March 1, 2012

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives moving from BlackBerrys to iPhones

Yet another U.S. federal agency has announced that it is abandoning RIM’s … wait for it … beleaguered BlackBerry platform for iPhones and other devices. This news comes from Politico.com, which notes that up to 3,800 BlackBerrys will be swapped out within the next year at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The transition for the feds will start soon, with March being the date set for replacing the 2,400 BlackBerrys now carried by special agents in the field with iPhones. ATF, as the agency is still known, has been beefing up its mobile device infrastructure in preparation for the swap.

The remaining 1,400 BlackBerrys will be phased out with a mixture of other devices. ATF is also finishing a pilot project at the Bureau that involved almost 200 iPads, although there is no definitive word on exactly how many of Apple’s tablets will be purchased.

Rick Holgate, the CIO for the Bureau, was quoted as saying the agency was switching to iPhones for “Video streaming, GPS capability, capabilities, the camera … a variety of things. Yes, these things exist on BlackBerrys, but in terms of ease of use and adaptability of the devices, the iPhones are the more functional and compelling use case.”

[via MacDailyNews]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

ATF ditches BlackBerrys for iPhones

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 07:17 PM EST (04:17 PM PST)
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is set to move from the ailing BlackBerry platform to the iPhone, making it the second federal agency to choose Apple over RIM.

ATF Chief Information Officer Rick Holgate said on Tuesday that the switch will include the swapping out of 3,800 BlackBerry handsets with replacements devices, over 60 percent of which will be iPhones, reports website Politico.

“We’re going to delete the BlackBerry from the mix,” Holgate said, adding that the change will be completed within a one year time frame.

Around 2,400 special agents will start receiving their iPhones as early as March, and the ATF is actively preparing its mobile device infrastructure by readying licenses and software to accommodate the rollout.

The remaining 1,400 BlackBerry units will be replaced by other undisclosed devices.

Holgate cites device functionality as the main factor in shifting away from BlackBerry, noting that while a variety of features like video streaming, GPS capability and a camera exist on the BlackBerry platform, the ease of use and adaptability of the iPhone makes a “more functional and compelling case.”

“The government has been very comfortable with the BlackBerry model for 10 years,” he said. “Now we’re looking to move beyond that.”

The ATF’s decision continues the trend of government agencies moving away from BlackBerry to Apple offerings.

Earlier in February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it would make the jump to iPhone, and added that it plans to supply workers with iPads at a later date.

AppleInsider

Apple genius reportedly stole $16K worth of iPhones

When I worked in retail, I quickly learned all about “loss prevention,” which is the program that most retailers undertake to try and (you guessed it) prevent loss of product at whatever store they’re running. Customer theft is obviously an issue anywhere you have merchandise sitting out in public, but an even bigger issue, surprisingly, is employee theft.

And Apple isn’t immune: Recently, an employee allegedly stole up to 25 phones at an Apple Store in Charlotte, North Carolina. The phones were taken out of a back room over about a month and a half in December and January, with the employee apparently just taking them out of the store. The total value of the property stolen was $ 16,000, and the article in the local paper doesn’t say if the police have found the thief yet, though presumably Apple would have all of their information.

At the retail stores I worked at (GameStop and then Borders for a while), employees would have to go through “bag checks” every day, to make sure they weren’t walking out of the store with product. I don’t know about Apple’s policies specifically (though I’ll bet employees could fill us in on the comments below), but whatever measures were in place, it appears this employee was able to get around them.

[via MacRumors]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple genius reportedly stole $16K worth of iPhones

When I worked in retail, I quickly learned all about “loss prevention,” which is the program that most retailers undertake to try and (you guessed it) prevent loss of product at whatever store they’re running. Customer theft is obviously an issue anywhere you have merchandise sitting out in public, but an even bigger issue, surprisingly, is employee theft.

And Apple isn’t immune: Recently, an employee allegedly stole up to 25 phones at an Apple Store in Charlotte, North Carolina. The phones were taken out of a back room over about a month and a half in December and January, with the employee apparently just taking them out of the store. The total value of the property stolen was $ 16,000, and the article in the local paper doesn’t say if the police have found the thief yet, though presumably Apple would have all of their information.

At the retail stores I worked at (GameStop and then Borders for a while), employees would have to go through “bag checks” every day, to make sure they weren’t walking out of the store with product. I don’t know about Apple’s policies specifically (though I’ll bet employees could fill us in on the comments below), but whatever measures were in place, it appears this employee was able to get around them.

[via MacRumors]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

The iPhone’s head start on computing’s future

Imagine you’re working on a complicated Photoshop document at home and need to go to work. Instead of uploading to Dropbox or saving to a thumb drive, you merely unplug your iPhone. You drive across town, get to your desk, dock your iPhone, and your desktop immediately springs back to life with your work still in progress.

That idea of personal computing, known as modular computing, is behind an article in Time this week studying Apple’s impact on the future of personal computing. Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, Inc., theorizes that one day the iPhone will serve as a very small device that has a custom user interface, all your data, operating system and more. You would then go hook the iPhone up to any screen and have your personal computer right there – no laptop necessary. It would be able to drive a high-resolution monitor and software that requires more processing power than current-generation iPhones have.

Bajarin says Apple is already experimenting with this future. He points to AirPlay and the ability to use an iPhone in an audio docking system. He also thinks the 30-pin dock connector, which was recently dismissed by iMore’s Rene Ritchie, was specifically built with this mythical connected future in mind. Bajarin says only two-thirds of the 30 pins are used for syncing, charging and audio/video output. Apple could use the rest to power other functions.

It’s easy to see how Bajarin could make this leap of logic. Do you think this is the future, or is Apple going in another direction?



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

AssistantLove Lets You Control Spotify And Your iPhone’s GPS App With Siri [Jailbreak]

AssistantLove Lets You Control Spotify And Your iPhone’s GPS App With Siri [Jailbreak]
Click here to see Cult of Mac's full jailbreak archives!

Have you ever wished you could use Siri to control Spotify instead of Apple’s Music app on your iPhone? How about using Siri to get directions with your favorite GPS app?

A really cool jailbreak tweak called AssistantLove was released today in Cydia that lets you do those things and more.

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber with the official iPhone app, you can use Siri to access the millions of songs from the Spotify library. Turning on the Spotify integration in AssistantLove lets you say “play Rick Astley” or “play Poker Face” like you would for the default Music app.

I noticed that Spotify wouldn’t always get my request right, but that’s to be expected when it’s having to look through so many similar artist names and track titles. I wish the experience was a little more accurate, as I really don’t want to listen to Rick Ross when I’m in the mood to rickroll the Cult of Mac readership. Hopefully playback accuracy will be improved over time.

Another really cool feature of AssistantLove is the GPS/Siri integration. That’s right, you can finally use your favorite GPS app with Apple’s digital assistant. The tweak currently supports TomTom, Waze, MotionX-GPS and Navigon. I tried saying “find directions to Walmart” and Siri showed me a list of the nearby Walmarts with Google Maps data. Tapping the closest location launched Waze so the app could give me turn-by-turn directions.

AssistantLove Lets You Control Spotify And Your iPhone’s GPS App With Siri [Jailbreak]

AssistantLove intelligently launches apps with Siri. For instance, saying “open Battlefield” will open the Battlefield 3 game you have installed. You can also add aliases for apps, so you could have “open Twitter” set to launch Tweetbot.

“Many more features are planned” for AssistantLove, according to the developer. You can submit feature requests in the tweak’s preferences inside your iPhone’s Settings app. It will cost you $ 1.99 in Cydia.

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Cult of Mac

iPhones sweep list of 2011′s best-selling smartphones in U.S.

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 08:31 PM EST (05:31 PM PST)
Apple’s current iPhone models were the three best-selling smartphones in America in 2011, with the iPhone 4 beating out the legacy iPhone 3GS and new iPhone 4S to become the biggest seller of the year.

In its annual “Mobile Future in Focus” report released on Thursday, telecom analytics firm comScore reports that Apple’s hot-selling handsets also took the top two spots in the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.), while the recently debuted iPhone 4S took the fifth spot in the region despite only being available for less than three months.

The firm’s MobiLens survey showed that the iPhone 4 was the most acquired smartphone in the U.S. and the EU5, with the two-year-old iPhone 3GS taking second place in both regions most likely due to the device’s low price-of-entry.

Echoing earlier reports, Apple became the largest smartphone vendor in its home country, attaining over a quarter share of the market with 29.6 percent. The Cupertino, Calif., company also led the smartphone markets of the U.K. and Japan with 26.4 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively.

The iPhone maker’s high sales can be attributed to an overall shift toward smartphones, as the devices overtook feature phones for the first time in many countries during 2011. Sales in America, for example, surpassed those of so-called “dumb phones” in July, 2011.

Total smartphone audience grew dramatically in the U.S. and EU5 over the second half of last year, with key factors like 3G and 4G availability and carrier subsidy pricing playing large roles in the shift. During the second half of 2011, the number of smartphone users in the U.S. grew 14.8 percent to account for 41.8 percent of total mobile users, while the EU5 saw a similar 13 percent bump to end the year with 44 percent.

With the share of smartphones on the rise, Google’s Android platform proved to be the most successful OS, taking nearly half of the U.S. market and snagging the top spot away from the dying Symbian platform in the EU5.

Data suggests that the ballooning population of Android users are coming from RIM’s sinking BlackBerry ship, though Apple’s iOS also benefitted from the BlackBerry exodus as the Canadian phone maker’s share of the market halved in the U.S. over 2011 to end at 16 percent.

As smartphones become more affordable, the rate of adoption is quickly making the industry a part of the mainstream consumer segment.

The drive down in hardware and carrier costs has allowed those demographics that have not traditionally been associated with the smartphone market to pick up a new device. Fastest growing segments were members of six-person households and those making less than $ 25,000 a year, and showed a 99 percent and 98 percent uptick, respectively.

comScore notes that 2012 will be a significant year for the U.S. smartphone market as device adoption passes 100 million. The firm sees iOS and Android holding court over their competitors as the two companies’ app ecosystems are far more robust than competing platforms.

As a closing note, the study mentions how many times the throne to the top smartphone OS has changed hands in the U.S. over the past six years; from Palm, to RIM and Symbian, to Microsoft, to Android. Apple has never laid claim to the title.

AppleInsider

China Telecom expected to sell 3-5 million iPhones, Mountain Lion to reinforce iPhone “halo”

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 05:00 PM EST (02:00 PM PST)
Apple’s newest partner in China is expected to sell 3-5 million iPhones this year, boosting Apple’s momentum during the summer while the release of OS X Mountain Lion will reinforce the iPhone’s halo effect over Mac sales, writes analyst Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital.

In a note obtained by AppleInsider Reitzes wrote that China Telecom’s announced deal to carry the iPhone 4S alongside China Unicom, starting March 9, will help “support iPhone momentum, especially over the summer quarters of the year.”

The note highlighted that China “represents one of the largest growth opportunities for Apple right now and that the country could even be bigger than the US within a few short years.” China already accounts for 12 percent of Apple’s revenue, $ 12.5 billion in fiscal 2011.

Citing colleague Anand Ramachandran, who covers China Telecom, Reitzes wrote, “we believe that Apple could sell at least 3 million iPhones through China Telecom for the remainder of CY12 (with a best case scenario of nearly 5 million).”

Mountain Lion increases iPhone halo, thwarts Ultrabook threat

The next release of OS X, this summer’s Mountain Lion, “brings even more new features to Macintosh computers that are inspired by the iPad and iPhone,” Reitzes wrote, noting “we see this similarity as a good thing, serving to reinforce the ‘halo effect’ on Macs from the rest of Apple’s success.”

The note said the update also seems “perfectly suited for a new line of MacBook Airs that we expect to drive a new product cycle for Macs” in the second half of 2012.

“We believe that Apple intends to thwart any potential threat from Ultrabooks with this product line,” the note stated, “and we expect more aggressive pricing and industry leading designs.”

AppleInsider

iPhones & iPads: A Big Challenge To IT, But Vital To Business

iPhones & iPads: A Big Challenge To IT, But Vital To Business

Mobile devices are now so common in the workplace that we’ve reached a tipping point where providing mobile options for many desktop apps has become a requirement for businesses. That’s the findings of a new survey from Symantec on mobile device use in business.

The survey, initially reported by InfoWorld, identified that not only are the numbers of mobile devices increasing, but also that the tasks they perform are increasing. A dramatic number of companies are now seeing core business tasks being completed on mobile devices. That’s driving the need for companies to develop comprehensive mobile apps for access to corporate information systems.

The survey included responses from IT professionals in 6275 organizations in 43 countries. It also included a mix of enterprise companies and smaller businesses.

The results offer a picture of how important internal mobile apps have become:

  • 71% of companies are discussing their options for custom apps
  • 59% are running line-of-business applications on mobile devices
  • 66% are considering creating corporate app stores to distribute internal apps to employees

While those numbers clearly show that internal app development is already a need for almost all businesses, the survey also found that half of the respondents view mobile development and management as an extremely challenging.  Mobile security remains a top concern for IT departments according the survey.

The survey didn’t account for whether development is centered around corporate devices or employee-owned options, but Brian Duckering, senior manager with the endpoint management and mobility group at Symantec did note that BYOD programs are becoming more common. The survey also didn’t address whether development was centered around a single platform like Apple’s iOS or if plans involved support for multiple smartphone operating systems.

Ultimately, this illustrates why mobile development is one of the most in-demand technology skills. It also highlights that issues like creating good iOS or Android apps and granting users access to company resources from mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Android handsets have become real business needs. Perhaps the most telling point of the survey is that half of the respondents described handling these issues as being extremely challenging. That underscores how quickly the mobile business landscape has changed over the past two or three years and that successful strategies for handling today’s mobile technology are still evolving.

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Cult of Mac

$16,000 Worth Of iPhones Stolen From Apple Store In Charlotte By Employee

$  16,000 Worth Of iPhones Stolen From Apple Store In Charlotte By Employee

25 iPhones worth over $ 16,000 have been stolen from an Apple Store in Northlake Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unlike the familiar attacks in which thieves smash in Apple’s trademark glass doors, the suspect in this case was an Apple store employee and had easy access to the store’s stock room.

The Charlotte Observer reports:

“The iPhones were stolen from the Genius Room located inside of the store,” a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report says. “The suspect did have access to the Genius Room.”

The stolen phones, which are valued at $ 16,425, include 22 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S models, one 64-GB 4S model, one eight-GB iPhone 4 model and one 32-GB 4S model.

The suspect was confirmed as an Apple store employee by Charlotte’s WBTV, which reports that 25 devices were stolen in total, over a period of time:

According to a police report, the person had access to a storage room at the store and stole the phones over a period of a month and a half, between December 1st and January 11th.

Another Apple store employee reported the theft using the police department’s online crime reporting system. Police are reportedly still searching for the suspect.

[via MacRumors]

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