March 30, 2012

Apple closes at record high, confounding advice to sell at iPad launch

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 10:55 PM EST (07:55 PM PST)
Apple’s stock price has gained 5.83 percent since last week’s unveiling of the new iPad, crushing advisors who thought that the release would provide a good opportunity to sell.

Apple closed at $ 568.10 per share, a new all time high just 8 cents below the 52 week high set during the trading day.

The new high set the company’s market cap at $ 529.68 billion – that’s less than a half billion less than the annual American military budget, but now $ 120 billion higher than Exxon Mobil, which had been neck and neck with Apple in market cap over the past two quarters.

Apple’s market cap (the value of all outstanding shares in the company) is now greater than the market cap of Google, HP, RIM and Microsoft combined.

And while the company’s stock was already up 46.11 percent for the year, it’s up another nearly 6 percent since the iPad event last Wednesday, a time pinpointed by a variety of pundits as a good opportunity to sell.

The day before the iPad event, Motley Fool writer Anders Bylund provided “4 Reasons to Sell Apple Today,” recounting among other things that Apple’s “cool factor is fading fast.”

He was joined by a variety of other pundits who described previous stock price drops at or around new product introductions. Apple’s stock briefly fell nearly 10 percent after the release of iPad 2 last spring, but has since climbed nearly 54 percent over the past year.


These DODOcases Will Make Your New iPad Look Like A Stylish Book

These DODOcases Will Make Your New iPad Look Like A Stylish Book

DODOcase makes some great iOS device accessories, but they’re most known for their series of unique iPad cases. Apple’s new iPad is arriving this Friday, and DODOcase has announced its new line of books cases for the magical tablet.

The Classic ($ 60), Essentials ($ 70), and Spring Summer ($ 80) lines are available for purchase now.

DODOcase’s original, award winning design (two time iPad Case of the Year) has been brought to Apple’s newest iPad for 2012.    Our classic black exterior Morrocan cloth matched with your choice of 4 linen interiors (Red, Sky Blue, Charcoal or Green) creates a timeless classic inspired by the artist journals of years gone by.   Manufactured, as always, in our San Francisco bookbindery and wood shop by true American craftsmen and women.

The Essentials line sports a bamboo tray and multicolor exterior cloth options. The Spring Summer line offers some flashy colors for the upcoming season, including Granite/Poppy, Meadow/Lake, Tahoe/Sunrise, and Sandy/Earth.

While not for everyone, the DODOcase is definitely something to consider for your new iPad.

President Obama Uses A DODOCase With His iPad 2 [Image]

Cult of Mac

AT&T offers settlement to iPhone user who sued over 3G throttling

By Josh Ong

Published: 09:30 PM EST (06:30 PM PST)
AT&T has offered a settlement to a California resident who successfully sued the carrier in small claims court for throttling his unlimited 3G data plan.

iPhone user Matthew Spaccarelli won an $ 850 award in a California court last month. He sued AT&T after discovering that the speed of his grandfathered-in “unlimited” 3G service was being reduced after just 1.5GB to 2GB of data usage, despite the fact that the company offers a 3GB for the same price.

Spaccarelli had originally asked the court to award him $ 10,000, but the judge granted him $ 85 for each of the 10 months left on his contract.

Though AT&T has said it plans to appeal the decision, the company has reached out to Spaccarelli to discuss a settlement, the Associated Press reports. The carrier also undertook a routine legal move of asking him to refrain from mentioning that it had offered to start settlement talks.

However, Spaccarelli says he is not interested in a settlement and has posted AT&T’s legal documents online, encouraging consumers in similar situations as him to follow his lead.

AT&T has also threatened that it could shut off Spaccarelli’s service because he has admitted to wirelessly tethering devices to his iPhone in violation of AT&T’s terms of service. For his part, Spaccarelli says he doesn’t care if they do because winning the case was what was important to him.

The carrier began throttling the top five percent of customers based on data usage last October after warning in July that the policy would go into effect.

A week after the small claims court decision was handed down, AT&T implemented a new throttling policy. The company said it would begin reducing download speeds of unlimited 3G subscribers after their usage exceeds 3GB, while 4G LTE subscribers would be throttled after 5GB.

Rival carrier Verizon also has a policy to limit downloads of its most-active customers, though the company calls it “network optimization” rather than throttling. Those limitations, however, only take place when a users is on a “congested cell site.”


IDC Increases Its 2012 Tablet Forecast, Predicts Android Overtaking iOS By 2016

IDC Increases Its 2012 Tablet Forecast, Predicts Android Overtaking iOS By 2016
Today the International Data Corporation raised its 2012 tablet forecast to 106.1 million units, up from its previous forecast of 87.7 million units thanks to a stronger-than-expected 2011 finish. According to IDC, tablet shipments rose 155%, leading to a full-year 2011 total of 68.7 million units shipped. The IDC credits Amazon for raising consumers’ awareness of the tablet category in 2011 thanks to their popular $ 199 Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire’s success solidified its position as the second most popular tablet with 16.8% market share while Apple remains on top with 54.7% worldwide market share. The introduction of the Kindle Fire along with the myriad of Android tablets popping up also has the IDC forecasting an eventual Android takeover by 2016. Although they forecast Android’s market share dominance, they fully expect iOS to remain the revenue market share leader through the end of 2016 and beyond.

If you ask me, they’re trying to forecast a market with more unknown variables than a highschool algebra test but since it only took Android 3 years to overtake iOS in the smartphone market, it’s definitely plausible. What do you guys think?

Source: IDC via Electronista

(Via Cult of Android.)

Amazon Increases Kindle Fire Orders Again — This Time to 5M


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Cult of Mac

Daily iPhone App: GPS everyWhere has great promise but isn’t quite finished

It’s hard to do something truly new or unique when it comes to GPS software. You’ve got maps, a destination database, throw in some traffic and weather. I’ve spent a couple of days with an app called GPS everyWhere + HUD Mode. That’s a mouthful, but there a quite a lot of features to talk about and some big missings.

First, turn the app on in the car and you’ll get your speed, a compass, your average speed, your latitude and longitude, altitude, a Google Map, temperature, weather, humidity, wind information, predicted maximum and minimum temperatures, and a choice of screen themes. Here’s the gee whiz feature. There is a HUD (heads up display) mode, that reverses the screen. You put your iPhone on top of your dash, the data on screen reflects off your windshield, and you have a display superimposed on your view of the road. It works in portrait or landscape mode.

The app has promise, but here are the inevitable caveats. First, this isn’t a true navigation app. There’s no way to set a destination and get turn-by-turn directions. Bummer. All you see is your position on a map. I’d rather get some directions than my latitude and longitude. Second, I have to question the wisdom of putting your cellphone on top of a dashboard, where your car is the hottest and the iPhone is likely to shut down with a heat alert. Finally, it’s tough to see the HUD during the day, but it is excellent at night. You’ll need to set the brightness of your iPhone to full, but even then driving around in a bright sunny day I couldn’t see a thing.

I really like the idea of this app, but it needs to be able to let you see a route to a destination. All the fresh thinking in the world won’t make an app truly useful until it solves some problems for a user. If you’re happy to just get weather, altitude, and see a map, this app is a great idea, especially with the HUD view at night. I’d like to see the developer move ahead with this app, because it’s creative and could be useful unless you live in a warm climate.

The app is a 19 MB download, requires iOS 4 or later, and runs on anything from an iPhone 3GS or later. The app is on sale for an unspecified time for $ 0.99 in the App Store. There’s a demo video here, and note we’re only seeing the HUD mode at night.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily iPad app: Woodcraft helps you design your next building project

Woodcraft is for the carpenter or woodworker with an eye for 3D. The app is a visualization tool that lets you design your next building project using the basic principles of CAD. It lets you drag out lumber that you need and assemble it into a finished product using only your iPad and your imagination.

You start with a blank slate and a library of common lumber used in carpentry. You can drag the wood pieces onto your canvas and arrange them as if you were building a desk, a porch or even a shed. There are tools to let you measure the wood, cut lumber pieces down to size and attach the pieces to together. You can switch between a 3D and 2D view which helps you to place the lumber and line up the pieces with the correct orientation.

Woodcraft is a great tool if you’re familiar with CAD and 3D modeling. As much as I like the flexibility of being able to conceptualize a project, the app is difficult for beginners and some may prefer pencil and paper to the iPad. New users should be ready to spend some time playing with the app before they’re able to use it effectively.

If you need help, there’s a community feature that lets users share their plans. You can grab the plans for a fully assembled desk, break it down and see how someone else put it together. There’s also a page with several video tutorials and a version 1.2 manual that’s available in iBooks or PDF format.

If you are up to the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent tool to help you plan a project. There’s also a bill of materials feature that keeps track of your final materials cost. There is no free demo, but Fasterre, the company behind the app, has put together a short promo video that shows how the app works.

Woodcraft is available from the iOS App Store for US$ 9.99.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

PayPal may go after Square’s mobile payments

PayPal is planning to take on Square with a new payment processing dongle, says a report from GigaOM. The dongle will supposedly tie into PayPal’s already robust payment processing system and will be targeted towards small businesses. Smaller companies would be able to use this system to process credit card transaction at the office or in the field. PayPal says its technology will become “the future of commerce for small businesses.” The eBay subsidiary is expected to unveil its new mobile payment system on Thursday.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple says Proview is ‘misleading Chinese courts’ over iPad name

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 06:35 PM EST (03:35 PM PST)
In its most detailed public statement regarding the ongoing Proview iPad trademark dispute, Apple on Tuesday said that the Chinese company is purposely misleading courts in order to recoup massive debt and stave off impatient creditors.

A prepared statement read by Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu alleges that Proview International Holding Ltd. fashioned the sale of the iPad name so that ownership of the Chinese trademark could later be questioned in court, and accuses the Hong Kong-based company of unfairly seeking more money for the same transaction, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Proview clearly made that arrangement so they wouldn’t have to give the money to their creditors in” mainland China, Wu said. “Because they still owe a lot of people a lot of money, they are now unfairly trying to get more from Apple for a trademark we already paid for.”

Proview’s Shenzhen arm, which is asserting ownership of the trademark, has accrued an estimated $ 400 million in debt after being part of a lucrative display-manufacturing business. At its peak Proview had 18,000 employees under its purview, though the global financial crisis has slowly edged the company toward bankruptcy.

Apple purchased the rights to the “iPAD” moniker in 2009 through a Taiwan affiliate of Proview, with the contract covering trademarks registered in a number of countries including two in China. At the time, the name was technically owned by Proview’s Shenzhen subsidiary, Proview Technology Shenzhen Co.

Wu claims that Apple was urged to purchase the rights, but “didn’t know the reasons at the time” as to why the deal had to be made through Proview’s Taiwan affiliate.

In October 2010, Proview threatened to take legal action against Apple, claiming that the 2009 “global trademark” agreement did not include China. The Chinese company went on to pursue litigation against Apple in multiple courts, including a suit in California, claiming that it still owned the name.

Making the matter more confusing are fraud and unfair competition allegations from Proview claiming that Apple conducted its fair share of chicanery in buying the trademark through a U.K.-based proxy company for a reported $ 55,000.

Proview’s attorney Xiao Caiyuan denies Apple’s Tuesday claims and believes the computer giant knew exactly what it was doing.

“The fact is that Apple’s former lawyer made a silly mistake,” Xiao said. “Proview still thinks both sides can solve the dispute by peaceful talks.”

The case continues to drag on in the shadow of the release of Apple’s newest iPad, and is currently being argued in China’s high court in Guangdong.


Sega shows off Total War Battles, new Sonic and Bloodshow at GDC

Sega was in attendance at GDC 2012 last week, showing off its latest and greatest mobile offerings for iOS. There were only three apps that really stuck out to me from the event itself, and you can read all about them right here below.

First up, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Episode 2 is going to be arriving on iOS this spring, as previously announced. If you liked the first iteration in this series, you’ll probably like the second, and even if not, you know how Sonic the Hedgehog works by now. I will admit this version does look great, and the controls have been tightened up a bit.

The inclusion of Tails is a nice selling point, too — you can use Sonic’s dual-tailed friend either as a flying helper, or for a gigantic spin move. And though I didn’t get to see it in action, I was told that Tails also serves as a playable character for a second player jumping in over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which definitely seems like a lot of fun.

Sonic 4, Episode 2 is due out this spring.

The most interesting release in Sega’s booth was an iOS version of Creative Assembly’s very popular real-time strategy series, Total War, called Total War Battles: Shogun. As you can see above, it’s a real-time strategy title that’s been completely redesigned for a mobile interface, using hex tiles and individual troop commands to guide Japanese infantry off into battle. I really liked this one. The design is almost a little too locked-down for those expecting a full RTS experience, but I really thought that Creative Assembly’s changes were very smart, and brought the feeling of the popular Total War series to a much wider audience.

There’s a lot of content in this one, too, with 50 missions to go through, and then a series of optional side missions that really ramp up the difficulty for dedicated players. Units can be upgraded in between missions, and there’s even a real-time, same-screen multiplayer mode (that will let two people play the game against each other one on iPad). Total War Battles: Shogun seems intriguing. Strategy fans can look for it in April for $ 4.99.

And finally, from the makers of Samurai Bloodshow comes a sequel of sorts, called Alexandria Bloodshow. The biggest difference here is that instead of fighting with Japanese troops, you’ll be fighting with Greek and Egyptian troops and calling down various gods and deities from those settings to fight for you. Combat plays out nearly exactly the same, and there’s also that very unique look, sort of like little bits of art facing off against each other.

Obviously there are also new cards and units to collect and play with, and if you want cards that you don’t get from the standard game, there’s a card shop included as well. The whole experience is very similar to the first title in the series, but if you liked that one, you probably won’t be disappointed. Alexandria Bloodshow is also due out this spring, and price hasn’t been determined by Sega just yet.

Total War Battles is definitely the most interesting game on the horizon. I have a feeling that when that one arrives, a lot of strategy fans will find a lot of great new ideas on Apple’s platform.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

NPD ranks iPhone 4S as America’s most popular 4G phone due to HSPA+

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 03:02 PM EST (12:02 PM PST)
NPD Group has named Apple’s iPhone 4S the most popular 4G smartphone, using a definition of fourth generation mobile networks that includes not just LTE and Sprint’s WiMax but also the HSPA+ technology used by T-Mobile and AT&T.

The firm notes that the market for 4G phones grew from 6 percent in the third calendar quarter of 201 to to 35 percent in the fourth, the same quarter that Apple began shipping iPhone 4S.

“The most popular 4G network technology in smartphones was HSPA+, at 22 percent of smartphone sales,” NPD group stated in a press release, which noted “top-selling mobile phones for each 4G technology in 2011″ as including the HTC Thunderbolt (on Verizon Wireless) for LTE, HTC’s EVO (on Sprint) for WiMax, and Apple’s iPhone 4S (on AT&T) for HSPA+.

“The only 4G network technology offered by AT&T until 2011 and still the only 4G technology offered by T-Mobile, HSPA+ received a tremendous boost in Q4, because it was the only 4G technology supported by the popular iPhone 4S,” the firm stated.

Despite efforts by all the major American carriers to promote their new 4G networks throughout 2011, Apple’s iPhone 4 and 4S were by far the most popular phone models in the country, even though Apple never marketed the phones as being 4G.

What is 4G?

A variety of pundits and fans were upset to see Apple adding a “4G” indicator in iOS 5.1 that lights up whenever iPhone 4S activates an HSPA+ connection, arguing that the only legitimate 4G technology is LTE, which no model of iPhone currently supports. Apple refers to the new iPad as being 4G, but it does support LTE on supported carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, for the new tablet.

However, the original definition of 4G wireless mobile technology set by the International Telecommunications Union (as depicted below) required speeds of at least 100Mbit/s, far higher than LTE or any other mobile wireless technology now being built out.

The original definition of 4G also required to a move to packet switched IP networks, rather than the circuit-switched technology used by existing 2G and 3G mobile telephony systems. 4G networks were also supposed to abandon the CDMA spread spectrum radio technology used by today’s 3G networks (including Verizon’s EvDO and AT&T’s GSM/UMTS) in favor of new OFDMA multi carrier transmissions.

None of the systems marketed today as “4G” fit any of these definitions, including the the stopgap version of LTE being built out by AT&T and Verizon and the version of WiMax deployed by Sprint.

It won’t be until the successor of today’s LTE, a new generation known as “LTE-Advanced,” arrives that this original definition of 4G will even become available on the market. A successor WiMax, named “WirelessMAN-Advanced” would also fit the original definition of 4G, but Sprint appears ready to migrate toward LTE rather than continuing its solo effort to use successive generations of WiMax technology.

Real world 4G

People who are adamantly opposed to calling anything “4G” apart from LTE (or WiMax) are not just missing the fact that today’s LTE and WiMax aren’t actually 4G either, but also the fact that over a year ago, the ITU itself redefined 4G to include today’s versions of WiMax, LTE and HSPA+.

Efforts by T-Mobile and later AT&T to describe their fastest HSPA+ technologies as “4G” therefore aren’t just delusional marketing slight of hand, but equally legitimate to Verizon and Sprint’s marketing of pre-4G versions of LTE and WiMax.

“Following a detailed evaluation against stringent technical and operational criteria, ITU has determined that ‘LTE-Advanced’ and ‘WirelessMAN-Advanced’ should be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced,” the standards body announced in December of 2010.

“As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as ’4G,’ although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed. The detailed specifications of the IMT-Advanced technologies will be provided in a new ITU-R Recommendation expected in early 2012.”

Apple outsells “phony 4G” with “ITU 4G” without even using 4G marketing

That means that purists who ignore the ITU’s ability to define its own standards must concede that today’s LTE and WiMax products heavily marketed as “4G” by carriers Verizon and Sprint and by Android licensees including HTC, Samsung and Motorola are phony misrepresentations of what 4G was originally intended to represent.

By the same token, if today’s LTE being build out by AT&T and Verizon is 4G, then the HSPA+ networks built out by AT&T and T-Mobile are also 4G, as the ITU defines them all in the same category, and all have similar actual throughputs.

The largest difference between Verizon’s LTE and AT&T’s is that Verizon was motivated to build out its newest network technology the fastest, because its version of 3G, EvDo, was by far the slowest. When AppleInsider tested iPhone 4S on Verizon and Sprint’s 3G EVDo networks against AT&T’s UMTS network, we consistently found speeds half that of AT&T’s, although AT&T’s service coverage was often not as broad or as reliable as Verizon’s.

Apple has never marketed iPhone 4S as being a 4G phone, despite its ability to connect to next generation networks the ITU has defined as 4G for nearly a year before it was released. This makes it all the more significant that Apple was able to outsell phones being extensively marketed as 4G with both iPhone 4S, as well as the earlier iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, neither of which can connect to mobile networks faster than 7Mbit/s UMTS, a step below the ITU’s present definition of 4G.