January 27, 2012

iCloud now has 85 million users

In its recent conference call discussing its record-smashing financial results, Apple revealed that its cloud syncing service, iCloud, currently has 85 million users signed up. iCloud debuted alongside the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 as a free-of-charge replacement for Apple’s old MobileMe service, and its growth over the past three months has apparently been explosive; during the same period, iCloud signups exceeded unit sales of Macs, iPods, iPhones, and iPads combined.

Apple has called iCloud part of its “strategy for the next decade,” and as an iCloud user myself I can see why. The cloud syncing service runs much faster and much more seamlessly than MobileMe ever did, and it’s very hard to argue with the price: $ 0 gets your email, calendars, contacts, and documents synced across all your devices with almost zero effort.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone Users Get “Samsunged” For Not Choosing Galaxy S II & Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation [Video]

Did you choose to purchase an iPhone over the Android-powered Galaxy S II? Well, congratulations. Like many of us here at Cult of Mac, you’ve been “Samsunged!” In its latest ad for the Galaxy S II, Samsung shows off its free turn-by-turn navigation software while taking another swipe at iPhone users who wait in line for a device “that looks like last year’s phone.”

It’s the same approach the Korean electronics giant took with an ad back in November, which also mocked iPhone users for waiting in line for a new device. But I wonder what Samsung’s smartphones would be like now without the iPhone. They are simply refashioned replicas, after all.

And I wonder whether Samsung is a little jealous that customers don’t wait in line for its own devices.

What do you think of Samsung’s approach in its latest Galaxy S II ads?

[via 9to5Mac]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Cult of Mac

Apple iOS leading among corporate users, Android deemed most risky

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:47 PM EST (01:47 PM PST)
A new study on the use of mobile devices in corporate environments shows Apple’s iOS overtaking RIM’s BlackBerry in popularity, while third place Android is described as the “most risky” mobile platform in terms of security problems.

The report, published by security firm Check Point, surveyed 768 IT professionals in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan.

It described “extensive use” of mobile devices in corporate networks, noting that 89 percent of sites now support the use of devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The use of employee’s personal devices on corporate networks is also growing, with, on average, 65 percent of companies surveyed officially allowing access to their employee’s personally owned devices in addition to company-owned hardware.

Apple takes RIM’s corporate crown

Apple’s iOS accounted for 30 percent of mobile devices in use on corporate networks, narrowly beating RIM’s BlackBerry devices at 29 percent. Third place Android represented 21 percent of users, just ahead of Windows Mobile/Windows Phone, which accounted for 18 percent.

In terms of security risks, however, Android was cited being the worst, with 43 percent calling out Google’s mobile platform. Apple’s iOS was deemed a security risk by 36 percent, while RIM’s BlackBerry faired best with 22 percent ranking it a security risk.

Of all respondents, 71 percent agreed that the use of mobile devices in general were a contributing factor to the number of security incidents their organizations were facing. The leading cause for security concerns among mobile device use related to a lack of employee awareness.

Careless actions by employees were seen as being roughly three times as dangerous as the activity of “hackers,” with 72 percent saying that employee errors posed a greater security threat to organizations than outside attacks.

However, other security risk factors related to platform itself, including insecure WiFi networking and web browsing, downloading of apps corrupted by malware, and a lack of security patches from service providers.

AppleInsider

Apple iOS leading among corporate users, Android deemed most risky

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:47 PM EST (01:47 PM PST)
A new study on the use of mobile devices in corporate environments shows Apple’s iOS overtaking RIM’s BlackBerry in popularity, while third place Android is described as the “most risky” mobile platform in terms of security problems.

The report, published by security firm Check Point, surveyed 768 IT professionals in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan.

It described “extensive use” of mobile devices in corporate networks, noting that 89 percent of sites now support the use of devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The use of employee’s personal devices on corporate networks is also growing, with, on average, 65 percent of companies surveyed officially allowing access to their employee’s personally owned devices in addition to company-owned hardware.

Apple takes RIM’s corporate crown

Apple’s iOS accounted for 30 percent of mobile devices in use on corporate networks, narrowly beating RIM’s BlackBerry devices at 29 percent. Third place Android represented 21 percent of users, just ahead of Windows Mobile/Windows Phone, which accounted for 18 percent.

In terms of security risks, however, Android was cited being the worst, with 43 percent calling out Google’s mobile platform. Apple’s iOS was deemed a security risk by 36 percent, while RIM’s BlackBerry faired best with 22 percent ranking it a security risk.

Of all respondents, 71 percent agreed that the use of mobile devices in general were a contributing factor to the number of security incidents their organizations were facing. The leading cause for security concerns among mobile device use related to a lack of employee awareness.

Careless actions by employees were seen as being roughly three times as dangerous as the activity of “hackers,” with 72 percent saying that employee errors posed a greater security threat to organizations than outside attacks.

However, other security risk factors related to platform itself, including insecure WiFi networking and web browsing, downloading of apps corrupted by malware, and a lack of security patches from service providers.

AppleInsider

Adobe to entice users to upgrade to CS6 with special pricing

After getting a good amount of criticism for changing its upgrade policy late last year, Adobe is offering incentives for Photoshop and Creative Suite CS3 and 4 users to get them to jump on the CS6 bandwagon.

Starting with Adobe CS6, Adobe is restricting upgrade pricing just to those who are one version behind — those who currently use CS5 or CS5.5. Adobe explained that it would help customers integrate with the new Adobe Creative Cloud service, and it is a move to streamline perpetual licenses. However, it cuts out a number of companies utilizing older CS products and will either have to pay the full price for an upgrade or move to the subscription service. My day job, for example, uses Photoshop CS3 and InDesign CS4. Currently, those who own Adobe software as old as CS2 can purchase CS5.5 at upgrade pricing.

Adobe has not announced the specific upgrade pricing for CS3 and CS4 users as of yet, but the offer will last from when CS6 is released until December 31.

[via The Loop]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple Could Allow Users To Upgrade The Rumored iTV Every Year Using A-Series Modules [CES 2012]

Apple Could Allow Users To Upgrade The Rumored iTV Every Year Using A-Series Modules [CES 2012]

Samsung’s usually accused of copying Apple, but their next-gen Smart TVs can be upgraded over time with faster processors and graphics, a strategy Apple might also employ.

Apple Could Allow Users To Upgrade The Rumored iTV Every Year Using A-Series Modules [CES 2012]LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – Like many TV makers at CES, Apple’s rumored entry into the HDTV market was the specter in the room at Samsung’s Monday afternoon press conference. However, unlike other makers who are flailing around blindly trying to add new bullet points to their spec sheets in the face of Apple entering the industry, Samsung’s next-gen Smart TV has a plan… and it’s just compelling enough that you wonder if Samsung has been tipped off on just what the iTV will, and is preparing in kind.

Here’s the primary dilemma of Apple entering the HDTV market. Apple’s whole business strategy essentially rests in selling customers a newer, shinier, better version of a device every two-three years. How do you apply that model to televisions, though? They are huge, expensive devices that most households don’t upgrade more than once a decade. So how do you get families to shell out a couple grand on a new 50-inch TV every couple of years?

Samsung’s got a compelling answer: you can’t. People don’t buy televisions that way. But what if, instead of selling people a brand new TV every two-three years, you make your money by selling them modular upgrades on a yearly basis, and a major new set only every five-ten years.

This is what Samsung is intending on doing with their so-called Smart Evolution initiative. Think of it as an expansion slot for your TV. Every year, you can give Samsung a couple hundred bucks, open a door on the back of your day, and slap a new module in that will give it improved video and processing power.

Samsung claims that they are uniquely positioned to offer modular updates to their line of Smart TVs because they are the one TV maker who makes their own systems-on-chip, or SoCs. And that’s certainly true… for now. But if Apple gets in the game, they’re going to have the same advantage.

So imagine this. You spend $ 2,000 on an Apple iTV with a top-of-the-line A6 processor, but when Apple announces the iTV 2, it’s not an upgrade to the display: it’s an affordable upgrade to the iTV A6 module that gives any iTV out there the same core processing and video power as the latest model.

I think Samsung may just have nailed it on the nose. It’s not enough for Apple to just release a TV that cracks the control problem. Everyone at CES is showing off TVs with gesture control, voice control, internet connectivity and apps. No, what Apple has to figure out is a way to make people waiting in lines around the block for the next iTV every year. Maybe it’s as easy as embracing again a concept Apple has long since abandoned with their PCs and laptops: the self-upgradeable television.

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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Cult of Mac

iPhone 4S owners use almost twice as much data as iPhone 4 users

A new study by telecom network tech firm Arieso shows that owners of Apple’s new iPhone 4S are using almost twice as much data with their devices than iPhone 4 users, and almost three times as much as iPhone 3G users.

The report, covered by Reuters, shows that the primary driver of the data usage is the Siri intelligent assistant. iPhone 4S users are even consuming more data than iPad 2 users, who are probably more tied to Wi-Fi networks for their consumption of a steady diet of web pages, email, and media.

Arieso’s CTO, Michael Flanagan, noted that “I use the iPhone 4 myself and when I first heard of the iPhone 4S features I was not compelled to rush out and get one. However, the data usage numbers I am seeing make me wonder what I am missing.”

Since Apple’s introduction of the original iPhone in 2007, the usage of mobile data has roughly doubled each year. Cloud-based services like Siri are widely expected to boost growth of data usage, which will be an issue until more efficient and speedy LTE networks become more widespread worldwide.

At this time, Siri is still in beta and has limited functionality outside of the U.S. That’s expected to change in 2012, as AppleInsider reports that Apple is hiring software engineers to help with porting Siri to other languages and to work on an API that will expand the natural-language interaction to other applications.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone 4S users consume nearly twice as much data as iPhone 4 – study

By Josh Ong

Published: 03:20 AM EST (12:20 AM PST)
A wireless industry study has found that iPhone 4S owners on average use roughly twice as much data as iPhone 4 owners and three times as much as iPhone 3G users.

Telecom network technology firm Arieso cited the Siri virtual assistant feature as contributing to the increase, according to Reuters. The study used Apple’s three-year-old iPhone 3G model as a benchmark.

The firm discovered that data usage of the iPhone 4 was 1.6 times higher than the iPhone 3G, while iPad 2 tablets consumed 2.5 times more data. The iPhone 4S was the heaviest on usage with three times the amount used by the iPhone 3G.

“I use the iPhone 4 myself and when I first heard of the iPhone 4S features I was not compelled to rush out and get one. However, the data usage numbers I am seeing make me wonder what I am missing,” Arieso’s chief technology officer, Michael Flanagan, said of the study.

Flanagan also noted that tablet usage closely resembled that of high-end smartphones. “A tablet still looks like a big smartphone,” he said.

According to Bloomberg, Arieso’s research found that one percent of the high-use subscribers consumed half of the data volumes. “The hungry are getting hungrier,” Flanagan said.

An earlier inquiry into Siri’s data usage discovered that the service consumes about 63KB per query. As such, using the feature 10 to 15 times a day would take up 18.5 to 27.7MB per month.

Siri is still in beta mode, with limited functionality outside of the U.S. Apple is, however planning a rapid international expansion for Siri this year. The company is actively hiring iOS software engineers to help develop the Application Programming Interface for Siri and port the feature to other languages.

AppleInsider tested the iPhone 4S on the AT&T, Sprint and Verizon networks shortly after its release. Extended tests showed that AT&T was generally faster than its rivals, while Verizon had broader coverage. Meanwhile, Sprint struggled with often unusable data service.

The rise in iPhone data consumption comes as Sprint is the only U.S. network to offer an unlimited data plan. CEO Dan Hesse was thought to have made comments this week undermining the carrier’s unlimited offer, but it later turned out that he was referring to abusive data practices when roaming.

The iPhone has actually brought about broad changes in the wireless industry. AT&T, Apple’s original carrier partner in the U.S., was initially surprised by the amount of data users consumed. The carrier was left scrambling to keep up with demand from Apple’s customers, with one report from 2009 comparing the iPhone to a Hummer.

Apple waited until the second-generation iPhone to add 3G data services, allowing AT&T time to steadily improve its 3G network. The iPhone maker has also opted to wait for 4G LTE to become more mature. CEO Tim Cook said the first generation of LTE chipsets required “design compromises” that Apple was unwilling to make. Reports have suggested that Apple may release LTE iPad and iPhone models starting this year.

Verizon got a head start on AT&T when it rolled out its LTE network in December 2010. But, AT&T has been steadily making progress, announcing on Thursday that it had expanded its LTE network to 11 new cities for a total of 26 markets.

AppleInsider

iPad users download 3 billion apps

Technology market intelligence firm ABI Research provided some fascinating numbers today that show that Apple is still maintaining the lead in the tablet market despite the release of a plethora of Android tablets.

According to the ABI Research numbers, iPad users have downloaded three billion apps since the launch of the iPad in April of 2010. The iPad made it to this milestone in just a year and a half, while it took the iPhone two years to reach this point. Owners of Android tablets have only downloaded about 440 millions apps to date.

ABI Research associate Lim Shiyang notes that “Many Android tablets in the market are still using older versions of Android, which disadvantages users from enjoying the better effects of apps produced from more advanced software development kits.” The ABI article notes that “Apple’s iPad apps are generally considered to be of a better quality compared to Android tablet-specific apps.”

Dan Shey, practice director of mobile services for ABI, noted that “Android is currently being used on many low end tablets that do not offer experiences anywhere near the iPad and this dampens the download momentum for users.” Shey believes, however, that things will change as more tablet manufacturers move to Android 4.0 and device specs become closer to those of the iPad.

[via The Loop]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple’s iPad has 84% satisfaction rating, 17% of users install 80+ apps

By Neil Hughes

Published: 01:44 PM EST (10:44 AM PST)
A new survey has found that an overwhelming majority of iPad owners are satisfied with their tablet from Apple, and also offers some insight into how, when and where people are using their iPad.

The new study from the Software Usability Research Laboratory was highlighted on Thursday by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop. The study, entitled iPad Usage Patterns On-the-Go and at Work, polled 52 respondents ranging in age from 23 to 80 on a 75-item survey.

The survey found that 83.65 percent of respondents were satisfied with the iPad, while 62 percent ranked Apple’s device as “excellent,” 10 percent said “best imaginable,” and 21 percent said “good.”

Beyond satisfaction levels with the iPad, the survey also aimed to find out how people are using the device. The study found that 52 percent of participants reported they carry their iPad only when traveling, while 21 percent carry their iPad every time they go out, and 17 percent only carry it on them for work.

The survey also offers a glimpse at application usage amongst iPad users, and found that 17 percent of respondents reported having more than 80 applications on their iPad. Another 29 percent said they have between 1 and 20 applications installed, while 33 percent have 21 to 40 applications.

While many users have a large number of applications installed on their iPad, regular use of those applications is a bit less. Among the respondents, 35 percent said they regularly use between 1 and 5 applications, while 40 percent said they frequently use between 6 and 10. Just 4 percent said they regularly use more than 20 applications.

The survey also found that the most common place for people to use their iPad is the living room, followed by the bedroom, kitchen and dining room. The most common use is browsing the Web, followed by checking e-mail, reading news, and social networking.

The new survey isn’t the first to show evidence of high satisfaction among users with the iPad. One poll conducted soon after the first-generation iPad was released in 2010 found that Apple’s new product category carried a 91 percent satisfaction rating.

AppleInsider