June 11, 2012

During the opening keynote of WWDC 2012 that took place this afternoon, Apple announced a slew of new features in Mountain Lion, Apple’s next Mac OS that is set to ship next month for $19.99. Earlier this evening, Apple released Developer Preview 4, giving us a first look at the new features. Namely, the new features include Facebook integration through the entire operating system, Apple’s new Mac Dictation feature that works much like it does on iOS, 1080 AirPlay mirroring, and several UI enhancements throughout. The additions definitely make the operating system feel like it’s ready to ship, as a GM is most likely coming out in the coming weeks. Let’s talk specifics.

When developers first got their hands on Mountain Lion earlier this Spring, Twitter was integrated throughout the entire OS. Now, Apple has now become sort-of buddies with Facebook, which now brings integration across Mac and iOS. Apple has added a Facebook login under the “Mail, Contacts, and Calendars” setting in System Preferences (note: developers have to download a separate .dmg to enable). Notifications for Facebook now appear in Notification Center and appears with the various sharing methods that are now present in Mountain Lion. For instance, you can just click the share button in a number of apps to simply post links and such to Twitter and Facebook. Safari is where this type of sharing is big. Speaking of Safari, it has gotten a nice makeover in Mountain Lion, with a huge Javascript boost and new features like Smart Search Field (think Google Chrome Omnibar), a new iCloud Tabs that keeps your tabs and bookmarks synced across your devices, and a new Tab View feature that lets you swipe through the tabs loaded on your other devices. As for when Facebook integration will actually hit the masses, it won’t be actually until this Fall, we learned this evening. It’s upsetting that it’s actually not going to be included at Mountain Lion’s launch.

We’re really excited for the new Dictation feature that allows you to natively speak to your Mac by simply just right clicking the microphone button. Apple says this feature works throughout Mountain Lion, “even in Microsoft Office.” From there you just speak natively, like saying “9to5mac.com” into Safari. We know you type it a lot, so why not make it easier by just saying it.. But seriously, it’s really cool.

If you have an Apple TV, you’re going to love Apple’s new AirPlay Mirroring, which allows you to mirror what’s on your Mac in a 1080p stream to your Apple TV, allowing everybody to look what your working on. This feature is perfect for meetings, getting rid of the need for expensive projectors.

Other minor enhancements included in the new Mountain Lion build are Game Center, better feature integration for Chinese users, and a whopping list of 1,700 APIs that give developers a little more flexibility when developing their apps. The Game Center is a lot like the Game Center featured on iOS, allowing you to share scores and more with the friends you’ve added on the social network. Speaking of the Chinese features, Apple has added an all new Chinese dictionary, integration with the popular Baidu search in Safari, and the ability to hook up with various popular Chinese email providers in Mail. As for UI tweaks, Notification Center has been given a new logo, a larger amount of space when it’s opened, and Mountain Lion’s dock has been given a bit of a tweak — looking quite nice.

Mountain Lion is sure to feature a ton of great features when it hits next month. Check out our tour of the new features we just discussed in the gallery that Sonny Dickson helped us build, below:

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Apple’s Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall just unveiled iOS 6 while on stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference. According to Apple, iOS 6 includes 200 new features. Apple started demoing new Siri features this morning, which includes the ability to bring in-depth sports information. Other Siri partnerships—like Rotten Tomato for movie trailers and OpenTable for making dinner reservations—allow the voice-controlled personal assistant to do some cool, new things. For instance, Siri can now launch apps. Just say “Play Temple Run,” and then the app will launch. Other features:

  • A new feature called “Eyes Free” brings deep in-car integration with a long-list of automaker partners.
  • Apple’s new Maps solution that ditches Google Maps. Features Siri integration, turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic information, and a feature called Flyover.
  • Facebook has now been integrated all the way throughout iOS 6. You can share photos to Facebook right from the Camera Roll. It’s even integrated with contacts and calendars. You can also like songs and apps in the iTunes Store with your Facebook account.
  • You can now share photo streams with select people.
  • A new app called Passbook allows you to store your keep tickets, coupons, and cards.
  • FaceTime now works over cellular.
  • You can now send a phone call to voicemail, respond with a text message, and set a reminder to call back.
  • A new Mail app, featuring VIP inbox.

iOS 6 will be available this fall, and available to developers on the Dev Center later this afternoon.

Read more on the new Siri features. expand full story

June 8, 2012


Thanks @astern for the imagery

WWDC 2011 was the last Apple event Steve Jobs would be a part of and one of the last public appearances he made. Since then, Apple has continued to soldier on, adding value to its market cap and releasing new smash hit products like the iPhone 4S last fall and the new Retina iPad and 1080P Apple TV this spring.

This year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, WWDC 2012, will pick up where last year’s event left off. It will introduce major updates to Apple’s mobile and desktop operating system, the cloud-based syncing strategy, and it will bring Mac hardware back to a Mecca of Apple’s top software developers for the first time in three years.

There have been a lot of WWDC predictions, many made on information we made available. Over the past month and change, we’ve revealed the lion’s share of what’s now known about WWDC 2012, and we have some more to share in our highly anticipated WWDC 2012 round-up.

We break down everything you should expect into categories of iOS 6, iCloud updates, OS X Mountain Lion, and the exciting updates to multiple Mac hardware lines. Our complete round-up is available after the break:

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May 24, 2012

February 16, 2012

Mountain Lion will cater to Chinese users more than any other OS X version. CEO Tim Cook once more underscored the importance of China by highlighting Mac sales in today’s interview with the Wall Street Journal. Sales doubled in the 1.33 billion-people market during 2011 to the tune of $13 billion in revenue.

“They know about Apple and what Apple stands for. Then they search out and look for the Mac”, he told the paper. Apple’s promotional material said Mountain Lion makes it easy to “set up Mail, Contacts, Calendar, video sharing, web searching, and blogging on your Mac using many popular services in China.”

For starters, Chinese input method in Mountain Lion has “significant enhancements.” Secondly, Apple worked hard to make sure customers in China get a localized experience by providing the ability to select Baidu search in Safari. Baidu is the dominant search engine in China, ranked No. 6 in Alexa’s global rankings and No. 1 in China with an estimated 56.6-percent share of the country’s 4.02 billion search queries as of June 2011…

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It has been only seven months since Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.7 Lion and today the company announced Mountain Lion—the next major update to its desktop operating system. As 9to5Mac first learned in October, Mountain Lion brings even more popular iOS features to the Mac platform. The notion is shared by those Apple invited to a private briefing a few day ago: Mountain Lion is all about putting even more of iOS into the bowels of OS X. Meanwhile, iOS-ification of OS X continues with Twitter integration in Mountain Lion and new iOS-esque apps, such as Messages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirroring, Notes, Reminder, Game Center, and deep iCloud integration.

With over a hundred million iCloud accounts now in use, Mountain Lion’s setup assistant will now ask you to set up an iCloud account for the Documents in the Cloud and Find My Mac features, as well as to sync contacts, email and chat messages and calendar entries. You can also access your iCloud storage in Finder and drag and drop documents for manual syncing between iOS apps that support Documents in the Cloud and their desktop counterparts.

AirPlay Mirroring is another welcome addition for those wishing to securely beam a 720p video stream of what is on your Mac to a HDTV through the Apple TV. Share Sheets, a new system-wide feature, is accessible from Apple’s and third-party apps for sharing links, photos, and videos. Like in iOS, Twitter integration means you give your Twitter credentials once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview and supported third-party apps.

Mountain Lion Beta is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today whilst end-users can upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012. The company also pledged to update OS X once a year from now on. For more information, check out Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion Sneak Peek page.

The full release, more features and two press shots are after the break.

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September 23, 2011

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If all of the rumors are true, Amazon has a 7-inch “media tablet” that runs a forked version of Android and will connect to all of Amazon’s services, including its Appstore, Movies, TV, Music and of course eBooks. It won’t be true multi-touch but the rumored price is half of the iPad’s (just like the screen) at $250.  Who is making this for Amazon?  Foxconn of course.

Yes, it sounds just like a Nook (which is getting an interesting update soon) with a better backend store.

via Verge expand full story

June 29, 2011

The iPhone 4 officially landed in the 1.2 billion people market of India on May 27, beginning at 34,500  Indian rupees (about $760) for the 16GB version after a two-year service agreement. But pricing the phone at $760 (which also raised red flags with the government) meant putting the iconic product out of reach for the 41.6 percent of the total population that lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

No wonder Android is a big hit in India. Not for long, if Apple has any say over it. According to a local report, Apple’s pulling out its secret weapon – the cheaper, unlocked iPhone 3GS which is now being advertised by local carriers Airtel and Aircel. It ain’t gonna be cheap either – certainly not by the living standards of the 41.6 percent of impoverished population – but the upper-middle class could take the bait:

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May 9, 2011

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand in the post-recession world, says the latest 2011 Top 100 ranking of global brands by BrandZ, a Millward Brown subsidiary of advertising company WPP. The iPhone maker, which last year ranked third, knocked Google, the world’s most valuable brand in 2010. Apple emerged ahead other top brands from a variety of industries such as computers, automotive, telcos, banks and clothing, to name just a few.

The organization estimated Apple’s brand value at north of $153 billion, which shouldn’t be confused with Apple’s market capitalization that currently stands at a cool $324 billion. Google’s brand value dropped two percent to an estimated $111.5 billion, enough to rank second.

Apple earned an 84 percent increase in brand value with successful iterations of existing products like the iPhone, creation of the tablet category with iPad, and anticipation of a broadened strategy making the brand a trifecta of cloud computing, software, and innovative, well-designed devices.

The BrandZ rankings were first published five years. Apple’s brand value in the BrandZ rankings increased 859 percent from just $16 billion in 2006, thanks to the successful business with iOS devices that helped Apple become the world’s most profitable handset maker and the biggest mobile devices company by revenue.

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January 13, 2010

Not really an Apple story here but an important one for the technology world.  As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, Google has thrown down the gauntlet and said they’d no longer be willing to censor Chinese search results and are willing to leave China before doing so.  The move is related to recent attacks on around 20 corporations by Chinese hackers where trade secrets and personal information of human rights activists might have been compromised. Google seems to insinuate that the attacks were carried out by state-sponsored groups.

Google also were previously minority owners of Baidu, the leading Chinese search engine — which is not probably prepared to leave China.   We’re interested in knowing what you think of all of this.

February 4, 2008

The Scotsman throws it out there:

GLOBAL giants including Apple and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp are believed to be considering rival bids for the internet company Yahoo, which has received a $44.6bn (£22.6bn) offer from Microsoft.

The conglomerate InterActiveCorp was another company named as a potential bidder for Yahoo, which is said to be unwilling to give in to Microsoft without a fight.

After Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer made the offer in a letter on Thursday, it emerged that Yahoo had rejected a similar takeover attempt by Ballmer’s organization a year before.

Yahoo chief executive and co-founder Jerry Yang is understood not to be Microsoft’s greatest fan, and would be prepared to line up another ‘white knight’ rather than concede to Ballmer.

It is believed he would be particularly open to a rescue bid from Steve Jobs’ Apple Corp, having openly expressed his admiration for the firm in the past.

Apple does have a bit of cash laying around ($16 Billion) and Steve Jobs did pay the Yahoo! VPs a visit last year.  According to Kara Swisher, it was quite the motivational speech.  Steve Jobs also knows how to bring a company back from the brink of collapse (see Apple 1997).

Stranger things have happened – and the drive from Cupertino to Sunnyvale is a bit shorter than from Redmond – not to mention that the Valley culture is much stronger at Apple and Yahoo than at Microsoft.

Also, Apple has much less overlap in products and services than Microsoft does with Yahoo. 

The unlikely move however, would put Apple in direct competition with (Apple Board member) Eric Schmidt’s Google, a partner and ally in its battle vs. a Microsoft dominated marketplace.

Other white Knights include InterActiveCorp, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp (yikes!) and some foreign suitors.

Dinosaur Securities analyst David Garrity even thinks it’s possible that China’s search leader, Baidu.com Inc., or Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba.com Inc. might bid for Yahoo. Alibaba.com is 40 percent owned by Yahoo.  He also considers Apple a potential suitor.

 Still though.  Super-unlikely.

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