Sony expands camera operations to likely supply Apple with front-facing iPhone cameras

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Sony is positioned to dramatically increase its sales of CMOS cameras to Apple for use in an unreleased iPhone, Nikkei Asian Review reports. Sony already supplies most of the rear-facing iSight cameras shipping on iPhones today, and as the report suggests, negotiations between Sony and Apple to double the amount of CMOS sensors supplied points to Sony also providing the sensor for the front-facing iPhone camera… Read more

The backstory: Sony’s 2001 offer from Steve Jobs to run Mac OS on Vaio laptops [Updated]

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Update: the rumor was true, Sony confirmed that it is selling its PC business and the VAIO brand to Japan Industrial Partners, with the deal set to complete by the end of March.

Former Sony President Kunitake Ando says that Sony turned down an offer from Steve Jobs back in 2001 to allow it to run Mac OS on Vaio laptops, several years after the original Mac clone program ended in 1998.

Speaking to freelance writer Nobuyuki Hayashi, Ando described the moment Steve Jobs met senior Sony execs to make the offer.

Most of Sony’s executives spent their winter vacation in Hawaii and play golf after celebrating the new year. In one of those new year golf competitions back in 2001, ” Steve Jobs and another Apple executive were waiting for us at the end of golf course holding VAIO running Mac OS”

But there is an interesting Backstory told through Quora by the wife of an ex-Apple Engineer working on the Marklar project…  Read more

Opinion: What are Apple’s plans for 4K displays?

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There was one notable omission from Apple’s recent flurry of new product announcements: a 4K display. It will launch one in time, of course – and I’ll come to that shortly. But in the meantime, there’s the question of how it demonstrates one of the key capabilities of the new Mac Pro.

Sure, they could hook it up to multiple Thunderbolt Displays, but that’s not the same: Apple made a point when launching the machine of pointing out that it could drive three simultaneous 4K displays. That’s a capability you’d imagine it would want to at least show off in-store, and perhaps even offer for sale …

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iPhone expected to become market leader in Japan, thanks to DoCoMo deal

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Photo: mashable.com

Apple is expected to become the market leader in Japan, with the iPhone 5s and 5c forecast to make up 40 percent of all new contracts on Japan’s DoCoMo carrier, reports Nikkei (via CNET).

The 40 percent figure is believed to be the quota that Apple and DoCoMo agreed on, the report said […] This development marks a tectonic shift in DoCoMo’s strategy and the Japanese phone market in general. Domestic phone suppliers like Sharp and Fujitsu are expected to suffer as a result …  Read more

Leaked press shots show Sony’s upcoming 20.2MP, Carl Zeiss camera lens attachment for iPhone & Android

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Last month a report from often reliable sources claimed that Sony was readying a new Carl Zeiss camera lens with a 20.2 MP sensor that would attach onto a smartphone and connect over WiFi or NFC. Today, SonyAlphaRumors is back with more details on the new products and this time has high-quality images of the upcoming “Lens-camera” accessory with what appear to be leaked press shots.

What you see on these images are the DSC-QX10 and DSC-QX100 lenses. Actually these are not normal lenses! They have built-in sensor, Bionz processor, Wifi/NFC wireless connection and SD card slot. These lenses have no LCD screen and no usual camera controls. You will be able to control them through your smart phone or tablet.

The report claims that Sony will be launching two models “soon”, one with a RX100MII sensor and Zeiss lens, and another that features a “10xzoom lens with 1/2,3 inch 18 megapixel CMOS sensor” (pictured in the image with the f/3,3-5.9 lens). It also says the camera lens will be available for both Android and iOS devices.  Read more

Apple’s iTunes Radio label royalities revealed, plans to add talk radio for sports, weather

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Leading up to the unveiling of Apple’s new iTunes Radio service earlier this month at WWDC, we reported on some small details regarding deals Apple had reached with the major labels necessary to get bring its Pandora competitor to market. Earlier reports claimed that Apple was paying Warner around 10% of ad revenue– that’s around twice as much as Pandora reportedly pays. Today, The Wall Street Journal provides us with some in-depth info on what Apple is paying labels and publishers after taking a look at the terms of the deal.

Apple will in fact be paying well over the 0.12 cents per listen Pandora offers the labels, as well as a percentage of ad revenue, and the payout will also increase during the service’s second year:

During iTunes Radio’s first year, Apple will pay a label 0.13 cents each time a song is played, as well as 15% of net advertising revenue, proportionate to a given label’s share of the music played on iTunes. In the second year, that bumps up to 0.14 cents per listen, plus 19% of ad revenue.

However, there are some exceptions. The report notes that Apple won’t have to pay royalties for songs that users already have in their iTunes library. That will apparently extend to “songs that might be on an album that a listener owns just part of.” Interestingly, Apple also won’t pay for songs skipped before the 20 second mark and those included in special promotions, but it can only skip paying royalties on two songs per hour for each iTunes Radio user: Read more

iRadio is a go as Apple reportedly signs deal with Sony

Earlier this year, we discovered buttons in iOS 6 that seem to imply that users will be able to purchase the songs that they listen to via Apple’s upcoming radio service.

Earlier this year, we discovered buttons in iOS 6 that seem to imply that users will be able to purchase the songs that they listen to via Apple’s upcoming radio service.

AllThingsD reports that Apple has secured a deal with Sony to launch its long rumored iRadio service. You may recall Sony was the last major record label to secure as Apple had already signed deals with both Warner and Universal. We expect to see iRadio previewed at WWDC which kicks off Monday.

Sony Music has signed on to Apple’s forthcoming iRadio service, according to a person familiar with negotiations between the two companies.

WSJ previously reported that Apple will pay Warner 10% of ad revenue, which is about twice as much as Pandora contributes. Apple’s own iAd service is set to refocus its attention on supporting the music streaming service with audio ads for the first time since its launch.

Peter Kafka goes on to report that it’s possible that Sony/ATV, its publishing wing, may not have officially inked its deal with Apple:

It’s still possible that Apple may have hurdles to clear. As of earlier this week, the company had yet to sign up Sony/ATV, Sony’s music publishing arm.

But the gaps between Sony/ATV and Apple were supposedly smaller than the ones between Sony Music and Apple were looking at a few days ago.

While Apple’s iRadio service should be announced on Monday, it is possible it won’t be available for end users until later this year when iOS 7 completes development. Similarly, the iCloud-based iTunes Match service was announced with the preview of iOS 5 and made available to members of Apple’s iOS Developer Program in June 2011, but saw a delayed launch following iOS 5’s release in October later that year.

Tune in Monday at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST for our live coverage of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference where we’ll be on location. In the mean time, you can check out our comprehensive preview of what we expect to see at WWDC. Read more

Official ‘second screen’ PlayStation PS4 app for iOS and Android announced

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At Sony’s PS4 keynote, game developer Evolution Studios promised its driving game Drive Club would have a “second screen” option for Android tablets. This would allow gamers to socialize with other players from a tablet, but it was previously unclear if this feature would be compatible with games and devices other than Android tablets.

Just a mere four hours after today’s keynote, Sony has announced a new version of its “PlayStation App”. It is compatible, in addition to Android, with iOS devices. The app will turn tablets and phones into a “second screen” controller. Users will also be able to download games to their PS4 while on the go, so they’ll be ready to play once they arrive home.

It is currently unknown if the app will be similar to Microsoft’s Xbox app that allows users to view the stats of other gamers. Sony has yet to announce a release date, but the console is scheduled to arrive during the 2013 holiday season.

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Just a monster CES 2013 roundup [Gallery]

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International CES 2013 is officially ending, so we decided to share some of what we saw from the show floor and surrounding events. 9to5Mac has tons of CES coverage for some of the most interesting new iOS accessories, advancements in display technology, and new Apple-related products we saw at the show right here, but below we have put together a collection of photos and video we shot while walking the many acres of CES exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Enjoy.

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Angry Birds Seasons, Opera Mini, Square in Canada, Music Unlimited, more

Angry Birds Seasons version 2.3.0: Rovio updated its Seasons edition of Angry Birds with 30 new levels for Halloween and much more. The HD iPad version gets the same update.

BOO! The pigs are hiding in their spookiest location yet: a haunted house! The Angry Birds will have to brave ghosts and ghouls to get their eggs back — if they can survive the house first! Are your eyes playing tricks on you or did that painting just move?!

-Explore the scary secrets of the brand new haunted house!
-Try to survive 30 all new spooky levels!
-Shiver and shake to the ghostly new Halloween music!
-Use the brand new ghost bricks for fun trick shots!
-Say hello to Frankenswine and the other pigs, all dressed up for Halloween!

Square Register version 2.4: Square is officially rolling out its payment service internationally today with the Canadian launch and an updated Square Register iOS app. Full details in the company’s press release here.

- Square Register is now available in Canada!

Opera Mini version 7.0.5:

 – Integration with iOS Facebook framework (iOS 6+)
– Improved performance when saving large images
– Fixed freeze after sharing via email
– Fixed video playback on youtube.com (iPhone and iPod)
– Performance and stability fixes
– Added support for iOS 4.2.1
– Various iOS 6 related fixes

Music Unlimited version 1.2: The iOS app for Sony’s subscription music service gets a decent update today with the ability to “Create channels inspired by your favorite artists” and more:

· My Channels – Create channels inspired by your favorite artists.
· Playlist management – Create and edit playlists on your mobile device.
· Some features have been improved.

Lumify version 2.0: One of our favorite new social video apps gets a big update: Read more

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and others meet with UN’s ITU for patent peace talks

Update: While the meeting apparently didn’t result in any resolution, ZDnet reports the ITU’s Malcolm Johnson said the ‘heated debate’ “has gone a long way to help clarify the positions” of the companies involved:

“Today’s event has gone a long way to help clarify the positions of various stakeholders in determining the effectiveness of FRAND commitments and the impact of litigations surround standards-essential patents,”

ZDnet also reported Motorola argued “Apple was misunderstanding the way FRAND works in the telecoms industry”:

“For 20 years the [FRAND] licensing commitments made by innovators in the communications industry have been sufficient,” Warren said. “Past experience would indicate that [FRAND] has been effective… but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement to improve the present situation.”

The world’s biggest tech companies are meeting today for a Patent Roundtable with the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union to “assess the effectiveness of RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) – based patent policies.” The meeting will take place at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and according to several reports, it will include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, and many of the industry’s other biggest players. The discussions follow high-profile, patent-related cases and failed settlement talks between Samsung and Apple, while the European Union continues to probe Motorola, Samsung, and others over potential abuse of the patent system. It also comes as Google’s legal chief David Drummond issued statements to the press calling for a reform on software patents.

A report from BBC noted others attending the roundtable include: Qualcomm, Cisco, Research in Motion, Intel, Philips, Huawei, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard. BBC also provided statements from the companies that submitted pre-event arguments (below).

According to the ITU, the meeting will have the following objective: Read more

Will the next-gen iPhone feature an upgraded camera system?

In the lead up to Apple’s Sept. 12 media event, where most expect the next-generation iPhone to be unveiled, there are still some things —believe it or not— that we don’t know about the device. The new iPhone is rumored to sport a longer, four-inch display, a smaller dock connector, an overall thinner design, updated RAM, and other internal components. But we have not heard much about the camera, which is one of the most important parts of any smartphone.

There is some evidence that Apple has now centered the FaceTime camera, such as the next-generation iPhone backs that we posted in May, and Apple seems to be moving toward FaceTimeHD, but we also expect the device’s rear camera to receive an upgrade over the previous-generation iPhone 4S.

While the iPhone 4S introduced a redesigned 5 lens camera system with a new sensor and 8-megapixels, the game has definitely been stepped up with a number of camera-related product announcements from Sony, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. If the next-generation iPhone’s camera is to keep its lead with the most recent devices announced by these manufacturers, Apple is likely planning an improved camera system for the ‘iPhone 5′.
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