March 30, 2012

Apple, Google agree to meet with US senator over mobile privacy

By Josh Ong

Published: 09:30 PM EST (06:30 PM PST)
After a U.S. senator sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into apparent privacy loopholes in the iOS and Android mobile operating systems, Apple and Google agreed to meet with him to discuss the issue.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told The New York Times on Monday that both companies had gotten in touch with him and were willing to meet to discuss potential threats to user privacy that had been discovered in their respective platforms.

At issue for Schumer are two concerns that have been raised in recent weeks. In late February, the Times reported that iOS applications could upload geo-tagged photos in the background after receiving user approval to access location information. Earlier last month, it was discovered that a number of apps were uploading address books without asking for permission.

“We asked them if they could find a way on their own to prevent apps from having access to private info,” he said. “They were friendly and open to the idea that this ought to be changed.”

A spokeswoman for the FTC acknowledged having received the senator’s letter, but she declined to comment further on the matter.

Schumer reportedly wrote in his letter that the thought of potential privacy violations sent “shivers up the spine.” He surmised that Apple and Google have the technology to close up any loopholes and called for them to do so.

The senator also said he was “optimistic” that the issue could be resolved without the need for regulation. The FTC itself recently urged the industry to “redouble its efforts to focus on privacy issues,” warning that failure to do so could result in “additional pressure” in the form of legislation.

The issue of mobile privacy has been a hot topic for legislators and regulators alike and has resulted in Apple being called to multiple hearings on the matter. The company met with both the U.S. Senate, the FTC and the FCC last year to explain its policies on safeguarding user location information.

AppleInsider

Small business iPad use quadrupled to 34% in 2011, survey says

By Josh Ong

Published: 08:38 PM EST (05:38 PM PST)
A new study shows that Apple’s iPad is the fastest growing technology in the small business market, with usage quadrupling in 2011.

According to a national survey by The Business Journals, small business iPad use leapt up from 9 percent in 2010 to 34 percent last year. Meanwhile, a total of 75 percent of small business owners said they were “very or somewhat familiar with the device.”

The survey sampled more than 1,400 business owners, CEOs and presidents of companies across the U.S. that had between five and 499 employees.

Godfrey Philips, the company’s vice president of research, viewed the iPad’s success as part of a larger trend within the industry. “Our research has shown that for small business owners, productivity and efficiency, which used to be the central benefits of technology, are now declining in importance compared to accessibility,” he said.

Philips went on to say that business owners have turned to the iPad, smartphones and cloud computing to help them access their data wherever and whenever they want. As a result, those three solutions are “experiencing significant growth.”

The demographics of small business iPad users skewed toward the more successful. The average annual household income for iPad owners in the survey was $ 176,000, while 72 percent of users indicated that they had a college education. Companies that were deploying the iPad had been around for 28 years on average and made an average of $ 9.2 million in annual sales.

Apple is expected to enjoy continued success for the iPad among businesses in 2012. According to one survey from The NPD Group late last year, 73 percent of American businesses with less than 1,000 employees planned on buying the iPad in the next 12 months. A separate survey from Forrester Research predicted in January that enterprise spending on Apple products will increase by 50 percent this year.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has said it is experiencing “unprecedented” iPad adoption in business. CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed during a quarterly earnings conference call in January that nearly all Fortune 500 companies are actively using the device.

The arrival of the third-generation iPad, expected to be unveiled later this week at a media event in San Francisco, is likely to give lift to sales of the touchscreen tablet. Apple’s event takes place at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, on March 7, and AppleInsider will have full coverage. Recent indications suggest the new iPad will feature a Retina Display and a faster processor and possibly 4G LTE connectivity.

AppleInsider

Instaprint goes to Kickstarter to fund its Instagram photo booth hardware

Almost exactly a year ago, TUAW posted about Instaprint, a location-based printer for Instagram photos. Brooklyn, NY-based ad agency Breakfast even set up a live stream showing images spewing out of their printer from around the world. Now the company is back again, printing any Instagram photos tagged with #instaprint while you watch. They’ve also started a Kickstarter campaign to start full-scale production of the printer.

If you pledge US$ 399 or more of the desired $ 400,000 in funding, you’ll get one of the first Instaprint devices for home use. At the $ 749 level, you get two Instaprints — perfect for handling the traffic at small events — while $ 1099 gets you three devices and $ 1449 ensures that you’ll get a 4-pack good for big events.

At the time of publication, the funding was up to $ 33,478 — 8.3 percent of the total — with 55 days left to go. Try out the printer and watch your Instagram photo show up on the wall below, then be sure to give the Breakfast club your pledge.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Safari 5.2 offers to set up local Internet accounts

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 06:00 PM EST (03:00 PM PST)
When users log into web accounts (such as Google) in Safari and opt to save their account login, the browser will now offer to also configure local native apps, including Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Messages and Notes, in this summer’s release of OS X Mountain Lion, leveraging the same easy account setup pioneered by iOS.

In OS X Mountain Lion, Safari more tightly integrates the web with local desktop apps. Previous segments in the Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion have highlighted Safari’s upcoming new user interface, anti-phishing, Reader and sharing features as well as new password management, privacy settings and an alert feature that allows web sites to send updates to the Notifications Center.

Another desktop integration feature of the new Safari is the ability to set up web accounts for use with local apps. When logging into an Internet service like Google Gmail for the first time, after being prompted to save their account information (below top), the user is also given the opportunity to have the account automatically configured for use with other apps (below bottom).

In the current prerelease build Apple seeded to journalists, Safari offers to set up Mail, Calendar (the new name for iCal) and Messages.

After setting up the account, it appears in System Preferences, and individual services can be selected. In the the “Mail, Contacts and Calendars” pane, Gmail is set up for Mail, Calendars & Reminders (both of which use CalDAV), Messages, and Notes (which, like Mail, uses IMAP; in Mountain Lion, Notes is now a standalone app that can work like the old Stickies).

When attempting to set up Calendar, we ran into an issue with Google’s servers and CalDAV, but this should be resolved when Mountain Lion ships.

Google does yet not support CardDAV for Contacts (the new name for Address Book in Mountain Lion, which like iOS Contacts, is based on the open CardDAV specification). Google currently only offers its own AtomPub/GData-based Contacts API. Other Internet services, including Yahoo, already support Contacts in OS X Lion.

By setting up users’ accounts automatically, Mountain Lion makes it easier for non-technical users to login once and gain access the the advantages of native, local apps, without having to follow directions for configuring IMAP services, CalDAV and CardDAV services on each account.

AppleInsider

OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update released by Apple

A little over a month since OS X 10.7.3 was released on February 1, 2012, Apple has made a 10.7.3 supplemental update available via Software Update.

The update is a minuscule 38 KB is size, and resolves an issue when restoring a Mac from a Time Machine Backup. If you don’t want to wait for it to show up in Software Update, it’s also available for direct download from Apple.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Reports claim Apple’s third-gen tablet to be named ‘iPad HD’

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 06:58 PM EST (03:58 PM PST)
Apple is said to be stepping away from its usual numerical naming convention in favor of the more descriptive ‘iPad HD’ when it unveils the expected next generation tablet on Wednesday.

Citing inside information from a developer who has previously provided “reliable information” on upcoming Apple products, CNET claims that the much rumored device will not take on the “iPad 3″ moniker as many have speculated, but will instead be called “iPad HD” to highlight the most prominent and talked-about feature of the upcoming tablet: a high resolution “Retina Display.”

A corroborating report from VentureBeat claims that Apple will indeed depart from its traditional naming scheme, and notes that the “HD” title is further proof that the tablet will not ship with a new A6 processor but will instead be equipped with a modified A5 chip, seen in a purported prototype photograph as the A5X.

The “HD” tag would be akin to Apple’s “S” naming convention it took with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S, which marked incremental updates to the smartphone that weren’t substantial enough to warrant a complete number change. For example, the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 featured redesigned exteriors, while the respective follow-up “S” models merely boasted internal component upgrades.

Apple’s next generation tablet is expected to be launched at a media event scheduled for Wednesday, and is widely thought to sport a Retina Display, thicker chassis and extended battery life, among other improvements.

Perhaps the most widely discussed feature of the new iPad is an improved screen that has reportedly been pictured and even put under the lens of a microscope in hopes of confirming a higher pixel count than existing iPad models. At a resolution of 2,048-by-1,536 pixels, the rumored display would have a pixel density which is indeed double that of the current iPad 2, and could arguably be called a Retina Display.

While a higher resolution display seems to be all but confirmed, other features are under debate like LTE capability, a more powerful A6 processor and Siri voice assistant implementation.

Answers to the mountain of rumors may soon be answered as AppleInsider learned that DHL is preparing for a huge Apple shipment from China this week, possibly signaling the arrival of the next-gen iPad.

AppleInsider

Reckless Racing 2 Comes To Life In Latest Xperia Studio Project [Video]

Reckless Racing 2 Comes To Life In Latest Xperia Studio Project [Video]
I bet you thought you were pretty cool showing off your X-ray app and farting cat. Well, it’s time to get schooled by some professionals who are going to show you just how amazing your phone could be. Watch as car-hacker/engineer Dr. James Brighton recreates the popular mobile racing game Reckless Racing 2 using two MGF sports cars and an Xperia Play and Xperia S. This was all done in conjunction with Xperia Studio, a project created by Sony which invites people across the globe to test the limits of mobile technology. It never ceases to amaze me what some individuals can accomplish and it’s projects like these that get me excited about the future.

If you’re into racing games and play them on your mobile device, chances are you’ve heard of Reckless Racing. It’s a popular racing game franchise developed by Pixelbite and published by Polarbit and EA Mobile. It features 3D graphics, dirt tracks, power slides and a variety of detailed cars and characters. Watch Dr. James Brighton and the Pixelbrite team bring the game to life using a couple of Xperia phones to remotely control two MGF sports cars as they powerslide their way around a real-life dirt track.

Now how am I ever supposed to play with my dinky RC car after seeing this?

To see how James Brighton hooked up the two cars to the phones, check out this video

Be sure to check out all the other cool projects created for Xperia Studio at the source link below.

Source: Xperia Studio

(Via Cult of Android.)

DON’T MISS
Reckless Racing 2 Is Bigger, Better & Ready To Download Now From The App Store

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Daily Update for March 5, 2012

It’s the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You’ll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what’s happening in the Apple world.

You can listen to today’s Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.

No Flash? Click here to listen.

Subscribe via RSS



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Kodak opposes Apple’s efforts to block $2.6 billion sale of disputed imaging patents

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 06:10 PM EST (03:10 PM PST)
Kodak is seeking to block Apple from halting its sale of $ 2.6 billion in imaging patents, related to claims that Apple actually owns some key patents Kodak is attempting to sell.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Kodak is fighting Apple’s efforts to have a federal judge promptly resolve the patent ownership question, asking instead that the matter be handled by a bankruptcy judge so the company’s restructuring plan can continue.

Kodak initially sued Apple over patent claims related to digital imaging in January 2010, which was answered by Apple’s claim that it actually owned the rights to the patents Kodak was trying to use against it.

Kodak subsequently filed for bankruptcy on January 19, a step which automatically halted all litigation cases being brought against it, including claims by Apple and RIM.

Kodak’s chief executive Antonio Perez noted that “Chapter 11 gives us the best opportunities to maximize the value [… of] our digital capture patents, which are essential for a wide range of mobile and other consumer electronic devices that capture digital images and have generated over $ 3 billion of licensing revenues since 2003.”

Last month, Apple sought to reopen its litigation, based on Apple’s assertion that Kodak is attempting to sell off patents that actually belong to it, related to a partnership between the two companies in the early 1990s to develop the QuickTake digital camera.

“Until this ownership dispute is decided,” Apple’s attorneys wrote in a filing, “any such sale that includes the…patent would be inappropriate and harm Apple irreparably.” Apple states that Kodak “misappropriated” its own technology to apply for the patent, something Kodak calls “baseless.”

Apple’s motion seeks to lift Kodak’s protection from new and existing litigation initiated by its Chaper 11 filing, which Kodak said would put its restructuring plans in “substantial risk” by “opening the floodgates” to similar claims from other parties.

Kodak told the bankruptcy court that Apple is “seeking what it sees as a tactical advantage in having its ownership claims resolved outside this court,” and stated, “Apple’s preferred course of action—to ask another court to decide the critical issue of what constitutes property of the estate and how that property is to be used to maximize value for creditors—should be rejected,” calling Apple’s concerns about potential damages “crocodile tears.”

AppleInsider

The iPad 3 Will Be Like Having a 42inch HD TV In Your Hand

The iPad 3 Will Be Like Having a 42inch HD TV In Your Hand

The iPad 3 is going to have an amazingly sharp screen. Like the iPhone 4S, users won’t be able to see the individual pixels of the iPad 3’s retina display because all 3,145,728 pixels will be densly packed together at 264 pixels-per-inc.

Ok, that’s cool, but what does that actually mean? Well, it if you wanted to get the same amount of pixels into the iPad 2 using it’s current technology, then you’d have to use a 19inch screen. The iPad 3 packs more pixels than a 42inch LCD TV.

Here’s a couple other visual comparisons:

The iPad 3 Will Be Like Having a 42inch HD TV In Your Hand

[via Buzzfeed]

DON’T MISS
iFixit Goes Hands-On With The iPad 3’s Retina Display [Video]

busterheineBuster Heine heads Cult of Mac’s Social Media presence as well as contributes posts as often as he gets around to it. Twitter: twitter.com/bst3r.

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