isaacson Says Jobs’ Rage Over Android Was Real
    Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson says Jobs’ anger over Android was real and not “for show” as alleged by Google’s Larry Page in an interview this week. Macworld UK attended a lecture Isaacson gave at the Royal Institution and the biographer said that Jobs felt Android’s similarity to iOS was “history repeating itself”, and compared it to Jobs’ feeling that Microsoft’s Windows was a rip-off of the Macintosh.

    He did the integrated system again, iPod, iPad, and it worked, “but what happens? Google rips it off”.

    Isaacson continued: “It’s almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. It wasn’t a matter of money. He said: ‘You can’t pay me off, I’m here to destroy you’.”

    Isaacson went on to say that he believes that Tim Cook will handle things differently and “will settle that lawsuit.” Apple is currently involved in a number of lawsuits over Android with manufacturers around the world.

  • About that HD Voice on the HTC EVO 4G LTE…

    HTC has been making headlines all week with the release of their very impressive new line of phones. The HTC One X and One S were met with rave reviews by tech sites all across the web, and last night Sprint and HTC announced the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which takes more than a few […]

  • Online searches for future linked to economic success
    People in countries with a higher GDP are more likely to search for information about the year ahead rather than the previous year

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