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Apple Reportedly Acquired ‘Pandora for Books’ Startup BookLamp In April

Posted by | July 26, 2014.
booklamp

Apple has acquired BookLamp, a “Pandora for books” startup that aimed to provide personalized book recommendations to readers via specialized algorithms, reports TechCrunch. BookLamp first shut down in April.

BookLamp was known for its Book Genome project, a book discovery engine that analyzed the text of books to break them down by various themes and variables to let readers search for books similar to books they liked.

For example, analyzing The Da Vinci Code, the search engine would break it down to elements of 18.6% Religion and Religions Institutions, 9.4% Police & Murder Investigation, 8.2% Art and Art Galleries, and 6.7% Secret Societies and Communities, and then it would be able to recommend a book similar to The Da Vinci Code based on that data.

BookLamp screenshot via Mashable
This type of analytics service could be directly used to improve recommendations and search in iBooks, and as noted by TechCrunch, BookLamp’s technology could be used to create a competitor to Amazon X-Ray, which lets readers see where in the book certain terms or characters appear.

BookLamp also provided content analysis services to a number of e-book distributors like Amazon, Apple, and Continue Reading

U.S. House Approves Bill Making Smartphone Unlocking Legal, Obama Pledges to Sign it Into Law

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
iphone_5s_5c.jpg

We’re one step closer to being able to legally unlock smartphones again, as the United States House of Representatives today passed legislation that legalizes cell phone unlocking, unanimously voting in favor of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act.

The Act was approved by the Senate last week, which means the final step is presidential approval. Obama has long supported making cell phone locking legal again, and today pledged to sign the bill into law.

I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom.

The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Continue Reading

Buyer’s Guide: Discounts on MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro, AppleCare, and Apple Accessories [Mac Blog]

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
macbook_air_mavericks_roundup_header

This week’s Buyer’s Guide includes deals on the MacBook Air, the Retina MacBook Pro, and AppleCare, as well as an array of Apple-related accessories that are currently on sale.

MacBook Air

Apple’s MacBook Air is currently available for up to $150 off at Best Buy, with Adorama, Amazon, and B&H Photo offering similar deals on some models.

The entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air with 128 GB of storage can be purchased for $799 from Best Buy, Adorama, or B&H Photo. The higher-end 11-inch MacBook Air with increased storage is available for $949 from Best Buy and Amazon.

The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air with 128 GB of storage is available for $849 from Best Buy and the higher-end model with more storage can be purchased for $1,099 from Best Buy, Adorama, or B&H Photo.

Best Buy’s MacBook Air discount is only available until July 26, but it can be combined with the site’s educational deal that offers $100 off all Macs, making it a solid choice for students. Buying from Adorama and B&H Photo gives the benefit of no sales tax in many states, as these two Continue Reading

Verizon to Begin Spot Throttling of High-Usage Customers on Unlimited LTE Plans [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
verizon_lte_reliable

Following a report by Droid Life yesterday, Verizon has now confirmed to Gigaom that starting October 1 the carrier will begin spot throttling of certain high-usage customers connecting to carrier’s LTE network. The policy affects users on grandfathered unlimited data plans that are no longer offered and who rank in the top five percent of data users at Verizon.

While Verizon has had a similar policy in place for its 3G network for several years, the extension of it to the LTE network that now handles 76 percent of the carrier’s data traffic will be noticeable for a number of users.

On October 1, Verizon will start throttling back LTE speeds on its heaviest unlimited-plan subscribers when they move into congested cells on its networks. What that means is that when the network gets crowded, Verizon will prioritize 4G customers who buy their data by the gigabyte over unlimited plan customers who fall into the top fifth percentile of monthly data usage.

As of today, the top five percent consists of customers who use 4.7GB or more of data each month, though that number will fluctuate month-to-month as traffic patterns change.

Rather than blanket throttling of users speeds Continue Reading

Bose Sues Beats for Patent Infringement Over Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
beatsheadphones

Bose today filed a lawsuit against Beats Electronics, accusing Beats of infringing on a number of patents related to noise cancellation and other audio technologies (via – “Method and apparatus for minimizing latency in digital signal processing systems”
No. 8,073,150 – “Dynamically configurable ANR signal processing topology”
No. 8,073,151 – “Dynamically configurable ANR filter block topology”
No. 8,054,992 – “High frequency compensating”
No. 8,345,888 – “Digital high frequency phase compensation”

The lawsuit asks for an injunction that prevents Beats from continuing to produce products that infringe on Bose patents and it requests a damages award for using the company’s technology. Bose has also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, seeking a sales ban on the Beats products that violate its patents.

Bose’s infringement lawsuit against Beats is set to become Apple’s problem as the company’s purchase of Beats is expected to close this quarter. Apple initially announced its $3 billion acquisition of the headphone manufacturer in May. Apple is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits, including an ongoing dispute with Samsung Electronics and several class action suits brought against it by former employees.

Continue Reading

OS X Yosemite’s Share of Mac Traffic Doubles Following Public Beta Launch

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
osxyosemiteadoptionrates

Following the launch of yesterday’s public beta for OS X Yosemite, the operating system’s share of global Mac traffic has nearly doubled according to installation numbers from GoSquared.

The site has been tracking the usage of OS X Yosemite in real time since its initial developer launch on June 2. Yesterday, ahead of the beta launch, Yosemite accounted for 0.26 percent of all Mac traffic globally and as of today, that number has crept up to 0.49 percent.

In just over 24 hours, the number of Yosemite users has doubled, and those numbers will likely grow even further today and over the weekend as additional testers download the beta OS. Many users are still having issues downloading the software, which is preventing Yosemite from reaching all prospective beta testers.

Earlier this month, analytics from Chitika suggested developer interest in Yosemite was higher than usual, with early adoption rates outpacing Mavericks adoption rates by a significant margin. High interest in OS X Yosemite can be attributed to both the operating system’s redesign with a focus on simplicity and translucency and its new features that offer deep integration with iOS 8, including Continuity. Continue Reading

OS X Yosemite Beta Failing to Download for Some Users

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
yosemitescreenshot.jpg

After announcing its OS X beta program at WWDC in June, Apple yesterday released the first beta version of the operating system to the public amid favorable reviews. For a growing number of people, the early impressions of OS X have not been positive due to a downloading issue that has prevented the installation of the OS.

Users in MacRumors forums, Apple support forums and on Reddit have complained about not being able to download OS X Yosemite from the Mac App Store. These users have successfully redeemed a promo code and initiated the installation, only to have it fail during the download process. This issue has persisted more than 24 hours after the beta was released, suggesting it is not a problem with server overload.

Can’t get OS X Yosemite to download properly. Maybe it’s the limit I can download per month or something. Gonna go to Starbucks and try it.

— Micah (Trivol) (@TheMajesticW0lf) July 25, 2014

All Apple’s online services are fully operational, and Apple support has not mentioned any potential issues that could interfere with OS X downloads. Several users have reported that using a VPN and selecting Continue Reading

Apple’s Quarterly Spending Points to Major Product Launches, Significant Revenue Growth

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
huberty-off-balance sheet commitments

Looking at Apple’s quarterly SEC quarterly filing, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley believes Apple’s revenue is poised to explode in the coming quarters. Huberty based her prediction on increases in Apple’s off-balance sheet commitments, which have a historical correlation with revenue growth.

Off-balance sheet commitments are those investments in components and services that are involved in the mass production and launch of new devices. These line items include component purchases, manufacturing process equipment investments, advertising, and other services. Huberty notes that Apple’s total spending in these areas has climbed 46 percent yearly and 36 percent quarterly in fiscal Q3 2014, making last quarter’s jump the largest spending increase since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007.

Huberty, not surprisingly, attributes this spending increase to Apple’s iPhone 6 and iWatch wearable, both of which are expected to launch later this year. These new products, along with services such as mobile payments, could accelerate growth and boost margins.

Apple has the opportunity to take share in slower growth smartphone and tablet markets with larger screens and new services. New product categories like iWatch, and services like payments could further boost growth.

Apple is rumored to be launching its next-generation Continue Reading

Apple Begins Mass Production of 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, 5.5-Inch Model and iPads Start in September

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
iphone_5s_6_grass

China media sources (via GforGames) report that mass production of Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone is underway ahead of the phone’s expected fall launch. These same sources claim the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has not entered mass production, further suggesting that the launch timeframe for this larger iPhone model is still uncertain.

Besides the iPhone 6, Apple also is preparing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini for mass production starting in September. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPads, possibly alongside the iWatch, at an October event that also will likely be used to announce the public release of OS X Yosemite.

As Apple prepares to launch new iPhones and iPads later this year, the company’s Asian suppliers are gearing up to boost production by as much as 85 percent by Q4 2014. Some of this increased production may be handled by Foxconn robots, “Foxbots”, with the company reportedly deploying as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of up to $25,000 each.

Anticipation for Apple’s fall lineup of devices is high, fueled by comments from Apple executives that suggest the company will enter new product categories with a device Continue Reading

Sense Sleep Monitor Tracks Sleep Behavior and Bedroom Environment [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
sense_orb2

Hello Inc’s new Kickstarter project Sense is an iOS-compatible sleep tracking system that allows users to monitor their sleep patterns and bedroom environments without the need for intrusive hardware.

The primary Sense device is a glow-in-the-dark polycarbonate orb that derives data from factors such as noise, light, temperature, humidity, and air particles to measure sleep quality. Sense also comes with the Sleep Pill, which is a small sensor that clips onto a pillow to track movement with a 6-axis accelerometer and gyroscope.

Sense_app
Sense works with its own companion app for iOS to provide users a snapshot of their last night’s sleep, offering an overall sleep score in addition a timeline of events throughout the night that triggered movement. The app can even play back noises that were captured by Sense, allowing users to listen to sound disturbances that may have led to an interruption in sleep.

The app also includes a Smart Alarm feature, which works with the Sense monitor and Sleep Pill to wake a user up at the right time. For instance, if a user begins to move more frequently after an extended period of rest, the app’s Smart Continue Reading

OS X Yosemite Beta: First Impressions, Installation Tips, Known Issues, and Bug Fixes

Posted by | July 25, 2014.
yosemite_macbook_air

Today marked the first day of Apple’s public beta testing program for OS X Yosemite, letting thousands of non-developers download the software for the first time. With so many new users, new issues and bugs in the beta are coming to light and being catalogued in our Yosemite forum.

We’ve pulled out some user reactions from the forums to share, along with some tips on troubleshooting possible issues. For users having problems with the beta, the Yosemite forums can be an invaluable resource, and for users still debating whether or not to install the beta software, make sure to check out this post and our forums before taking the plunge as Yosemite is still somewhat unstable.

First Impressions
A lot of new Yosemite users think that the operating system looks great. According to one user, it makes Windows and Mavericks look antiquated in comparison with its new focus on translucency and clean lines. A “Yosemite is Beautiful” thread is full of praise, with users calling it “stunning” and “the best OS X has ever looked.”

While there are a lot of Yosemite users who like the changes Apple’s brought with Yosemite, Continue Reading

Possible 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Volume/Power Flex Cable and SIM Card Tray Shown in New Images

Posted by | July 24, 2014.
flexcables

We’ve seen several different parts for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, but parts for the larger 5.5-inch version have thus far been in short supply. Apple.club.tw [Google Translation] has shared some new images of what might be the first leaked internal parts for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6, offering up pictures of power/volume flex cables and SIM trays said to be for the device.

The two flex cables that separately house the left side volume buttons/mute switch and the top power button are similar in design to an earlier set of leaked flex cables said to be for one of the iPhone 6 models. There are, however, some design differences that suggest there are two distinct sets of flex cables designed for two different devices floating around the Asian supply chain. For example, the new set of flex cables depicts less space between the volume buttons and the mute buttons and the two flex cables for the power button have different shapes.

iPhone 6 volume/mute flex cable on top, power button flex cable on bottom
Like the earlier cables, the flex cables in the new images resemble parts from other devices and have an Apple-style part Continue Reading

Apple Maintains Tablet Market Share Lead Despite iPad Sales Drop

Posted by | July 24, 2014.
idctablets1

Apple’s recent earnings call revealed that iPad sales continue to decline, with the company shipping only 13.3 million iPads during the third fiscal quarter of 2014 (second calendar quarter), compared to 14.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Despite the sales drop, Apple continues to be the world’s leading tablet vendor, with a total 26.9 percent of the market, according to new numbers from research firm IDC. Samsung retains its number two spot with 8.5 million shipments and a 17.2 percent share, but both major companies have been losing significant ground to companies putting out more affordable tablet devices.

Lenovo, for example, saw its share of the tablet market rise from 3.3 percent to 4.9 percent, a 64.7 percent jump. ASUS saw 13.1 percent growth, and the “Others” category, which is comprised of vendors not quite in the top five list, has jumped from a 37 percent share to a 44.4 percent share, an increase of 33.4 percent.

Overall, the worldwide tablet market has grown 11 percent year-over-year, with total tablet shipments of 49.3 million, up from 44.4 million in 2013.

idctablets2

As we indicated last quarter, the market is still being impacted Continue Reading

Gmail for iOS Updated With Improved Google Drive Integration [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 24, 2014.
gmail

Google today updated its Gmail for iOS app to version 3.14159, adding improved integration with its Google Drive storage solution.

It’s now possible to save email attachments directly to Google Drive, making them accessible everywhere and saving storage space. Users are also able to insert Google Drive files directly into messages. Google has also included new account management options and the ability to change a profile picture in the Settings menu.

- Save attachments directly to Google Drive so you can access them anywhere while saving space and bandwidth on your device
– Insert Google Drive files directly into messages
– New account management options to choose which accounts you want to have visible in Gmail without removing accounts from your device.
– Change your profile picture (in Settings)

Gmail is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Continue Reading

Apple’s iWatch Already a Hit, Even When It’s a $20 Casio Watch [iOS Blog]

Posted by | July 24, 2014.

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel covered Apple’s upcoming smart watch on last night’s show, airing a humorous segment that featured the team showing pedestrians on Hollywood Boulevard a $20 Casio watch with an Apple sticker on the back.

The people were told the cheap watch was Apple’s new smart watch and predictably, Kimmel’s team received some hilarious reactions. “It’s very lightweight and it’s kind of like old school, but still in style, you know?” said one woman, and a man complimented its rubber wrist band and the big numbers, which are “easy to see.”

Featured interviewees were all impressed with the watch’s ability to show the time and the date, and several noted that they were willing to purchase anything Apple made. “I just like that it has an Apple insignia on the back,” said one commenter. “If it’s Apple it’s good, right?” said another.

Kimmel also had some quips to share about the upcoming larger-screened iPhone 6, claiming Apple was introducing the larger device so it could debut a smaller “iPhone mini” in the future. “They make the bigger phones, and then in two years they’ll release the iPhone mini, which is Continue Reading

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