January 30, 2012

iPhone and Words with Friends save a life

The widely-played word game Words with Friends has a built-in chat feature that lets players talk to each other, and that may well have saved a man’s life. According to KCTV, a player in Missouri named Beth Legler was chatting with a fellow player from Australia named Georgie Fletcher who claimed her husband was feeling ill. Legler’s husband Larry, a doctor, asked Fletcher to describe her husband’s symptoms. Upon hearing the description, Dr. Legler insisted that Georgie take her husband to the hospital immediately.

At the hospital, it was discovered that Fletcher’s husband had a 99 percent blockage in an artery near his heart. His doctors said that if he had not been taken to the hospital that day, there’s a very real chance he could have died.

From my secret lair in the South Pacific, I have an opportunity to see for myself just how interconnected the world has become every time I use FaceTime to chat with my dad in Saudi Arabia, Skype with the rest of my family scattered across the US, or bounce stories back and forth with TUAW colleagues all over the world. Moments like the one described in KCTV’s story are where the real magic of all this great technology lies, though; someone who might otherwise have died is instead walking around alive and well thanks to the unlikeliest of tools and circumstances.

[via The Mac Observer]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Briefly: High priced ‘Wintel’ tablets, Dutch iTunes Match

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 04:57 PM EST (01:57 PM PST)
Intel and Microsoft need to strike a deal or Windows 8 tablets might be priced out of reach for most consumers and Apple officially launches iTunes Match in the Netherlands.

‘Wintel’ tablets

It was reported on Monday that Intel and Microsoft’s unwillingness to strike a deal over hardware and software price quotes could drive up consumer cost of Intel-powered tablets running Windows 8, according to DigiTimes.

Notebook vendor sources estimate that so-called “Wintel” tablets could cost anywhere from $ 599 to $ 899, and both companies are reticent to cut component and software costs because doing so could affect the overall PC market and seriously hurt gross profit margins.

The situation becomes more confounding for Intel as its next generation Clover Trail-W platform, which features a low-power Atom processor, is battling ARM platforms from Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments for a place in upcoming mobile devices.

Apple, the de facto leader in the tablet computing market, is also said to be launching the iPad 3 in March. Rumored to be based on a proprietary quad-core processor, Apple’s newest tablet will likely disrupt the Wintel tablet market as it builds upon the company’s strong-selling iOS line of mobile products.

iTunes Match

Updated terms and conditions for Apple’s iTunes Match and a change to an online support page on Monday point to an official rollout of the service in the Netherlands, though links to the cloud-based music matching service have yet to appear on the company’s Dutch website.

According to the “iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match Availability” Apple support page, the Netherlands is now listed as one of the countries to offer the music matching service alongside iTunes in the Cloud access to music videos, apps and books.

The €24.99 per year Dutch iTunes Match is identical to its American counterpart, offering all-device access to music in a user’s iTunes library up to 25,000 tracks. Users can also upload any song that is not currently on the iTunes server, creating a cloud library for hard to find tracks.

As of this writing an official landing page has yet to appear on either the Apple website or the Netherlands iTunes Store, however a direct purchase link to iTunes Match is now active for users in that country.


IDG research shows iPad’s business dominance

A new study by IDG shows that not only are iPads becoming a powerful tool for business, but that Apple’s tablets are increasingly replacing notebook computers in the office. The study, titled “iPad for Business Survey” is a detailed and colorful look at trends surrounding the iPad worldwide.

The 16-page PDF (click here to download) includes some facts about iPad adoption in business that are fascinating. As you might expect, a high percentage of professionals said that they “always” use the iPad for web browsing, reading, and news consumption. A surprising number — about 16 percent — say that the iPad has completely replaced their office laptop, with a whopping 54 percent saying that the tablet has partly replaced the laptop.

iPad-toting professionals also say that they’re now buying fewer physical books (70 percent), newspapers (72 percent), and DVDs (49 percent). Adoption of the iPad as a newspaper replacement device was highest in Asia (90 percent) and the Middle East (80 percent). Most iPad users are very loyal to the Apple brand, with only 11 percent (Asia) to 22 percent (Europe) saying that they’d consider a different tablet device the next time a purchasing decision is made. South American business professionals were the least loyal, with 39 percent saying they’d try a different brand.

One of the other key points in the study notes that IT and business professionals truly realize the potential of the iPad as a mobile device, with 79 percent responding that they always use their iPad on the road. These numbers are highest in Asia, with 97 percent saying that they always use their iPads while mobile.

The study is a fascinating read and should provide some points for discussion for other manufacturers who are trying to make inroads into the business tablet market.

[via Electronista]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPad may make Apple world’s largest PC maker in holiday Q4 2012

By Dan Dilger

Published: 05:09 PM EST (02:09 PM PST)
Apple’s fiscal Q4 iPad shipments in the September quarter were enough to propel the Mac maker into a near tie in unit sales with global PC maker HP. When Apple releases figures for the final quarter of 2012 later this month, it may become the world’s largest PC maker.

After Fortune published a graphic showing the huge impact of Apple’s iPad sales on PC market share, Sebastian Peitsch of German blog Apple Outsider painstakingly researched PC market share figures back through 2008 to offer a corrected version.

His graphic portrays what Garner would have reported since 2010 if the research company weren’t artificially excluding the iPad from its PC market share figures, a tactic it suddenly initiated alongside the launch of the iPad after years of including Microsoft’s Tablet PCs, UMPCs and other tablets in its official PC numbers.

Gartner is likely to begin counting Windows 8 tablets, some of which are expected to use ARM chips, as PCs out of fealty to the company that has funded much of its research.

Adding iPad sales back to Garner’s figures dramatically shows how Apple overtook Lenovo and Dell after just three quarters of iPad sales in its first year, then rebounding the next year with iPad 2 to arrive right on the heels of HP’s PC sales in the third calendar quarter of last year.

Macs up, PCs down

Apple is expected to report sales of around 13 million iPads in the fourth quarter and more than 5 million Macs, which may be enough to beat HP and become the world’s largest PC maker ahead of schedule.

NPD Group reported last week that consumer electronics sales were down across the board in the US, but specifically noted that desktop PCs were down 2 percent, while notebook sales were down 5 percent. That’s in sharp contrast to Apple’s rapidly growing sales of iPads and Macs.

Previously, research firm Canalys predicted that Apple would overtake HP to become the top PC maker in the world next year, a conclusion HP’s chief executive Meg Whitman agreed with before expressing hopes that HP could win back the title of being the top PC maker in 2013.

Beyond unit sales, Apple already leads the PC market in revenues and profitability. Each Mac and iPad Apple sells impacts the sales of both Microsoft and its PC partners, and in the case of ARM-based iPads, also takes a hit on Intel’s chip sales. Intel, Microsoft and their PC partners are hoping that a new crop of Ultrabooks and tablet designs running Windows 8 will lure buyers back to non-Apple PCs.

However, both Intel and Microsoft are reportedly hoping to maintain high component prices for PC makers, a strategy that is likely to keep Windows 8 tablets prices between $ 599 and $ 899, the same price that appeared to kill any interest in Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets in 2011.


Apple developing new all-glass French store in Aix en Provence

By Dan Dilger

Published: 03:43 PM EST (12:43 PM PST)
Apple is developing a futuristic new retail store design for Aix en Provence, France which creates an outdoor appearance using a wraparound transparent glass facade around three sides of the building.

According to report by retail tracker IFO Apple Store, the new location will replace an existing brick building on the south side of Place du General de Gaulle, and is designed to integrate into the plaza’s surrounding upscale shops from international retailers.

Apple’s new South of France location is located just north of Marseille, providing pleasant Mediterranean weather and significant tourism traffic. The new store is expected to be completed later this year or early next year.

The store’s rendering, published by AixEnProvence.fr, depicts the nearly all glass, one story building on a stone plaza with only a minimal ceiling and a rear wall apparently finished with blonde wood.

The rear section of the building appears to incorporate offices and storage similar to the existing design of New York City’s Upper West Side retail store, albeit on a much smaller scale.

IFO Apple Store also reported on plans for a new retail store in Basel, Switzerland as detailed in the German language MacPrime.ch. That project plans to demolish an existing building and replace it, making it reportedly unlikely to open before next year.


iPhone 4S jailbreak demonstration video

The A5 jailbreak for the iPhone 4S is making excellent progress. Chronic dev team member @DHowett posted a video to YouTube that shows an iPhone 4S with an untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.0.1. The short video shows Cydia running on the handset and the phone resetting without the need to connect it to a computer.

Pod2g, who’s working on the jailbreak along with @planetbeing, @MuscleNerd and@p0sixninja, confirmed the video is the real deal and hinted that the jailbreak will be released soon.

[Via The Verge]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Legal pressure from Apple prompts cancelation of Steve Jobs action figure

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 03:44 PM EST (12:44 PM PST)
An action figure from Hong Kong designed to look like late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been canceled, after Apple’s legal team and the Jobs family threatened the company behind the toy.

In Icon, the Chinese company that created the doll, said in a statement that the doll is no longer being made and is not available for sale, according to PC World. They said they “received immense pressure from the lawyers of Apple and Steve Jobs family.”

“Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figuring out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family,” Tandy Cheung of In Icon said.

The retail price of the plastic doll is $ 99, but reseller prices on sites like eBay were significantly higher. The figurine came with a pair of black socks, glasses, a leather belt, a bar stool, a “One More Thing” backdrop, and two apples, with a bite taken out of one of them.

Word that Apple was attempting to halt sales of the action figure first surfaced earlier this month. The Cupertino, Calif., company asserted that it owns the rights to the likeness of Jobs.

Cheung said he originally created the action figure of Jobs as a tribute to him. It is a poseable figurine that was shown in promotional images delivering a keynote, sitting on a stool, and pointing, mimicking things Jobs did in real life.

The action figure isn’t the first object to carry a likeness of Jobs that Apple shut down. Om December of 2010, the company also halted sales of a miniature statue depicting Jobs holding an iPhone and standing atop an Apple logo.


Learn How To Build Powerful Programs With Our Discounted Ruby Course [Deals.CultofMac]

Learn How To Build Powerful Programs With Our Discounted Ruby Course [Deals.CultofMac]

What do Groupon, Twitter, Hulu, and 37 Signals all have in common? They all use the incredibly powerful, dynamic, and highly scalable programming language of Ruby or Ruby on Rails. Why is that supposed to get your heart fluttering? Because this language is the future of the web. Not being a developer myself, I shamelessly Googled to find out why Ruby on Rails is such a popular language/framework and I came across a Quora post from Ian MacLeod that sums it up nicely:

1. The Ruby community moves quickly, adopting new technologies and patterns – and refactoring or throwing out the old. Programmers love being on the cutting-edge.

2. Ruby seems to be one of those languages that maps well to a developer’s mental model. It’s frequently mentioned as one of a few languages that developers find a joy to code in.

3. Ruby is one of the major languages that promotes widespread use of “language magic” to createeasily-readable DSLs. This makes it very easy for casual developers to learn the language.

So, whether you want to start your company or just lock-in job security for the rest of your life…this tutorial is where it all starts.

With more than 27 step-by-step video lectures, this Ruby Programming course is only $ 79 (normally its 3x that much…and well worth it) and will teach you the ten steps to creating your first web app.

Rather than bog you down with a lot of theory, this course takes a hands-on approach and focuses on making you productive from day one!

With more than 30 brain-busting years of experience your instructor Hue Collingbourne literally wrote the book on Ruby programming. Whether you’re new to programming or just new to Ruby, he’ll be your perfect guide to rapid, real-world software development with this unique and elegant language.

We’re taking this one a step further. In addition to the 27 video lectures, here’s what you get with Huw’s course:

Free eBook – The Little Book of Ruby and exclusive discount for The (Big) Book of Ruby
Downloadable source codes and sample test files to compliment lectures
• 5 extra videos detailing Ruby on Rails, Symbols, Recursion, and other challenges

To learn more about this incredible Ruby Programming package head over to Deals.CultofMac.com to get the full scoop on all the course details.

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Apple jumps to 9th most valuable brand in the world

Apple is now the eighth most valuable brand in the world says a recent Bloomberg report that ranks the top 100 global brands. The brand rankings use five unnamed criteria and exclude privately-held companies. Brand value includes the name, logo, image, and other intangibles which identifies a company to a consumer.

The top ten list is heavily dominated by technology firms including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Intel and HP. Apple trails IBM, Microsoft, Google, Intel, but comes out ahead of number ten HP.

Apple’s brand value stands at US$ 33.493 billion, up from $ 21.143 billion in 2010. Apple increased its value 58% year over year, climbing from 17th place last year to 8th this year. The company’s momentum shows no sign of slowing down, and may climb even further up the ladder in 2012.

[Via AppleInsider]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Have you ever wondered what kind of data speeds you get on your iPhone with a full 3G signal, or how fast your internet is on your home Wi-Fi network? With the free iOS app from Speedtest.net, you can perform a quick and simple test that will tell you your download and your upload speeds on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

First, open up the App Store on your device, or using iTunes on your computer, and download the free Speedtest.net app. Before opening the app, be sure that the network you’re connected to is the one you would like to test the speed of. And if you’re checking a 3G connection, it’s best to turn Wi-Fi off.

When you’re ready, open up the Speedtest app and it will automatically find the nearest server. This should only take a couple of seconds, and once it’s done, you can hit the ‘Begin Test’ button.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Speedtest will now do its thing and present you with three results: Your ping, your download speed, and your upload speed.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

You can use the ‘Settings’ tab at the bottom of the app to specify whether you’d like to see results in Kbps, Mbps, or KB/s; and how you’d like your results to be sorted. The ‘Results’ tab will show you with a list of results from previous tests.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

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