January 27, 2012

Fun Game: Wander Around a Gritty, Abandoned, Haunted Amusement Park

Weird Park: Broken Tune

Every week Mac Games and More features a fun, casual game you can play over the weekend. This week’s selection puts you inside a creepy adventure game in an old, decrepit amusement park…but will you be amused? Find out for yourself by playing Weird Park Broken Tune. Download it now

Weird Park: Broken TuneWeird Park: Broken Tune (adventure) – An amusement park had been experiencing a string of mysterious employee deaths, including a clown who died while on the circus’ trapeze. The city officials were forced to close the park down and now you’ve been hired as the lead detective to investigate a missing person as well as the suspicious deaths…or were they murders? The park is now long abandoned and the place is dirty, decrepit and scary…not to mention weird. I hope you do not have a scary clown phobia!

Download it now

cate defrise

Cate Defrise is an earth and health-conscious American foodie who is developing indie mac games and apps in France. Her site is Mac Games And More. Follow Cate on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Cult of Mac

Apple wins $920K tax refund from 1989, loses appeal for overseas tax reprieve

By Josh Ong

Published: 11:10 PM EST (08:10 PM PST)
California’s Supreme Court has affirmed a $ 920,000 tax refund for Apple dating back to 1989, but it refused to hear the company’s request to lower its tax bill for income earned abroad.

The court upheld an appellate ruling earlier this week that returned $ 231,000 in taxes to Apple, along with $ 689,000 in interest, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Franchise Tax Board was ordered to return the money because Apple should have been allowed to deduct interest from loans for its U.S. operations

However, the final ruling came as only a partial win, as the Supreme Court rejected Apple’s request to reevaluate tax rates on foreign-earned income. After California reduced taxes on overseas income in 1989, the Cupertino, Calif., company sought to reclassify the status of income it received as dividends from its foreign holdings.

“Apple argued that its foreign dividends from that year should be attributed to income from previous years that had already been taxed,” the report read.

But the appeals court sided with the tax board’s assertion that companies should be taxed on foreign dividends from income generated that year.

Apple’s lawyer warned the decision could have expensive ramifications in the future. “It creates some potential issues for companies that want to repatriate earnings from overseas,” Jeffrey Vesely told the publication on Thursday.

According to the report, two organizations, the California Taxpayers Association and the Council on State Taxation in Washington, D.C., backed Apple in petitioning the state Supreme Court to hear the case.

The issue of overseas earnings has reached “heightened importance during our current economic climate, as it affects the ability of United States companies to bring billions of dollars of foreign earnings back into the United States economy,” the California Taxpayers Association told the court.

Deputy Attorney General Kristian Whitten, speaking for the Franchise Tax Board, argued that Apple was “attempting to avoid, or at least indefinitely defer, the payment of tax on its remaining foreign-source income.”

As the portion of Apple’s income that it earns outside of the U.S. has surpassed its domestic earnings, the company has taken to lobbying for a tax holiday that would allow it to repatriate its cash with a reduced tax load. A consortium of companies, which includes Apple, has proposed a one-year break that would let companies pay just 5 percent to bring their money home, rather than the 35 percent tax rate they currently face.

Two-thirds of Apple’s cash hoard, which reached $ 81 billion in the September 2010 quarter, is located offshore. The company’s participation in the WIN America group fighting for the tax holiday has drawn the ire of a group opposing the proposed tax cuts. US Uncut staged several protests outside of Apple retail stores last year.

AppleInsider

Survey suggests 50% growth in enterprise spending on Apple products in 2012

By Josh Ong

Published: 01:13 AM EST (10:13 PM PST)
Apple could see as much as 50 percent growth in global corporate IT spending on its devices this year, according to a recent survey from a market research firm.

Forrester Research issued its Global Tech Market Outlook for 2012 and 2013 on Friday, as noted by MacNN.

The firm said “Bring Your Own Device” policies have helped to open up IT departments to Macs, iPhones and iPads. Other factors cited as reasons for the growth include small businesses buying Macs and iPads for employees to use at home and work and IT departments’ shifts toward mobile with the iPhone and iPad.

According to the survey, the business sector will buy $ 10 billion worth of iPads this year, up from $ 6 billion in 2011. IT departments are also projected to spend $ 9 billion on Macs in 2012, up from $ 6 billion in 2011. Mac and iPad spending will rise to $ 12 billion and $ 16 billion, respectively in 2013, according to the survey.

Apple revealed last October that 93 percent of the Fortune 500 were deploying or testing the iPhone during the September quarter, up from 91 percent in the second quarter of calendar 2011. As for iPads, 90 percent of the Fortune 500 are deploying or testing Apple’s touchscreen tablet as of the September quarter.

The rise in corporate spending on Apple comes as Windows-based computer purchases are expected to decline slightly over the next two years. Forrester sees business and government sales of Windows PCs and tablets falling three percent in 2012 and another one percent in 2013.

To conduct the survey, Forrester interviewed 46 IT vendors, and studied large corporate or institutional purchasers, including U.S. and international government agencies.

For years, Forrester was critical of Macs in the business sector, but it began encouraging companies to “repeal prohibition” on Macs in the enterprise last October. The research firm found that 41 percent of enterprises had blocked Macs from access to any company resources.

In November, The New York Times claimed that Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook has made enterprise customers “more at ease” with the company than late co-founder Steve Jobs.

“(Cook) met more frequently with corporate customers and seemed to appreciate their needs, even if he did not deviate from Mr. Jobs’s views about making consumers the priority when making Apple products,” the report said.

AppleInsider

Weekend Apple tech news video recap: Week 1 Jan 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 01:59 PM EST (10:59 AM PST)
Here’s a video recap of the top tech stories involving Apple for the first week of 2012, including a look at 2010, Apple’s future directions, big product news, the week’s business stories, and upcoming events.

This upcoming week, AppleInsider staff will be on location at at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, reporting what’s new and noteworthy. Be sure to check in and share your comments and video feedback via email.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @appleinsider and Daniel Eran Dilger.


AppleInsider

Why Apple Will Dominate CES

Why Apple Will Dominate CES

The biggest company at CES this year is Apple. No, Apple isn’t giving keynotes, hosting a booth or even taking meetings, as far as I know. But Apple dominates CES like cheesy hotel casinos dominate the Las Vegas Strip.

A consumer electronics show without Apple is like an Internet search show without Google, a social networking show without Facebook or a, er, MacWorld Expo without Apple.

But that’s not why Apple’s presence is so large at CES. The reason is that half the initiatives, product directions and announcements are responses to Apple, or anticipation of what Apple might do in the future.

The touch-tablet market is the House that Apple Built. By launching the iPad two years ago, Apple convinced the world that a multi-touch tablet with apps was a great new business to get into. Unfortunately, the world was mistaken.

Until Amazon shipped the Kindle Fire, which succeeded mainly because it was super cheap, all other touch tablets have utterly failed in the market, when measured against the expectations of manufacturers.

The grandest expression of the touch tablet delusion was last year’s CES. That show saw more than 100 individual tablet products introduced or showcased.

What a disaster. The vast majority of these products would never have existed if not for the crazy success of the iPad. Apple led them astray. These low-volume, low-margin me-too tablets represent enormous wasted time, money and energy on the part of nearly all manufacturers involved.

The tablet debacle from last year will be repeated this year in the form of ultrathin notebooks, and for the same reason.

Apple hit one out of the park with the most recent generation of MacBook Airs. Now everyone in the industry thinks following Apple’s lead is the path to market success. It’s not.

Even Apple failed with the first generation of MacBook Airs, which were too expensive and not awesome enough to gain widespread acceptance.

Ultrathin clamshell laptops are just like touch tablets in that the overall user experience has to be perfect in order to get people to make the small sacrifices in price, storage and flexibility required of such a small form factor.

CES organizers estimate that up to 40 new MacBook Air wanna-bes will be showcased at CES this year.

Most of these will fail because their manufacturers mistakenly believe that the MacBook Air is successful because it’s an ultrathin with flash storage. In reality, it’s successful because it’s a flawless, ultra-fast and thrilling to use device that comes at a very reasonable price.

It’s not enough to make an ultrathin with flash. Unless it makes people involuntarily blurt out “Wow!” when they first use it, it won’t succeed in the market.

Once again, Apple’s success in ultrathins is leading the rest of the industry down a false road, raising expectations that will be dashed by next year’s CES.

One of the big trends at CES will be TVs in general, and Google TV products in particular.

The TV industry is in a panic. In order to move merchandise, they need to innovate. But how?

3D was supposed to save the industry, giving consumers a new reason to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new boob tube. The trouble is that 3D sucks. It makes people nauseated. Viewers feel like morons wearing goofy glasses in their living rooms.

So now the TV industry is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the fate they’ve long resisted: becoming PCs.

The inevitable future of television involves Internet-streamed shows and movies, “intelligence” and apps.

So the battle in the TV industry is: roll your own “smart TV” solution and go nowhere? Or get in bed with Google and win sales but lose control?

That’s what the TV section of CES will be all about. The big three — Samsung, LG and Sony — will be playing both sides of the fence, for the most part, embracing Google TV with some products, but not doing so with others.

Google is the partner of last resort, acceptable only because TV makers believe Google is the only company that might help them fend off the scary Apple television onslaught that everybody knows is coming.

They’re partnering with Google because that company is willing to play ball with existing TV makers, willing to lend their Android platform, Chrome browser and apps. Apple, on the other hand, just wants to replace them, drive them out of business.

The future Apple TV, or iTV, will be a permanent replacement for the Asian TV you would otherwise buy. And once you go Mac, you never go back.

Another trend in TVs is ultra thing sets. While the new generation of incredibly thin TVs will generate a lot of attention (but few sales because of their high prices), the press will be wondering: Is this what Apple will do?

So just about every shiny new TV announcement at CES, whether Google-oriented or proprietary, will have everything to do with positioning the companies involved against the specter of Apple’s entry into the TV market.

Even the big drama of the show this year, the announcement by Microsoft that they wouldn’t participate in keynotes or booths in future CES events, is related to Apple.

When Microsoft first made their announcement, there was a knee-jerk comparison to Apple’s 2009 withdrawal from Macworld Expo. Commentators said that the biggest companies are leaving the biggest shows and striking out on their own.

But CES insiders have revealed that Microsoft left in a huff because show organizers wanted someone else to do the big, opening keynote. Which makes sense. Microsoft doesn’t signal the bleeding edge of consumer technology. So, according to reports, Microsoft left in a huff, taking their toys (and booths) and going home.

This falling out is particularly humiliating for Microsoft mainly because of the obvious and unflattering comparison with Apple.

To oversimplify, Apple left MacWorld because Apple is too powerful to be hemmed in by someone else’s show. Apple wants to control everything, and has the ability to do that, and doesn’t need a show organizer to bring them that attention.

Microsoft, on the other hand, left CES because Microsoft isn’t powerful, exciting or cool enough anymore to keynote the world’s largest consumer electronics show.

So although Apple won’t be attending CES, Apple will be everywhere at the show. It will be on the minds and lips of everyone in attendance, and will loom over the show like a dark cloud.

Wherever you look, you’ll see companies reacting to, copying, avoiding or anticipating Apple products as the main driver of their product development and marketing.

Cult of Mac

This Is It, We’re Going In…CES 2012 Preview Wrapup [CES 2012]

This Is It, We’re Going In…CES 2012 Preview Wrapup [CES 2012]

The behemoth Consumer Electronics Show is upon us. By tomorrow, press-only showcases will already begin revealing this coming year’s tech magic (the show floor opens for everyone else on Tuesday).

We’ve been drawing aside the curtain as much as we were able in the form of previews throughout this past week. For those who missed them — and for the rest who want a quick recap as we plunge into the show — here’re the big highlights going in.

Fitness Appcessories – iOS-connected fitness gadgets have been building steam steadily the last year or so, but things really look like they’re about to take off this year. One of the main reasons is the new Bluetooth v4.0 technology equipped in the latest wave of smartphones (like the 4S). This low-energy version of BT is miserly enough to suddenly make connecting gadgets like heart-rate sensors via Bluetooth an appealing idea.

SSDs – the MacBook Air gave a large audience a taste for how mind-blowingly effective these robust, ultra-speedy flash-based drives are, and now they’re about to breach the big-time. Surprise: Audio company Monster is bringing out their own line; and more traditional SSD companies like One World Computing releasing extremely low-cost (comparatively) models.

Ultrabooks – and while we’re on the subject of the MacBook Air: jealous much, Windows world? We think so; because it seems like every laptop manufacturer and its mother is suddenly spitting up an Ultrabook — essentially a computer that tries its darndest to be as slim, light, and fast (mainly through the use of SSDs and fast-ish processors) as the MBA. We’ll pay close attention to these guys, because what we see will probably prophesy the direction laptops are heading, including the next MacBook Pros and Airs.

Cameras – on Friday, Nikon finally announced the D4, the next generation of its pro DSLR body, and we expect the $ 6000 camera to be out with Nikon at CES. Will Canon also show off its already-announced next-gen pro body, the EOS-1D X? We hope so. We’re also expecting to encounter a large contingent of Micro Four Thirds models, including Nikon’s new Nikon One.

Odds and Ends – among some of the other goodies we’ll be tracking down are: Android phones and tablets running their new OS, Ice Cream Sandwich (is it a match for iOS 5?); bezel-less TVs with Siri-like voice-control; the new Ivy Bridge chips from Intel; OLED TVs from Samsung and LG; and in-car control systems from Mercedes Benz, Cadillac and Ford that tightly integrate the iPhone.

Cult of Mac

Apple wins $920K tax refund from 1989, loses appeal for overseas tax reprieve

Mac Connection End of Summer Sale

MacBook Pro Model

Apple

Price

Discount

2.4GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,199.00 $ 1,096.05* $ 102.95
2.8GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,499.00 $ 1,382.19* $ 116.81
2.2GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 1,799.00 $ 1,647.06* $ 151.94
2.4GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 2,199.00 $ 1,973.55* $ 225.45
2.4GHz quad 17″ MacBook Pro $ 2,499.00 $ 2,288.23* $ 210.77

Early 2011 MacBook Pro Model

Apple

Price

Discount

2.3GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,199.00 $ 999.99 $ 199.99
2.7GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,499.00 $ 1,259.44* $ 226.06
2.0GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 1,799.00 $ 1,503.49* $ 295.51
2.2GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 2,199.00 $ 1,695.99* $ 503.01
2.2GHz quad 17″ MacBook Pro $ 2,499.00 $ 2,035.49* $ 463.51

AppleInsider

RBC exec said to be a “lock” to replace RIM co-chairmen

By Josh Ong

Published: 08:40 PM EST (05:40 PM PST)
Royal Bank of Canada executive Barbara Stymiest is reportedly a “lock” to become the new chairwoman at Research in Motion as investors have become increasingly critical of co-chairmen Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.

Last year, in an effort to appease activist shareholders displeased with RIM’s management, the Waterloo, Ont., smartphone maker formed a committee to investigate the company’s corporate structure. That committee’s report is due at the end of this month, with a response from RIM required 30 days after it is submitted.

John Paczkowski of All Things D noted on Friday that numerous sources have named Stymiest as the most likely replacement for RIM’s co-chairmen.

“Stymiest is a lock for chairwoman,” one insider told the publication. “The only thing that’s unclear right now is the timeline for her appointment.”

A second source noted that a final decision had yet to be reached, while corroborating the likelihood that she will be appointed. Stymiest, who serves as a member of RBC’s Group Executive team, has been a director at RIM since 2007.

Analysts generally view the prospect of Stymiest taking the reins as a step in the right direction, though they note that it will take time to turn the company around.

“We would view such an announcement positively as we believe she will initiate a formal strategic review, possibly trim costs in the hardware business, and possibly announce additional partnerships; however, we continue to see an outright sale in the near-term as unlikely and see near-term results as challenged,” Jefferies analyst Peter Misek told All Things D.

As RIM has struggled in recent years, its co-founders, who serve as both co-CEOs and co-chairmen, have taken the blame for its decline.

“There’s a bigger problem than the market share erosion and product delays,” one analyst told the publication off the record. “It’s Mike and Jim.”

2011 was a particularly harsh year for the BlackBerry maker. The company reduced its workforce in order to cut costs, saw its entry into the tablet market flop and faced delays to the new smartphone OS that it has hailed as its salvation.

After last quarter’s lackluster quarterly results, which included a $ 485 million charge due to excess PlayBook inventory, Balsillie and Lazaridis cut their salaries to $ 1 and apologized for the company’s performance.

“We ask for your patience and confidence,” Lazaridis said during a conference call with analysts last December. “We realize we’ve not met expectations.”

At the time, National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson viewed the BlackBerry 10 delay as potentially “the final nail in RIM’s coffin,” adding that a turnaround is “very, very speculative.”

RIM’s crumbling stock price has attracted the attention of interested buyers. The company shed more than 70 percent of its market value last year, prompting one analyst to speculate that Apple’s App Store alone was worth more than all of RIM. Reports have suggested that online retail giant Amazon had approached BlackBerry about an acquisition, but RIM was said to have turned down the offers.

AppleInsider

Infinity Blade Makers Collect $30 Million In Revenue After One Year

Infinity Blade Makers Collect $  30 Million In Revenue After One Year

Epic Games, the makers of popular iOS title Infinity Blade, reported a staggering $ 10 million in revenue last summer from the sales of their original title in the App Store. After the release of the highly-anticpated Infinity Blade II last month, Epic Games has announced that it has now collected over $ 30 million in revenue.

Epic Games, Inc. and its award-winning Salt Lake City-based development studio, ChAIR Entertainment, today announced that earnings from ChAIR’s blockbuster Infinity Blade video game franchise have eclipsed $ 30 million in just one year since the introduction of the original game. One of the most popular gaming franchises to be launched on the App Store, the award-winning series has also created significant licensing interest in the underlying Unreal Engine 3 technology from developers worldwide.

Further fueling franchise momentum is the recent release of Infinity Blade II, which has seen net earnings in excess of $ 5 million in just one month since release on Dec. 1, 2011, a mark which took the original title three months to achieve. Infinity Blade II is on pace to exceed the record success of the original Infinity Blade game, which has grossed more than $ 23 million to date. Additional franchise extensions include Infinity Blade: Awakening, a digital novella from best-selling author Brandon Sanderson, Infinity Blade: Original Soundtrack, which features original music from the games, and Infinity Blade FX, a big screen, coin-op version of Infinity Blade now featured in arcades nationwide.

Revenue was assisted by sales of the game’s official soundtrack and the Infinity Blade FX arcade game.

Infinity Blade II can be download in the App Store for $ 6.99. The original Infinity Blade is still available for $ 5.99. Both downloads are universal for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

(via joystiq)

Cult of Mac

RBC exec said to be a “lock” to replace RIM co-chairmen

Mac Connection End of Summer Sale

MacBook Pro Model

Apple

Price

Discount

2.4GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,199.00 $ 1,096.05* $ 102.95
2.8GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,499.00 $ 1,382.19* $ 116.81
2.2GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 1,799.00 $ 1,647.06* $ 151.94
2.4GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 2,199.00 $ 1,973.55* $ 225.45
2.4GHz quad 17″ MacBook Pro $ 2,499.00 $ 2,288.23* $ 210.77

Early 2011 MacBook Pro Model

Apple

Price

Discount

2.3GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,199.00 $ 999.99 $ 199.99
2.7GHz dual 13″ MacBook Pro $ 1,499.00 $ 1,259.44* $ 226.06
2.0GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 1,799.00 $ 1,503.49* $ 295.51
2.2GHz quad 15″ MacBook Pro $ 2,199.00 $ 1,695.99* $ 503.01
2.2GHz quad 17″ MacBook Pro $ 2,499.00 $ 2,035.49* $ 463.51

AppleInsider