Government officials call on Apple, Google & others to secure smartphones following increasing thefts

Apple police

After sending a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google, and others questioning if the companies could be doing more to prevent increasing thefts of smartphones, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has now scheduled a face to face meeting with the companies to discuss the issue.

NYDailyNews reports Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon will meet with representatives from Apple, Google, Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft at a June 13 “smartphone summit” in New York.

Schneiderman wants the same thing that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has been pushing device makers on in recent months– a ‘kill switch’ that would render a device inoperable and discourage thefts of devices:

Letting customers shut down their phones would make them worthless on the black market and reduce so-called “Apple picking” — the fastest-growing street crime in New York City. Schneiderman cited statistics that show a 40% jump in the theft of mobile devices in New York City in 2012.

Back in December, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed thefts of iPhones and iPads were the cause of the increase in the city’s annual crime index and the NYPD’s most recent report showed crimes involving Apple products in the city had increased 40 percent. Read more

Leak causes flood at Fifth Avenue Apple Store, employees blame recent construction

Apple-store-flood

The New York Post reports that the flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan was flooded following heavy rain in the city this morning due to a leak in the retail store’s roof. The flood apparently began shortly after opening at approximately 8 a.m while around 15 customers were shopping in the store. According to reports from NY Post, employees blamed construction completed on the location last year for the leak: Read more

Apple analysts react to Galaxy S4 launch with a variety of wild insights

Samsung-GalaxyS4-vs-iPhone-5

Samsung officially unveiled its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone last night at a theatrical, Broadway-style presentation in New York, and analysts are quick to jump in today with opinions on what it means for Apple. AAPL is having a decent morning hitting a high of 442.50 and opinions from analysts seem to be split down the middle regarding whether the S4 has what it takes to cut into Apple’s market share.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray doesn’t seem too impressed with the S4 upgrade but noted Samsung’s new S Band is “a quick first pass for Samsung on wearable technology ahead of Apple’s watch. Munster added that he expects Apple to launch its smart watch product by 2014 (via Barron’s):

The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek thought the S4 will be “incrementally negative for Apple” but doesn’t view the S4 upgrade as “revolutionary” (via Zdnet): Read more

Movies and TV Shows oddly disappear from Apple TVs for many users

Several 9to5Mac readers, most of which are located in the United Kingdom, reported that movies and TV shows have oddly disappeared from the Apple TV menu. A thread on Apple’s Support forums confirmed many users are now experiencing the issue.

While the problem originally appeared to only affect users located in the U.K., more reports on Twitter, as highlighted in the selection of tweets below, from New York, France, Ireland, and Australia further confirmed missing icons. One user on Apple support forums claimed Apple informed him the icons would be restored soon and that the stores continue to work in the U.S. and Luxembourg:

Read more

Google’s launches Android holiday lineup: LG Nexus 4, Samsung Nexus 10, $299 4G 32GB Nexus 7

Google is making some big product announcements today, despite having to cancel its event due to Hurricane Sandy. Among the announcements: a new Nexus smartphone from LG, a Samsung-built Nexus 10 tablet, and updates to Google’s 7-inch Nexus 7 lineup.

LG Nexus 4: Google is launching the much-rumored LG Nexus 4 on Nov. 13 starting at $299. Much of the specs were confirmed previously, but Google has interestingly decided to not offer an LTE-capable model of the device. It is, however, including a wireless charging dock. T-Mobile is Google’s premier launch partner for the Nexus 4. Full specs on 9to5Google.

Samsung Nexus 10: Clearly, Google’s iPad competitor, its new 10-inch offering, is a Samsung-built tablet that packs in iPad-like specs starting at $399. The Verge said its 10-inch 2,560-by-1,600-pixel resolution (same as 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro) display is “on par with the iPad’s Retina display, with sharp text, excellent color fidelity, and great viewing angles.” Full specs and more here.

Nexus 7: Google has also confirmed today that its 7-inch Nexus 7 lineup is being refreshed. Google’s iPad mini competitor will now start at $199 for 16GB, and it will offer a 32GB model for $249. Those are both Wi-Fi-only, but Google will also offer an HSPA+ 32GB model for $300, $30 less than Apple’s entry-level iPad mini. The 8GB model is gone. That 32GB HSPA+ Nexus 7 is going up the bigger iPad mini that starts at $329.

Head over to 9to5Google.com for more coverage of Google’s leaked product announcements. Oh, and Microsoft is launching Windows Phone 8 as well.

Verizon CFO says unlimited is ‘going by the wayside’, many customers embrace Share Everything

Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo told attendees at a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York today that unlimited data plans are no longer relevant and the carrier’s Share Everything plan is doing well.

“We are surprised on shared from many different aspects,” said Shammo, as first reported by CNET. “…More people are going to shared than we actually anticipated. And the thing that really surprised us is we have a lot of people coming off unlimited to go to shared.”

Verizon’s Share Everything plan launched in June and allows users to, well, share data with up to 10 devices through a single account. The carrier stopped offering unlimited data to new customers last year, due to growing smartphone usage clogging the carrier’s pipelines; and with the standard now at 4G LTE, Verizon is likely trying to capitalize on every bit of data funneled through its network.

Unlimited data customers are flocking to Share Everything, Shammo suggested, because many of them realize they don’t consume much data. He also noted customers have added more devices than expected.

“Unlimited is just a word, it doesn’t really mean anything,” Shammo contended. “So that whole unlimited thing I think is going by the wayside and they see the benefit of going to the shared. “

Read more