Jordan Kahn


Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

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Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for and the latest gear and deals on

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March 5, 2013

Well, what have we here? A new Mac Pro video card? What year is it? PCGamesHardware is at the CeBit trade show in Hannover where AMD partner Sapphire is showing off a Mac version of the Sapphire HD 7950 graphics card for the first time (via tonymacx86). In November, we noted that support for the AMD 7000 series was discovered in a 10.8.3 beta. We speculated at the time that the added support was likely for future Mac Pro-level cards, and that’s exactly what Sapphire, one of the larger suppliers of AMD products, is showing off at CeBit.

According to the report, the Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Edition is based off the original 7950 that packs in 850MHz Engine Clock (up to 925MHz with Boost), 3GB GDDR5 memory, 240GB/s memory bandwidth, and 1250MHz Memory Clock. PCGamesHardware said Sapphire plans to sell the Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Edition for $450. The report noted that the Mac Edition has been redesigned:

Quite new is the hood, which approximates by milky white the famous Apple design. The cooler is based ansich on the AMD reference design, provides a radial fan in the rear, a large Vapor Chamber on the GPU as well as plenty of vents for heat dissipation. On the slot panel both a dual-link DVI and one HDMI and two mini DisplayPort outputs can be reported. The well-known of the original HD 79×0 video cards BIOS switch on the top of the PCB is on board. The hardware of the Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition, the Windows version is similar ergo strong, we assume that the changes are mainly found in the BIOS. As a result of use in a Mac Pro is possible.

Go below for a hands-on video of the Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Edition from CeBit: expand full story

March 4, 2013

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at the Duetsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom conference this morning, where he was asked a few questions related to the iPhone. Verizon reported its fourth quarter 2012 earnings last month with 9.8 million smartphone activations—a record 6.2 million of which were iPhone. We knew about half, or 3.1 million, of those iPhone sales were driven by the first full quarter with the iPhone 5, but today Shammo talked about just how important getting the free iPhone 4 was during the quarter:

But this past fourth quarter you had a couple — you had really one thing happen that never happened before, especially with Verizon Wireless, and that was for the first time ever, because of the iPhone 5 launch, we had the 4 at free. So it was the first time ever you could get a free iPhone on the

Verizon Wireless network. So that produced a lot of volume for us. We had a lot of new customers come into Verizon who took that free phone, and that was great for us because again if you think about — we sold a lot of LTE product in the fourth quarter. We sold a lot of 3G product from the iPhone products in the fourth quarter.

But that is key for us, because if you think about our two networks it is important for me as I migrate people into the 4G network I still have this very large 3G network that operates very efficiently. We are not investing any more capital in that network other than to keep it up and running, so no more coverage capital, no more capacity capital. If I can keep that network up and running that just generates more contribution margins for us. So it is critical for us to balance that. But, again, I think you had one point in time where you had a free phone, a free Apple phone that never happened before with us and that generated a lot of volume.

While noting that 53 percent of the carrier’s smartphone activations were iPhones in 2012, Shammo was asked about the opportunity to incentivize employees to sell non-Apple devices that would also come with lower subsidies for Verizon:

The answer is, no, we don’t and it is critical that we don’t do that. The reason for that is because what is more important for us is when a customer walks into a store that customer walks out with a phone that they will be happy with and not return under our 30-day guarantee. Because the worst thing that can happen for us is for me to incentivise a salesperson to get you into a phone that you walk out the door with thinking you are going to like and in three days you come back because you don’t like it. Therefore, now I’ve just subsidized two smartphones because that phone you used I can’t resell as a new phone.

You can read more from Shammo’s presentation and where he discusses the growth of Share Everything plans, tablets, and more here.

Unlock your phones at

iphone-5-itunes-unlock-1Following a petition on that urges the Library of Congress to change its decision on making unlocking cellphones illegal, the White House has issued an official response agreeing with the over 110,000 people who have signed the petition (via AllThingsD). White House Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy R. David Edelman issued the official response, admitting the White House agrees “consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties.”

He said the policy should also extend to tablets, while devices still under contract should be allowed to function on other networks:

And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It’s common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers’ needs.

The decision was made by the Library of Congress in October to make unlocking cellphones illegal, and that policy officially took effect in January. The Library of Congress issued a statement today in response to the White House, stating it agrees that “the question of locked cell phones has implications for telecommunications policy and that it would benefit from review and resolution in that context.”

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski also published a statement following the White House’s response to consumers today, explaining the FCC is investigating the decision by the Library of Congress to make unlocking illegal. He added that it didn’t “pass the common sense test.”

“From a communications policy perspective, this raises serious competition and innovation concerns, and for wireless consumers, it doesn’t pass the common sense test. The FCC is examining this issue, looking into whether the agency, wireless providers, or others should take action to preserve consumers’ ability to unlock their mobile phones. I also encourage Congress to take a close look and consider a legislative solution.”

Edelman said the Obama Administration will work with the FCC and others to implement legislative fixes that prevent consumers from risking criminal penalties related to unlocking: expand full story


We reported over the weekend that there was some confusion over exactly how Apple’s new Lightning digital AV adapter works and why it lacks the ability to carry a native 1080p signal. One theory is that Apple was using an AirPlay wireless streaming protocol, but we’ve since learned that is not the case. According to a post  that purports to be from an anonymous Apple engineer explaining how the cables function, Apple does not use Airplay protocol. It instead uses the same H.264 encoding technology as AirPlay to encode the output into the ARM SoC. From there, the data is decoded and sent over HDMI:

It’s vastly the same thing with the HDMI adapter. Lightning doesn’t have anything to do with HDMI at all. Again, it’s just a high speed serial interface. Airplay uses a bunch of hardware h264 encoding technology that we’ve already got access to, so what happens here is that we use the same hardware to encode an output stream on the fly and fire it down the Lightning cable straight into the ARM SoC the guys at Panic discovered. Airplay itself (the network protocol) is NOT involved in this process. The encoded data is transferred as packetized data across the Lightning bus, where it is decoded by the ARM SoC and pushed out over HDMI.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Apple could improve the quality with future software updates since the firmware is stored in RAM as opposed to ROM. The poster noted that Apple deemed the quality “suitably acceptable” but *will* make improvements with future iOS updates: expand full story

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:

Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.

The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:

Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.

Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.

Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” expand full story

March 1, 2013

According to a report from MSN News/MacRumors, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has invalidated part of the $1 billion originally awarded to Apple in its patent infringement case against Samsung in August 2012. The $1 billion verdict has been cut by $450 million, and that leaves Apple with ‘just’ $598.9 million.

US District Judge Lucy Koh affirmed the remainder of the award, amounting to $598.9 million, in the blockbuster patent infringement case, while denying Apple’s request for an increase in damages.

The report also noted that the judge said the initial calculation for the $1 billion award was the result of “an impermissible legal theory.” The court denied Apple’s request for an increase in damages.

Bloomberg added that Judge Koh ruled Samsung deserves a new trial related to the Galaxy Prevail and several other devices that made up the $450 million cut from the initial judgment. The judge will also consider additional damages for sales of infringing products that weren’t considered by the jury, but she urged both parties to seek appeals court review of today’s decision before a new trial.

expand full story



Following an attack on a smaller number of corporate Macs that exploited a flaw in the Java browser plug-in, researchers from security firm FireEye warned users of yet another new Java zero-day vulnerability. According to a blog post published yesterday (via IDG), browsers running Java v1.6 Update 41 and Java v1.7 Update 15 are now vulnerable to a malware attack that installs a remote access tool known as McRAT. The exploit is reportedly different from the one used to attack Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and several other companies last month. Following the earlier attack, Apple released an update to Java for users to version 1.6.0_41. These recent vulnerabilities come after several updates over the last year to Java addressing exploits.

FireEye recommended users disable Java until Oracle addresses the issue:

We have notified Oracle and will continue to work with Oracle on this in-the-wild discovery. Since this exploit affects the latest Java 6u41 and Java 7u15 versions, we urge users to disable Java in your browser until a patch has been released; alternatively, set your Java security settings to “High” and do not execute any unknown Java applets outside of your organization.

Oracle provided the instructions below for uninstalling Java on Mac: expand full story


February 28, 2013

Apple today issued a press release to announce some big numbers for iTunes U (a billion downloads to be exact), but it has now also provided an update on iPads sales in the education market. In a statement to AllThingsD, Apple said it has sold a total of 4.5 million iPads direct to U.S. education institutions.

Apple previously announced around a million units sold to U.S. schools in Q2 2012. It later said sales for iPad 2 in the K-12 market doubled y-o-y in Q3 2012 thanks to a price drop to $399. It appears Apple has since been selling even more into the sector every quarter, and the iPad mini’s $329 price tag, as well as even further discounts to iPad 2, could very likely be driving growth. Like previous iPads, Apple is selling Apple 10 packs of iPad minis to education for a discount.

At Apple’s New York City education event in January 2012, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller provided some updates on education. He noted that around 1.5 million iPads were in use at U.S. education institutions, and this means Apple has sold around 3 million iPads to education over the past year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has reiterated several times during the company’s earnings calls that it plans to be “very aggressive” in the education market going forward.

Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that it has sold 8 million iPads direct into education institutions worldwide. That’s a total of 3.5 million outside of the US to date.

Real Racing 3: The highly anticipated third installment in EA’s Real Racing iOS series has officially arrived in the US App Store today (via 9to5Toys). Available now for free, the game’s new in-app purchase model is getting a little bit of negative attention, but otherwise reviews of the game have been quite positive.

Trailblazing new features include officially licensed tracks, an expanded 22-car grid, and over 45 meticulously detailed cars from makers like Porsche, Lamborghini, Dodge, Bugatti, and Audi. Plus, racing with friends gets kicked into another dimension with the reality-bending Time Shifted Multiplayer™ (TSM) technology.

AVP-Evolution-iconAVP: Evolution: Fox has released another app in the Alien vs Predators series with the release of AVP: Evolution. The game was developed by Angry Mob Games, makers of PREDATORS and Guerrilla Bob iOS titles, and takes cues from multiplayer modes in recent AVP console releases.

*Two distinct gaming experiences as you engage in the ultimate battle as both the Alien and Predator
*Vicious attacks and brutal finishing moves give players a lethal arsenal to wreak havoc on the enemy

Socialcam-iOS-5.0Socialcam version 5.0: Autodesk is making some major improvements to its popular Socialcam app, which has now reached 20 million downloads, with the release of version 5 on the App Store today. The update should be hitting the App Store shortly and with it will come “a complete redesign of visual effects, 720p HD video, video High Dynamic Range (HDR), and a new icon for Socialcam.”

Major new features on the iOS platform include a complete redesign of visual effects, 720p HD video, video High Dynamic Range (HDR), and a new icon for Socialcam… Developed in collaboration with Autodesk’s expert professional video effects teams, the new 720p HD video and video HDR with one click real-time mapping and color correction enables Socialcam—with more than 20 million downloads—to continue to break through barriers to mobile video adoption by making it easy to express creativity and individuality wherever inspiration strikes—anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Day One version 1.10: The well reviewed journal/diary app known as Day One gets new features today including new options for PDF Export and Printing, historical weather reports for 30 days, a new reminder sound,  Sanchez font option, and improvements to HTML styling. There are also a number of performance enhancements include for startup time, Dropbox syncing, and more. An update for the Mac app is coming soon.

Cycloramic version 2.1: The app that received much attention for its unique use of the iPhone’s vibrating motor to snap hands-free 360 degree video gets new features today. Among them is the ability to “convert panoramic photos to 24 second panoramic HD movies.”

YouTube 1.2.1: Google updated its YouTube app for iOS bringing the Send to TV feature that it originally introduced on Android devices back in November. The app will allow users to send YouTube videos from their iOS devices to a Google TV, PS3, or Xbox and Google confirmed back in January that the feature would be coming to even more smart TVs this year.  expand full story


url-1In line with an increased number of press releases issued this year, Apple has just announced via a press release on its website that iTunes U content has now reached 1 billion downloads. It also shared some stats on the service that is now “the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content.” According to Apple, more than 2,400 schools are currently hosting content on the service with some of the top universities enrolling over 100,000 students into iTunes U and around 250,000 students enrolled in total:

More than 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts host over 2,500 public and thousands of private courses encompassing the arts, sciences, health and medicine, education, business and more. Leading universities including Duke, Yale, Cambridge, MIT and Oxford continue to extend their reach by enrolling more than 100,000 students in single iTunes U courses, with Stanford University and The Open University each surpassing 60 million content downloads. The Ohio State University’s Matthew “Dr. Fus” Stoltzfus’ General Chemistry course enrolled over 100,000 iTunes U students in the first year it was offered.

Apple also said that roughly 60 percent of downloads of the iTunes U app are coming from users outside of the United States, while educators from over 30 countries now contribute content including the recent additions of: Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and South Korea. The iTunes U app is now available to download in 155 countries through the App Store.

Apple’s full press release below: expand full story

February 27, 2013

Apple’s annual shareholder meeting isn’t usually the source of much news, and this year isn’t much different. With a judge recently granting Greenlight Capital’s motion to block a vote on a proposal that would require a shareholder vote before issuing preferred stock, many expected Apple would address what it plans to do with the cash hoard that Greenlight proposed freeing up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much news about the proposal apart from CEO Tim Cook reiterating the company is “seriously considering” returning cash to shareholders.

One perhaps not so surprising comment from Cook was regarding new product categories (via CNBC):

“Obviously we’re looking at new categories — we don’t talk about them, but we’re looking at them,” Cook said.

As opposed to what? Not looking at new categories?

At the annual meeting, shareholders reelected all board members. They also voted against proposals for a human rights committee and an executive stock retention plan that would require 33 percent of stock to be held until retirement. According to CNBC, which live blogged the event, one shareholder made a comment about not reelecting Al Gore due to his sale of Current TV:

There is one comment about Al Gore, saying he should not be reelected. He is saying his sale of Current TV should disqualify him from serving on any “decent” company’s board.

Several board members also spoke out against Greenlight Capital in support of Apple. Cook made a comment about the company’s new Spaceship campus, noting that Apple is still on track to break ground this year and move in by 2016. Apple confirmed last year that it plans to open its new campus by mid-2016.

Cook on new campus: “We plan to bulldoze all the buildings on the new site, build one 2.8 million sq. foot building that will be the most collaborative work environment; I project that we will move in, in 2016.” Today, 80 percent of the site is covered in asphalt and concrete; when we’re finished only 20 percent will… Steve put a lot of work into this before he passed away and we’re continuing that …. We think we can get a third of our employees there by bus …. We hope to break ground later this year


In addition to a new Cloud Player app for iPad from Amazon and the roll out of iTunes in the Cloud features to new countries, below we have put together our usual list of notable apps and updates hitting the store today:

Spotify version 0.6.0: Perhaps the biggest update today goes to the Spotify iOS app which, on top of receiving a “shiny new interface” equipped with a sidebar, includes a “Now Playing” bar, a new Track menu, and a number of other new features and fixes:

• New: Shiny new interface. You can navigate around the app with a new sidebar. Check it out by swiping left-to-right, or by pressing the ≣ button in the top left of the app.
• New: Now Playing bar. You’ll always see what you’re listening to along the bottom of Spotify. To switch tracks, just swipe along it. Tap or drag to see more information about the current track. Tap the cover art in the extended view to use AirPlay, and disable/enable shuffle and repeat.
• New: Track menu. Tap the … button on any track to see a redesigned context menu.
• Fixed: “Track only available online” issues. This would sometimes appear after start-up, or when you’d been offline for a little while. Not any more.
• Fixed: Lock screen will now always display the correct track.
• Fixed: Shuffle now switches off after you’ve used “Shuffle Play” on an album or playlist.

Waze version 3.6: Waze, one of Apple’s Maps partners and an app CEO Tim Cook recommended as an alternative during the iOS 6 Maps controversy, gets some nice new features today. Among the new features is real-time road closure reporting and routing, a refined map with only relevant road names, and much more:

✓ Report road closures in real time. Waze will close off the road and route others around it
✓ Report pins tilted on map to better indicate direction of event
✓ Reduced map clutter by showing only relevant road names
✓ New moods!
✓ New inbox with multiple message selection
✓ Update gas prices popup: When in gas station users prompted to update price (Europe only)
✓ Optimized performance and multiple bug fixes

PanoPerfect for iPad: We’ve told you about the PanoPerfect app before– an Instagram type experience designed specifically for sharing panorama shots. Today the developers have released its first iPad version of the app and also revamped the iPhone app.

PanoPerfect is a free, fun, and simple way to share beautiful panoramic photos on your iPhone. Find, follow, and share gorgeous panoramic photos with friends. Panorama’s go into a stream where you can comment and like your favorite ones.

Bad Piggies version 1.2.0:  Rovio’s popular Bad Piggies franchise gets updated today with 30 new “Flight in the Night levels,” 6 Road Hogs levels, new achievements and much more. The free apps and HD iPad versions receive the same update today.

Tweetbot version 2.7.3:  The iOS versions of the Tweetbot apps get a few tweaks. The iPad version gets the same update: expand full story

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