Jordan Kahn


Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at  

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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Twitter: @JordanKahn

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December 27, 2012

iSiri-05Here’s a bit of an odd rumor surrounding a Bluetooth smart watch from Apple, something that we’ve speculated in the past could make sense for a future, Bluetooth 4.0-enabled iPod nano. According to a report from (via major Chinese news portal that cited supply chain sources, Apple is currently collaborating with Intel on the design of an Apple-branded Bluetooth smart watch.

As for what we can expect from Apple’s rumored smart watch, the report listed specs including a 1.5-inch OLED screen from RiTdisplay (about the current width of iPod nano). The machine translation also noted “a rhenium ocean of OGS encore indium tin oxide transparent conductive (ITO) glass.”

In August 2011, we made the case for Apple releasing a future, Bluetooth 4.0-enabled wearable iPod nano.

While comparing the product to Sony’s recently launched Bluetooth smart watch, today’s report seemed to indicate the product is slated for the first half of 2013 to make up for a lack of product announcements in the first two quarters of the year. While Intel has a good relationship with Apple, powering its current Mac lineup with Intel CPUs, we’re skeptical Apple would go with Intel for a low-powered, mobile product such as a smart watch.

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Customer experience analytics firm Forsee is out today with its study of holiday customer satisfaction for the top 500 Internet retailers by revenue. Forsee has Apple at a four-year low in customer satisfaction in its survey of 24,000 customers during prime Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping seasons. Apple slipped three points to a satisfaction score of 80/100 this year, putting Apple at its lowest in four years and bumping it out of the top 5. Among the other largest declines is J.C. Penney, run by former Apple retail head Ron Johnson:

Big companies take big hits: JCPenney (down five points to 78), Apple (down three points to 80), and Dell (down three points to 77) all had large declines in customer satisfaction in 2012, revealing that even some of the highest-revenue companies on the list can struggle to meet the expectations of their customers.

For the study, Forsee focused on four areas of overall satisfaction including the perception of fairness in pricing, the appeal of merchandise, website functionality, and the quality of website content. Among recommendations made by Forsee to retailers for the focus areas, Apple’s online store is listed as needing to improve the “usefulness, convenience and variety of online features available to site visitors.”

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Other than that, Forsee does not go into specifics about the reason behind Apple’s decline in this year’s study. Apple has of course made some major changes in its retail team this year, firing its retail chief John Browett following some controversial decisions during his short-lived stay as senior vice president of retail.

Apple has also run into some big issues with supplies of iPhone 5, iPad mini, and iMacs after the introductions of the products this year, which could have affected customers’ view of the retail experience.

Amazon remained the standard for customer satisfaction in Forsee’s study, sitting atop the list with a score of 88/100:

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December 26, 2012


The Marion Police Department in Virginia have decided to encourage residents to report crime by releasing a new app called “iWatch Marion“. The app is available for free on the App Store and provides citizens with an easy way to report potential crimes by uploading tips, photos, and video. Content uploaded by users is forwarded directly to the police department closest to the location the tip was sent from:

Because iWatch Marion uses global positioning technology, the system intelligently forwards information to the Howard County Police Department based on where the handheld device is physically located at any given moment.

The app will also allow users to receive alerts for missing children, crime, weather, and more. I’m not sure if major cities will jump on the idea of encouraging citizens to get involved in crimes in progress, but it’s something that more and more smaller towns are starting to take advantage of. expand full story

December 23, 2012

December 21, 2012


Just Released:

MapChoice | $0.99: A new app just released on the App Store provides you with access to both Apple’s new Maps and Google Maps in a single app. Your position will transfer from one map to the other, and it also includes StreetView and Foursquare integration.

MapChoice gives you a choice between old and new maps. You can also view Street View and search using FourSquare.


Instagram-iconInstagram version 3.4.0 | FREE: Instagram gets updated today with support for 25 languages, a new “Mayfair” filter, Facebook iOS 6 integration, and more.

– Instagram is now available in 25 languages!
– New filter: Mayfair
– Share photos from any album
– Facebook iOS 6 integration
– Improved performance and bug fixes

The Wall Street Journal version 5.0 | FREE: The Wall Street Journal just updated its iOS app, moving content on iPhone and iPad to Apple’s Newsstand and providing users with automatically updated issues each morning. WSJ will now offer in-app subscriptions, billing users directly to their iTunes accounts monthly. The updated app also includes Alerts for breaking news.

Newsstand & Alerts
– WSJ is now in Newsstand! Get new issues automatically delivered to your device overnight. To use Newsstand, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.
– Note: WSJ App icon will now appear in the Newsstand Folder.
– Breaking News Alerts from WSJ. To get alerts, tap ‘Allow’ when prompted.
In-App Subscriptions
StubHub Seat Maps– Purchase a monthly subscription to WSJ through your iTunes account. With a digital subscription you get access to iPad, iPhone, and more.

StubHub version 4.1.0 | FREE: The StubHub iOS app gets updated with more interactive seat maps, the ability to see your view before buying tickets, iPhone 5 support, and more:

• Interactive seat maps for certain football and basketball games: filter ticket listings by section
• View from section: see the view from your section before you buy (for many events)
• iPhone 5 support
• Improved sharing (Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging)
• Ability to add events to your calendar
• User interface enhancements

MapQuest version 3.3 | FREE:

• You can now send maps and routes from to your phone and open them in the MapQuest App

Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin | $0.99: Microsoft’s previously Windows Phone-only title gets iPhone 5 support and new features: expand full story


Kantar Worldpanel ComTech is out with its latest set of sales data today (via BusinessInsider). It claimed the iPhone now has 53 percent of the United States smartphone market. That’s up from 37 percent a year ago and sees Apple passing the 50 percent mark for the first time. The 12-week period ending Nov. 25 included in the report also put Android at 42 percent, which is a relatively significant drop from the 53 percent of the market it had a year ago during the same period. However, Android was still able to maintain the highest share in Europe up 10 percentage points to 61 percent:

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows Apple has achieved its highest ever share in the US (53.3%) in the latest 12 weeks*, with the iPhone 5 helping to boost sales. In Europe, however, Android retains the highest share with 61% of the market, up from 51.8% a year ago.

Kantar’s Dominic Sunnebo said he expected Apple to gain even more marketshare in the weeks to come: “Apple has reached a major milestone in the US by passing the 50% share mark for the first time, with further gains expected to be made during December.” As for Apple’s position behind Samsung as the top smartphone OEM in Europe, Kantar has Samsung at 44.3-percent across five of the biggest markets. Apple sits in second at 25.3-percent: expand full story

Distimo-2012-Year in Review-02Analytics firm Distimo is out today with the full results of its year-end 2012 app analytics report (via Fortune). While Apple is still the clear winner in terms of revenue, Google Play showed significant growth in the last four months. Its daily revenue grew 43 percent in 20 major markets. Apple’s growth was smaller, increasing daily revenue by 21 percent, but Distimo’s numbers show Google still has a long way to go:

On a typical day in November 2012, the revenues in the Apple App Store exceeded $15M USD, while in Google Play the revenues are just below $3.5M USD in 20 of the largest countries in both app stores… Even though the growth in revenues in Google Play in the last four months is close to that of the Apple App Store in 2012, the growth in daily revenues in the Apple App Store was higher than the total daily revenues in Google Play when comparing absolute daily revenue values.

As for the most popular apps of 2012, Distimo said Asian publisher Naver was able to beat Draw Something’s record of 1 million users in nine day. Its app, Line Pop, got 1.75 million downloads in the first 72 hours. That’s something that took Facebook nine months to accomplish. The app also brought over 1 million in revenue for the developer in 12 days.

Distimo-2012-Year in Review-03

To round out the year in review, Distmo breaks down revenue by category in the charts below: the top 10 most grossing cross-store publishers, the top 10 publishers and apps by downloads on the App Store, and the top five highest growing countries by revenue. There aren’t many surprises: expand full story

December 20, 2012


T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog today that 14 new metro areas are getting access to its iPhone-compatible HSPA+ 4G network. The updates are hitting areas such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas, Texas, Florida, and San Antonio, following rollouts to Chicago, California, and elsewhere earlier this month.

The carrier also said enhancements to its network in additional areas like Los Angeles and San Diego have already started. This means that customers on Solavei, the new, no-contract T-Mobile MVNO offering of $49 per month unlimited, will also get coverage for unlocked iPhones in the new areas. A full list is below:

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Just released:

1. Karateka | $2.99: Jordan Mechner, creator of the popular Prince of Persia franchise, and developer of the original fighter classic “Karateka” for the Apple II, is today bringing an HD remake of the game to iOS. Available on the App Store now for $2.99 for iPhone and iPad, the remake of the original 1984 fighter looks to essentially be a port of work done on the HD remake released on consoles last month. The video above features Mechner talking about the remake and comparing the original Apple II version to the new iOS title.

Created on an Apple II by Jordan Mechner in his Yale dorm room, Karateka became a #1 bestseller and influenced a generation of gamers with its groundbreaking rotoscoped animation and cinematic cutscenes… 28 years later, Mechner returns to his indie roots with a new take on Karateka for today’s digital game platforms, featuring art by Jeff Matsuda (The Batman) and music by Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin (Civilization IV).

2. Ravensword: Shadowlands | $6.99 expand full story

December 19, 2012

Verizon and Redbox confirmed on the official Redbox Instant Twitter account that the new unlimited streaming service is rolling out gradually starting today. The $8-per-month Netflix competitor will provide unlimited streaming and four physical DVD or Blu-ray rentals ($9 a month for Blu-ray) and will be available through the browser as well as mobile apps. A Redbox Instant by Verizon iOS app for iPhone and iPad is already available on the App Store. There is also a free one-month trial included.

It is unclear what kind of content deals are in place for streaming, but we do know the service will offer content from Warner Bros., and EPIX.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the service today, you’ll have to sign up for the private beta on the Redbox Instant website.

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kodakToday, Kodak announced the $525 million sale of its patents to two firms, Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation. It is interesting that the two companies will work with 12 intellectual property licensee to pay a portion of the over $500 million price tag. The 12 licensees, who aren’t listed by name in Kodak’s press release, would all receive varying access to the digital imaging patent portfolio and other Kodak patents included in the sale. In turns out that Apple, Google, and many other large tech companies, will provide cash toward the purchase as licensees.

Under the agreements, Kodak will receive approximately $525 million, a portion of which will be paid by 12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, with each licensee receiving rights with respect to the digital imaging patent portfolio and certain other Kodak patents. Another portion will be paid by Intellectual Ventures, which is acquiring the digital imaging patent portfolio subject to these new licenses, as well as previously existing licenses.

Bloomberg is reporting, as relayed by Business Insider, that the 12 companies are made up of Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook, and just about every major player in the tech business:
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Last week, a report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s much rumored HDTV set is now in the “early stages of testing” with partners Hon Hai Precision and Sharp. Today, we get more details surrounding the rumored product from the Taiwan national news agency’s English language Focus Taiwan. According to the report, citing sources close to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the supplier is testing Apple television designs, but the possibility of the product shipping in 2013 is “unlikely”:

Nevertheless, the source said it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of next year.

While the report from WSJ claimed Sharp was involved in the initial testing of the product with Hon Hai, Focus Taiwan’s source claimed the possibility of Sharp displaying panels for the product is “not high”:

Asked whether the new Apple TV will use display panels produced by Japan’s Sharp Corp., the source said the possibility is not high.

The source also claimed that Apple is looking at displays ranging from 46 inches to 55 inches, meaning the company likely wouldn’t rely on Sharp’s plants best suited for production of 60+ inch panels: expand full story

December 18, 2012

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