Roundtable: What we think Apple has planned for its September 10th event

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With the rumored September 10th Apple keynote just weeks away, the rumor mill is in high gear and, as per usual, expectations will be soaring higher than ever as the date nears. For some products, a refresh or introduction is all but confirmed. For others, there only exists speculation or mere wishful thinking for even a mention at the keynote. Below you’ll find the opinions of some 9to5Mac staffers. Read more

Google I/O 2012 Liveblog

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

For those interested in what the folks at Mountain View are announcing this morning, check out 9to5Google. Seth Weintraub is live-blogging from the event now:

Here are a few vids for some of the key announcements:

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Grand Central Apple Store bonus: Free Wifi


As a Grand Central commuter, Late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon articulates my feelings on two great things coming together.

But here’s an awesome bonus that offsets the added foot-traffic that stands between me and my train: Free speedy Wifi which stretches throughout the main concourse.  It is fast and it goes way beyond the store (even in some trains!).  I wonder what was required by its contract with the MTA and which is Apple just being cool. Read more

What is different about a Tim Cook Apple?

It wasn’t much of a surprise when Tim Cook said “Apple is not going to change” in his letter to employees as newly appointed CEO following Steve Jobs’ resignation. Not long after that, we published a story about what we called Cook’s first “anti-Jobsian move”. Of course many questions arose surrounding how Cook’s sales and operations background may influence his leadership style, and how it might differ from Jobs.

Today we get a look at just how the company has changed under Cook’s guidance with the Wall Street Journal publishing a story detailing the moves the new CEO has made since taking over in August:

In recent weeks, Mr. Cook has tended to administrative matters that never interested Mr. Jobs, such as promotions and corporate reporting structures, according to people familiar with the matter. The new chief executive, 50 years old, has also been more communicative with employees than his predecessor, sending a variety of company-wide emails while addressing Apple employees as “Team,” people close to the company said.

According to the report, Cook was also behind a recent restructuring of the company’s education division, a move which split the business (which until now operated “fairly independently”) into a sales and marketing structure and incorporated it into the company-wide sales and marketing divisions. The restructuring will place additional responsibilities on Apple execs Phil Schiller and John Brandon.

Citing “former executives” and others close to the company, the WSJ claims Cook will also “be more open with shareholders” and note he’s expressed desire to meet with investors more often than Jobs. After Cook’s statement that he’s “not religious about holding cash or not holding it” during Apple’s earnings call last month, it’s not much of a surprise many expect the new CEO to be more open to stock buybacks or dividends as well.

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Motorola outs the new RAZR, beats the iPhone 4S on thinness (except the part that doesn’t)


Motorola teaches us the difference between the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S and 4.3-inch RAZR.

Motorola has just unveiled the DROID RAZR and it looks like it beat the iPhone in the thinness department (except the upper part housing the camera that isn’t). Motorola’s device is, according to the blurb, “impossibly thin”, measuring just 7.1mm versus 9.3mm for the iPhone 4S. This 4G LTE handset driven by Android 2.3.5 features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display with an qHD resolution, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM plus an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, 32 gigabytes of storage and Bluetooth 4.0.  It weights a slight 121 grams compared to the iPhone 4S’s 140 grams.

But 7.1mm thin?  Sure, except the part that is 10mm thin housing the camera.

They also have an optional lapdock that looks a lot like a MacBook Pro. The physical design boasts an interesting combination of Gorilla Glass and KEVLAR. Motorola is claiming up to 8.9 hours of video playback and 12.5 hours of talk time. The device is available for pre-order beginning October 27 on the Verizon Wireless network, starting at $299, with an expected launch sometime in November. Our own Seth Weintraub is live-blogging the announcement over at 9to5Google so feel free to hop over if you’re eager to find out more or check out the official RAZR mini-site. More juicy press shots, a nice teaser video and full press release after the break…


They also compare 4G LTE RAZR to 3G iPhone 4S. BTW Moto, thanks for free advertising!

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Amazon’s $199 Fire is a 7-inch Fire tablet with no cameras, mic or 3G access and Nov. 15th release date

Just as Amazon’s media event begins in New York, serving as a launchpad for their inaugural tablet, Bloomberg spoils the announcement by publishing key pieces of information about the device. It will be called the Kindle Fire, as rumored, and will cost just $199, which is a pretty big deal.

The tablet is powered by a dual-core processor, has a seven-inch color display which responds to touch (just two fingers at once, though) and a “fresh and easy user interface” running on a forked Android version. You can read e-books on it, listen to music, watch movies and play games available for download through the Amazon Appstore for Android. Meanwhile, our own Seth Weintraub is on the scene in New York at Amazon’s press conference and here’s what he was able to glean from Amazon’s announcement…

A biggie: The device will come with a 60-day free trial of Amazon Prime (a $79 a year value) membership and pre-registered with your Amazon account, so you can literally use it right out of the box. Bad news: It has no cameras – not even a microphone. Heck, it even lacks 3G access so looks like the Fire will be a Wi-Fi affair only. The Kindle Fire is available at Amazon’s newly published Fire page and over at amazon.com/kindlefire. November 15 can’t come soon enough.

As for competition, check out this side-by-side specs comparison of Amazon’s Fire, Apple’s iPad 2 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, courtesy of The Verge.

That, plus this bit from the Bloomberg article:

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is betting he can leverage Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce to pose a real challenge to Apple’s iPad, after tablets from rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. have fallen short. Sales of Amazon’s electronic books, movies and music on the device may help make up for the narrower profit margins that are likely to result from the low price, said Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners Corp. in New York.

The analyst observes what all of us have known for a long time, that the Seattle-based online retailer has the most compelling ecosystem to take on Apple’s iTunes juggernaut. His quote plus three more Fire shots after the break.

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