January 27, 2012

Apple VP Greg Joswiak Spotted On The Show Floor “Scouting The Competition” [CES 2012]

Apple VP Greg Joswiak Spotted On The Show Floor “Scouting The Competition” [CES 2012]

Apple VP Greg Joswiak Spotted On The Show Floor “Scouting The Competition” [CES 2012]

Apple’s VP of worldwide iPod, iPhone, and iOS product marketing, Greg Joswiak, has been spotted on the show floor at CES “scouting the competition.” paidContent caught up with the Apple exec in Las Vegas at this week’s 2012 CES convention.

Apple has disowned trade shows since it left Macworld in 2009, but that hasn’t stopped high-level employees like Joswiak from attending various conventions to see what the competition has cooking.

While wandering around the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, I bumped into Greg Joswiak, head of iOS product marketing for Apple, just outside of Sony’s booth. Joz, as he’s known within the Apple community, grinned sheepishly upon being recognized by a reporter and stopped to chat for a few minutes.

Joswiak said he was interested in how other companies present their products at events such as CES, from things like booth layout and aesthetics to which products are highlighted within a company’s booth. He seemed less than impressed with Sony’s booth but didn’t really want to get into a lengthy discussion.

While Apple may not have an official presence at CES, it’s very evident that the company is still a huge part of the convention. Cult of Mac will continue to provide breaking coverage of CES 2012 all week.

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Daily iPad App: Paramount100

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures, the company that brought you The Ten Commandments, Saturday Night Fever, the new Mission Impossible movie and hundreds of other cinematic treats.

In recognition of this milestone, Paramount100 has arrived on the App Store. P100 is a free, rather massive (376 MB) app with info on most of the Paramount films made in the last century. The app contains a reasonably complete history of the studio, loads of stills and clips from selected Paramount movies, and even some selections from the movie scores.

Unfortunately there are a lot of films missing. Seven Days in May, for example, a classic Oscar-nominated film released by Paramount, is nowhere to be found.

Some of the photos have never been seen before, and make for an interesting browsing experience. The app also contains a studio tour, but it is mainly a map and you can’t click on locations to see some of the movie sets and studio interiors, which seems a rather large missed opportunity.

Adding to the misery is that every so often you click and the app demands a Flash player! Uh, this is an iPad app, right? Probably a port.

The app also gives you a chance to watch the movies, providing a helpful link to the iTunes store. Of course, they don’t have all the movies Paramount has produced, so sometimes the link goes nowhere. There is also no search function, which, given the amount of material in the app, is downright silly. The app also says you can share content, so I tried to send a still from Forrest Gump to my email account. Noting ever arrived in my in-box. When I looked at the message I tried to send it didn’t contain the still, simply a link to the app at the Apple Store. That’s not quite what the app implies you can do.

For all its faults, the app is loaded with information. Casts, crews, Oscar lists and a nice collection of rare stills are there for the browsing.

If you’re a movie fan and have an iPad, Paramount100 is a fun trip down memory lane. I’m hoping it will get more complete, add some features, and eliminate any dependence on Flash.

The app is iPad only and requires iOS 4.0 or later. I have some screen shots in the gallery below.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Kodak lawsuit accuses Apple of violating four patents

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:32 PM EST (02:32 PM PST)
Writhing Eastman Kodak, Co. has filed lawsuits against Apple and HTC claiming infringement of patent violations regarding digital imaging technology amid last-ditch efforts to keep business afloat.

The 132-year-old company sued Apple on Tuesday over a patent pertaining to the sharing of digital pictures between various electronic devices, and is seeking the halt of infringing products plus compensatory and triple damages, reports Reuters.

In the claim, Apple is accused of violating four digital photography patents Kodak said it obtained after “concluding it would be desirable for people to easily share pictures” from digital cameras without having to first upload them to a central PC.

Essentially, any Apple product with a camera is affected by the proposed suit, and specifically cited examples include the company’s popular iPad 2 tablet, the iPod touch and multiple iPhone models.

It is unclear if the violating service is Apple’s Photo Stream, which allows digital images taken on one iDevice to be pushed to other devices through the company’s iCloud, or a specific third-party app that allows for image transfer over Bluetooth or WiFi.

The once monolithic all-things-camera maker has several irons in the fire, and is currently awaiting an ITC ruling regarding another patent dispute against Apple and Research in Motion that is scheduled for September 2012.

Kodak, a company with a name synonymous with photography, has been frantically treading water by attempting to sell off 1,100 patents under the looming threat of bankruptcy. The patent fire sale represents about ten percent of the company’s entire IP portfolio.

The company is currently undergoing a major restructuring to cut costs and boost revenue, but shares were still at a dismal $ 0.58 at the end of Tuesday.


Kodak Sues Apple And HTC For Violating Digital Imaging Patents

Kodak Sues Apple And HTC For Violating Digital Imaging Patents

Kodak Co. has announced its plans to sue Apple and HTC for violating several of its patents relating to digital imaging. The once-profitable camera company claims that Apple’s iOS devices and HTC’s smartphones infringe on Kodak patents for transmitting images digitally and between devices.

“As we have stated before, Kodak is the leader in digital imaging innovation and we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars creating our pioneering patent portfolio,” said Laura G. Quatela, President and Chief Operating Officer, Eastman Kodak Company. “We’ve had numerous discussions with both companies in an attempt to resolve this issue, and we have not been able to reach a satisfactory agreement.”

“Our primary interest is not to disrupt the availability of any product but to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of our technology,” Quatela said. “There’s a basic issue of fairness that needs to be addressed. The failure of companies to appropriately compensate Kodak for the unauthorized use of our patented technology impedes our ability to continue to innovate and introduce new products.”

Kodak has already licensed its patents to over 30 companies, including Samsung and Nokia. Apple and HTC are being accused of violating the following patents, with a fifth patent targeted only at HTC:

  • U.S. Patent No. 7,210,161 – “Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Camera to a Service Provider Using a Network Configuration File”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,742,084 – “Network Configuration File for Automatically Transmitting Images from an Electronic Still Camera”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,453,605 – “Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address”
  • U.S. Patent No. 7,936,391 – “Digital Camera with Communications Interface for Selectively Transmitting Images over a Cellular Phone Network and a Wireless LAN Network to a Destination”

Kodak isn’t stopping with requests for compensation. The company wants the International Trade Commission to place an import ban on the devices that allegedly violate its patents.

“We remain open to negotiating a fair and amicable agreement with these companies, which has always been our preference and our practice with other licensees,” Timothy M. Lynch, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, said. “We seek to avoid litigation in our licensing programs whenever possible. But when the infringement is persistent, we will act to defend the interests of our shareholders and licensees, and to promote the fair compensation that is the bedrock of innovation.”

Rumors have suggested that Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy. It appears that the company is attempting to leverage its intellectual property to stay afloat.

Cult of Mac

Share iPad displays with Philips In-Car Screen Kit

I have kids, and I live over three hours away from our nearest family. I know how difficult it is to entertain a car full of kids while driving, which is why the Ubergizmo post about the Philips In-Car screen kit caught my eye.

It’s simply a pair of LCDs that strap to the back of a car seat and connect to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. A single cable connects the LCD displays to your iOS device and lets you watch videos from the comfort of you car seat. There are no proprietary cables or DVD players to setup, which makes setup a breeze.

The system is available in both 7-inch (PV7002i) and 9-inch (PV9002i) sizes and includes all the straps and power adapters that you need. Both systems will be available in April 2012 for US$ 169.99 and $ 199.99, respectively.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

CES: GPU candidates for Apple’s next iPad, iPhone are 20 times more powerful

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 04:17 PM EST (01:17 PM PST)
Imagination Technologies announced on Tuesday that its next-generation PowerVR Series6 GPU core family, which could find their way into Apple’s future iPhones and iPads, will offer 20 times more performance than the current generation.

The PowerVR G6200 and G6400 GPU IP cores are the first in the Power VR Series6 GPU family from Imagination Technologies. The chipmaker said its latest mobile processors are a new benchmark for high performance with low power consumption.

The G6200 will feature two compute clusters, while the G6400 will sport four clusters. Imagination Technologies said the chips will find their way into smartphones, tablets, PCs, consoles, cars, TVs and more.

Of course, one of the biggest users of Imagination Technologies chips is Apple, which features their graphics processors in its custom-built ARM CPUs that power the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and even the Apple TV. The A5 chip found in the iPhone 4S has a GPU clocked at 800MHz, which is 73 percent faster than the A4 processor that powered the iPhone 4.

The new Series6 GPUs are based on the PowerVR Rogue architecture, which Imagination said will enable devices to provide “ultra-realistic gaming” and more complex applications. The Series6GPUs can deliver 20 times or more of the performance of current GPU cores through an architecture that is five times more efficient than previous generations.

“Based on our experience in shipping hundreds of millions of GPU cores, plus extensive market and customer feedback, we have been able to set a new standard in GPU architecture, particularly in the areas of power, bandwidth and efficiency — the key metrics by which GPUs are now judged,” Imagination Chief Executive Hossein Yassaie said. “We are confident that with the Rogue architecture we have a very clear technology advantage and an exceptional roadmap for the PowerVR Series6 family which our partners can depend on.”

Imagination announced last June that the “Rogue” processors were being licensed to six partners. Apple was not named among those partners, but is a major shareholder in Imagination Technologies. AppleInsider first reported in 2008 that Apple had purchased a 3 percent stake in the company, and its share grew to 9.5 percent in 2009.

Though there haven’t been any concrete indications about Apple’s next-generation mobile processor, it’s possible that a so-called “A6″ chip, rumored to appear in Apple’s third-generation iPad, could feature Imagination’s Series6 GPUs. Apple is rumored to launch its next iPad in March, a year after the iPad 2 was introduced.


Amazon Launches Kindle Store Web App For The iPad

Amazon Launches Kindle Store Web App For The iPad

Today Amazon launched an iPad-optimized Kindle Store web app. Visiting amazon.com/iPadKindleStore on the iPad will now take you to Amazon’s new web portal for buying ebooks from Apple’s tablet.

Once you’ve logged into your Amazon account, you’ll be able to browse and purchase ebooks in Mobile Safari on the iPad. Your purchases will then be pushed by Amazon to your Kindle device or Kindle iOS app.

As noted by Macworld, Amazon offered in-app purchases for ebooks from its native iOS app until Apple made the online retailer remove its purchase links last summer. iPad and iPhone users were then forced to buy ebooks from Amazon.com and have them pushed to their devices from the web. There was no optimized purchasing interface for the iPad, until now.

While it’s true that the Kindle iOS app has let users subscribe to magazines in-app, customers will have to visit Amazon’s new web store if they want to browse and purchase ebooks on the iPad. No Kindle Store web app for the iPhone has been announced, unfortunately.

Browsing the Kindle Store on the iPad is a rather enjoyable experience. The HTML5-based animations are pretty fluid, and Amazon has done a nice job of laying out the store. You can browse your recommendations in a nice cover slider and see different sections of the store from the main page, like “New & Noteworthy.” The Kindle Store web app can also be added to your iPad’s Home screen for quick reference.

The new web store for Kindle will also take you to Amazon’s Cloud Reader web app for offline reading in Mobile Safari on the iPad. By tapping the “Cloud Reader” button at the top right of the Kindle Store web app, you will be taken to Amazon’s web portal of its iOS app. You can read your ebooks there while staying in your browser.

Cult of Mac

Amazon launches iPad-optimized Kindle store

You may remember the good old days when you could use Amazon’s Kindle e-reader app for iOS to pop right into the online Kindle store to purchase ebooks. That feature went away in July of 2011 in order to comply with Apple’s policies. Amazon today launched an iPad-optimized Kindle Store website that, while still separate from the Kindle reader app, makes browsing for ebooks a much more touch-friendly process.

The new website is visible at http://amazon.com/iPadKindleStore/ and features a touch-scrollable horizontal bar of recommendations for you. Down below are the Top 100 paid and free ebooks, along with the “New & Noteworthy” section.

At the top of the site are a search field, a button for managing your Kindle books, and a button to launch Kindle Cloud Reader if you prefer that for your reading over the iPad Kindle reader app. While the experience of purchasing ebooks from the regular Amazon site isn’t that bad on the iPad, the iPad-friendly site does seem to make navigation and purchasing something that your fingers will enjoy.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple accused of extortion by Spanish tablet maker

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 04:33 PM EST (01:33 PM PST)
Spanish computer company NT-K has filed an indictment against Apple for the alleged act of extortion, a response to a 2010 patent dispute that culminated in the Cupertino, Calif., company filing criminal counterfeiting charges against the small Valencia tablet maker.

In a press release on Tuesday, Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá (NT-K) announced that it had filed charges against Apple with Valencia’s district attorney for alleged acts of extortion following an aggressive patent litigation campaign, reports FOSS Patents.

The filing is part of an ongoing court battle between the two companies that has been active for over a year, instigated by Apple’s initial November 2010 accusation that NT-K’s tablet copied the iPad’s design. A short-term customs ban was sought and granted against the small tablet maker’s products, and Apple went so far as to file criminal charges following correspondence between the rivaling companies.

NT-K successfully defended itself against the patent attack by Apple against its Android-based tablet, winning a dismissal of the case in November 2011, and is now attempting to prove that the tech giant’s litigation was aggressive enough to be considered extortion under Spanish law.

According to FOSS Patent’s Florian Mueller, Spanish extortion “comes down to someone with the intent to enrich himself forcing, through violence or intimidation, his victim to commit or desist from an act or transaction to the economic detriment of the victim or a third party.”

Mueller goes on to say that while NT-K’s argument that Apple sought to enrich itself through legal action against the small company is cogent on the surface, aggressive enforcement of patent rights is not a necessarily a criminal offense.

Since Apple’s allegations were dismissed, NT-K can possibly recover damages and pursue other legal action, but the iPad maker’s actions are likely to fall short of being interpreted as extortion. Mueller notes that while Apple’s litigation may be characterized as “bullying,” there was most likely reasonable foundation for a dispute and as such both parties have the right to state their grievances and threaten legal action.

The small Spanish tablet maker is planning to publish documentation regarding the extortion case against Apple on its blog in the coming week.


Never Get Dust Or Bubbles Under Your Screen Protector Again With The PureTek Roll-On [CES 2012]

Never Get Dust Or Bubbles Under Your Screen Protector Again With The PureTek Roll-On [CES 2012]

Never Get Dust Or Bubbles Under Your Screen Protector Again With The PureTek Roll-On [CES 2012]LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – Here’s the secret business of most polyurethane iPhone screen protectors: they know you’re not going to be able to get it on perfectly aligned without bubbles or pieces of grit underneath. In fact, they’re counting on you making a mash of things, and having to buy an expensive replacement.

But that business model is a double-edged sword, thinks Pure Gear. Sure, make the process of applying a polyurethane shield difficult and you might sell first-time buyers two instead of one the first time. But since the process is such a pain in the butt, and so hard to get right, many consumers never try again after the first time they mess it up.

That’s where Pure Gear’s incredible new shield applying tech comes in. Called the PureTek Roll-On, Pure Gear’s solution makes applying a polyurethane shield to your iPhone as easy as rolling a new coat of paint on the wall.

Here’s how it works. When you buy a shield from Pure Gear, it comes in packaging that also serves as an installation bed. This bed perfectly fits an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, and holds it in place so the PureTek shield can be applied. All you do is wipe the screen down, grab the PureTek roller and pull it from the top-to-the bottom of the device. It takes seconds and results in a perfectly aligned, dust and bubble free screen protector almost every time.

We got a chance to try it out ourselves, and it works great. I couldn’t apply an Invisible Shield to save my life without a hermetically sealed vacuum chamber and an assortment of robotic helpers, but I had my iPhone protected with a PureTek Roll-On shield within seconds, without trapping a granule of dust or a single bubble of air.

The PureTek Roll-On shield costs $ 19.99 each, and Pure Gear stands by the product enough to offer a free replacement if you somehow manage to mess the installation up. Each shield is made of grade A polyurethane that is self-healing and gouge, puncture and scratch resistant. If you want one, you can get it today direct from Pure Gear’s website.

If you’ve ever spent months fuming at a mote of dust under your Invisible Shield, peel it off, and give the PureTek a try. This product is an understated gem.

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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