Seth the blogger guy tells you why AT&T is way behind every other network in the industrialized world (updated w/personal response from Mr. Bloom)

"Seth the Blogger guy" is really Seth Bloom, a Senior Vice President at AT&T’s outsourced public relations group. His title is as genuine as his message.

 

Everything from the 45 degree head tilt to the silly graphics have the ring of an out of touch PR agency trying to hit the blogger demographic. The intent? To stop the downward spiral of negative publicity surrounding AT&T’s fumbling of the iPhone.  Result?  "Save your PR spend and put it into your network."

Update: Mr. Bloom writes in to clarify his postion:

Wow, yeah.  Tough crowd.

I guess that I’d just ask – if you agree it makes sense – that you let folks know that the “blogger guy” moniker stems from what I do for AT&T – work with tech bloggers around the country.  It’s genuine, not contrived. 

Seth [Bloom]

 

 

 

Apple springs iPod with camera cases leak

Two separate iPod case makers today effectively confirmed Apple’s next-gen iPods will carry cameras, reinforcing months of expectation of the same.

UK case manufacturer Proporta has distributed a press release offering cases for the as-yet unannounced iPod nano. The manufacturer hasn’t yet released any images of the new range, presumably being under an NDA of some kind with Apple Inc. – but has confirmed the new models will feature cameras, or at the least it believes they will.

“The new Apple 5G iPod nano looks set to be a typically beautiful new product from the Apple stable, building on the already impressive 4G nano by adding a camera and improving the size of the screen,” the company said, announcing its new range.

The new products include an Aluminium Lined Leather Case and the Ted Baker Leather Case.

Another European manufacturer, Hama, is also showing cases for the next generation of Apple iPods, including for the iPod nano and iPod touch, Engadget reports.

Interestingly, both cases feature holes for the cameras we now know are iPod-bound. Also of interest is the lack of any mention of the iPod classic, which is bound to fuel further speculation that the original iPod may have reached the end of its journey, despite one recent Digitimes report claiming the iPod classic will also gain a camera.

Apple will reveal all on September 9th at a keynote presentation during which the company is also expected to introduce iTunes 9, equipped with extra features. Speculation exists that music from The Beatles will also be made available through the service at the event.

Many also anticipate the introduction of iPhone Software 3.1. While this expectation is based on thin reports, AT&T’s promise to at last provide support for MMS messaging on the device later this month lends a little weight to the notion.

AT&T will not, however, introduce support for tethering, explaining that its networks are not yet sufficiently robust to handle an anticipated increase in data traffic when it does so.

iPhone gains 10% web browsing use in August

Use of an iPhone to access the Web climbed c.10 per cent in August when compared to the previous month, and its share of total internet traffic has more than doubled since October last year, the latest NetApplications statistics inform.

iPhone’s accounted for 0.33 per cent of Web traffic last month, up from 0.30 per cent the month before and 0.14 per cent in October 2008, the figures reveal.

That’s one-third of the number of machines running Linux currently being used to access the Web; and is a higher figure than use of Java ME and Symbian devices to get online.

Mac operating systems accounted for 4.87 per cent of traffic, up from 3.79 per cent in October last year. Windows held fairly steady at 93 per cent, the figures reveal.

Internet Explorer continues to be the most-used browser, with 66.7 per cent share; it’s followed by Firefox with 22.98 per cent and Safari, which grabbed 4.07 per cent of overall traffic, the fresh NetApps stats claim.

Chrome continues to climb, now capturing 2.84 per cent of use, while Opera is used during 2.04 per cent of online sessions, the researchers said.

With Windows 7 due to go on sale October 22, 2009, NetMarketShare.com is tracking its usage market share at  1.18% with the release candidate made available by Microsoft. Most usage comes at the expense of Windows XP users, who have skipped upgrading to Windows Vista, but are now upgrading to Windows 7.
 

iPods keep you fit – Apple targets exercise in fitness freak filing

Apple has filed a patent describing an iPod/iPhone-integrated personal fitness system capable of monitoring and recording personal fitness data, and of sharing and comparing different exerciser’s data using the web.

Patent number 20090221404 involves interfacing portable media devices and sports equipment. It seemingly describes a solution that takes the existing Nike Plus system for personal training and adds numerous bells and whistles.

The abstract of the filing, published last night and filed on September 26, 2008, reads: “Circuits, methods, and apparatus that allow sports or other equipment, such as gym or other cardio equipment, to write data to a media player. Examples further provide the uploading of this data to a computer and third-party website. To monitor progress, the third-party website can be used to track workout data over time. The third party-website can also collect data from other users, which is particularly useful for providing a competitive environment. This data can then be graphically displayed in various ways to provide encouragement.”

The system would enable gym and other such equipment to monitor exercise sessions in order to write that data to the media player. It also lets the data be uploaded to a website, where users can monitor progress over time. That feature also enables data to be gathered from multiple users, so fitness freaks can get all competitive while they sweat over their exercise machines.

Describing the background of the application, Apple writes: “Portable media players have become very popular the past few years and their market penetration shows no signs of abating. People use them when walking, driving, and commuting by bus or train. They are also particularly useful as a distraction or source of entertainment when working out. People often bring these to a gym or similar location to use while exercising.

“While exercising, many people like to keep track of their progress. For example, the distance "traveled" while on a treadmill may be recorded and progress over time monitored. This can provide positive feedback when progress is made; it can also provide encouragement to improve when efforts have been somewhat lacking.

“This data is typically recorded using a clipboard and paper or notebook. However, this is somewhat time consuming. Because people often carve a few minutes out of their day to exercise, it is not desirable to lose time keeping track of this data; they may need to quickly return to work or home. Also, since it does not happen automatically, such record keeping can become spotty at times.

“The portable media players that are often found at the gym are capable of carrying data. Unfortunately, there is currently no simple way to transfer workout data to them. That is, there is no easy way to transfer data from equipment in the gym to a portable media player.”

The application then says that a solution to allow sports and other types of equipment to write data to a media player for record-keeping and other purposes is required.

The inventors are Jesse Dorogusker, Scott Krueger, Lawrence Bolton, Emily Schubert, Gregory T. Lydon, Debbie Lambert, Michael Hailey and Donald Ginsburg.

Microsoft can continue to sell Word – for now…

Microsoft has secured court permission to continue distribution of Word in the US as the company faces an injunction to prevent the same.

Microsoft filed a motion to stay an injunction barring it from selling Word – an essential element of its Office suite with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on August 18. The company has secured the right to appeal a ruling that Microsoft wilfully infringed a patent held by another firm (i4i) for processing XML.

Judge Leonard Davis ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $240 million and placed an injunction against selling Word software in its current form. That injunction is now blocked until the appeals process is over.

i4i alleges Microsoft willingly infringed its patent on processing custom XML when Microsoft included the technology in Word 2003, causing material damage to the smaller company’s business.

The case continues. Download the order to stay the injunction here.

Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac leaked?

According to Crackberry the 1.0.0Beta version of the Blackberry Desktop Manager has been leaked.  If you are a Blackberry-toting Mac User, you may want to check this out. 

Crackberry has installed and is running this program.  Boy Genius has also installed and run it.  A word of caution beyond the "You would be installing anonymous beta software from the net" warning:  There is word around the Twittersphere that the Blackberry Desktop Manager phones home, and sends more info than you’d probably like (especialy since you are using unauthorized software) to RIM.  Other than that Happy Blackberrying!

 

Snow Leopard 10.6.1 (10B503) seed build notes posted

The 10.6.1 build 10B503 notes were posted today by World of Apple.  Along with the following improvements, the build includes an updated version (MAC 10,0,32,18) of Adobe’s Flash Player which was a few revs behind when released last week.  The build is a significant step up from Snow Leopard GM 10A432 and addresses a variety of issues but is under 72MB in size.  From the seed notes:

The 10.6.1 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes for:

  •  compatibility with some Sierra Wireless 3G modems
  •  an issue that might cause DVD playback to stop unexpectedly
  •  some printer compatibility drivers not appearing properly in the add printer browser
  •  an issue that might make it difficult to remove an item from the Dock
  •  instances where automatic account setup in Mail might not work
  •  an issue where pressing cmd-opt-t in Mail brings up the special characters menu instead of moving a message
  •  Motion 4 becoming unresponsive

AT&T schedules MMS for September 25th, tethering? "Ask us later"

AT&T’s network, which is crumbling under the pressure of the high iPhone traffic, seems to be the reason why we haven’t seen MMS and tethering.  Should AT&T have noticed about two years ago that iPhone traffic was starting to tax their network?  Should they have waited until now to roll out some upgrades?  That’s what they are claiming as the reasons for holding back MMS and tethering.  

AT&T said today that MMS messaging, which has been a glaring omission on the iPhone 3G and new 3GS, will arrive on Sept. 25. It’s not quite the "late summer" launch that we were told about, is it?

Why the delay? Well, AT&T said earlier that it was because the company was "finalizing internal system upgrades".  They say that tethering will be announced sometime in the future.

Really? We have to wonder why all of the other industrialized world telcos and some of the third world iPhone carriers have had MMS and tethering since launch.

Full Press release:

An Update on iPhone MMS for our Mobility Customers

We know many of our iPhone customers are eager for an update on our rollout schedule for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). We’ve been working for the past several months to prepare our systems and network to ensure the best possible experience with MMS when it launches – and that launch date is: September 25 for iPhone 3G and 3GS customers. MMS will be enabled through a software update on that day.

We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end.

We’re riding the leading edge of smartphone growth that’s resulted in an explosion of traffic over the AT&T network. Wireless use on our network has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and is projected to continue at a rapid pace in 2009 and beyond. The volume of smartphone data traffic the AT&T network is handling is unmatched in the wireless industry. We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.

We thank you for your business and look forward to keeping you updated on our initiatives.

EFI MacBook Pro drive problems prevail

If you own a Unibody MacBook Pro and plan to upgrade the internal hard drive of the machine, then Apple’s Discussion Forums are warning of a serious issue which could affect you, a faithful 9to5mac commenter has reported.

The problem first surfaced in June this year, and continues to vex users today, if the 1,067 posts across 72-pages describing the situation are to be believed.

Apple introduced its EFI Firmware 1.7 update in June. The company’s tech note states this: “Addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro.  While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.”

While most Mac users have reported no problems subsequent to installing the firmward update, others installing SATA II drives have experienced inexplicable crashes, system freezes and a variety of other problems. Some report that the system fails to recognise the newly-installed third-party hard drive when attempting to install Mac OS X.

Apple tech support have clearly been alerted to this issue, with Genius Bar operatives using tools to reinstall a previous firmware version, which has been described as fixing the problem. Another solution which some have claimed success with is to run an archive-and-install of  Mac OS X 10.5.8, but even here some customers report the problem returning later on.

We’re interested in finding out if any more of our readers have been affected by this problem, and if they have found any successful way in which to mend their Mac in such cases.

Snow Leopard using older version of Flash?

According to UK security vendor Sophos, the shipping version of Flash in Snow Leopard (10.0.23.1) isn’t the most recent.  In fact, it is a few months old and likely would have installed over a newer version had you kept up with Flash updates.

Sophos being a security vendor, recommends Snow Leopard users to update to the latest version of Flash, lest they be vulnerable to the latest security attacks aimed at Flash users.   To find out what version of Flash you are using, head to Adobe’s Version tester here.

Adobe have also reccomended that Snow Leopard users upgrade their Flash players:

The initial release of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) includes an earlier version of Adobe Flash Player than what is available from Adobe.com. We recommend all users update to the latest, most secure version of Flash Player (10.0.32.18) — which supports Snow Leopard and is available for download from http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer.

 

 

Via Macworld UK

Sony Walkman briefly outsells Apple iPod in Japan

Sony Walkman outsold the iPod in Japan for the first time in four years, new research claims – but the research is flawed…

Electronics research firm, BCN, made the new claim for Japanese marketshare this morning, saying Sony’s Walkman claimed 43 per cent of local sales of portable music players in the week ending August 30. This compares to Apple’s 42.1 per cent share.

These results are being explained as significant because they represent the first time since January 2005 Sony has beaten Apple in this market, but the figures don’t include iPhone sales, rendering them questionable.

Sony is offering its products at lower prices than those Apple charges, but despite the slight lead, analysts aren’t totally blown away. “Sony has gained customers seeking less expensive products and those seeking high quality by broadening its lineup,” Kazuharu Miura, an analyst with Daiwa Institute of Research told Bloomberg. “But you can’t really say Sony regained its competitiveness against Apple unless it improves its market share in the U.S. and Europe.”

Apple’s music player sales will also have been impacted by expectation of new model iPods later this month. Promise of a product upgrade will inevitably depress sales of the current range. We can’t see Sony’s slight lead maintaining itself once new iPods ship.

Sales of portable music players in Japan fell by 13.5 per cent in August from a year earlier, the report claims.

Meanwhiole, Credit Suisse analyst, Bill Shope, raised his target price on Apple stock from $175 to $200 this morning, predicting strong Mac and iPhone revenues, and positive momentum from next week’s iPod refresh.