Initial iWatch Shipments May Be Limited Due to Sapphire Issues, Half of Devices May Use Glass Displays

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Echoing his earlier iWatch predictions, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today suggested (via AppleInsider) that Apple’s iWatch will be available in limited quantities in 2014, with only three million devices hitting store shelves before the end of the year.

Kuo says that while market predictions point towards shipments between 5 and 10 million smart watches before the end of 2014, his own prediction based on supply chain checks is at three million units due to the iWatch’s late production date.

Balogh-iwatchTraditional watch-style iWatch concept by Gábor Balogh
Earlier this month, Kuo released a report pointing towards a November production date for the iWatch. Difficulties developing the screen for the device as well as its sapphire crystal cover are said to have slowed development on the iWatch, pushing back targeted production dates. “We believe developing the hardware and OS of iWatch will be a much more difficult task than for Apple’s existing products,” Kuo wrote.

Kuo believes that continued problems with the sapphire display for the iWatch may lead Apple to produce some of the devices with glass covers instead of sapphire. In the note, he also points towards TPK as the supplier for the iWatch’s touch module. TPK’s recent earnings report has suggested iWatch production has been delayed and will not begin until until the fourth quarter.

Apple is said to be aiming to introduce the iWatch at an October event, which means it may debut before production even begins. In the event that the device does not enter production until November, Apple may launch the device well after it is first introduced, much like it did with the Mac Pro. As a result, the iWatch may be available in very limited quantities in 2014, with availability increasing in early 2015.



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Intelligent Time Management App ‘Timeful’ Launches on iOS [iOS Blog]

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Timeful, described as “the first intelligent time manager” for mobile devices, is a new iOS app designed to help users manage their lives by combining a time management app with a calendar, a to-do list, and habits. Timeful aims to provide a personalized experience that encourages people to commit to various self-improvement activities and complete goals.

The app connects to the calendar on an iOS device, importing already existing events into a daily view that includes all tasks that must be completed. It also incorporates to-do functionality, allowing users to create tasks and file them under separate colored headings like Personal, Work, Fun, and, Important. To-do tasks can be scheduled for “Today,” “Tomorrow,” “Someday in the next 7 days,” or on a specific date.

timeful
Specific calendar events can be scheduled in much the same way, entering the task and selecting a time. One major negative of Timeful in comparison to other calendar apps is the fact that it doesn’t accept conversational input, meaning users have to manually select times and dates for calendar events.

Along with accepting calendar and to-do input, Timeful also includes a “Habits” feature that sets it apart from other time management and task apps. With Habits, users can enter frequently repeated tasks such as “Take a Walk,” selecting preferred days and times to perform the tasks, which Timeful will then work into a busy schedule. Events and habits show up directly on the calendar at scheduled times, while to-dos are listed at the top and can be completed at any time during the day.

As users complete tasks and fulfill habits, Timeful will learn more about a person’s habits, figuring out the optimal time to present each task for completion.


Timeful is the first Intelligent Time Assistant that gets things scheduled so you’ll get them done.

Timeful combines your calendars and to-do lists so you can see everything that’s competing for your time in one place. It uses sophisticated algorithms and behavioral science to suggest – based on your own available time and location – the best times to schedule to-dos and good habits throughout your day.

Timeful can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



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Microsoft’s Office for iPad Apps Gain New Picture Tools, Fonts, and Ability to Send Files as PDFs

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint received a major update today that adds several new user-requested features to each app. All three apps have gained the ability to export files as PDFs, and each one has also gained new Picture Tools that let users crop to focus on the right part of an image. Third-party fonts have also been added to each app.

Excel now includes improved external keyboard support to make the experience of using Excel on the iPad more like a desktop usage experience. There are more print options available, and a new “Flick to Select” feature lets users flick to select all data in a row or column.

microsoftoffice
Word didn’t gain new features beyond the Picture Tools, Fonts, and ability to send PDFs, but PowerPoint has seen some improvements. The app has a new Presenter View that lets users view and edit speaker notes, see next slides, and jump to other slides while presenting. Presenter tools allow for highlights and drawings to be erased within presentations, while new media features make it possible for users to play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting. There are also new tools to insert videos from the Camera Roll and add/edit hyperlinks.

Today’s update is the second major update the Office software has gotten since its March release. Back in April, the three apps gained some important features that had been missing since launch, including the ability to print directly from the apps.

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps have proven to be highly successful for the company and back in May, just over a month after the software had been released, the apps had seen more than 27 million downloads.

Microsoft has committed to continually improving its Office for iPad apps, which now directly compete with Apple’s own iWork suite including Numbers, Keynote, and Pages.

All of the updates to the new Office apps are currently available and can be downloaded from the App Store for free. While the apps can be accessed for free, unlocking full capabilities, including editing and creating documents, requires an Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft Word for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft Excel for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad [Direct Link]



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Apple’s Content Delivery Network Now Live, Making Faster OS X/iOS Downloads Possible

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple’s content delivery network is now live in the US and Europe, reports analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan (Via ArsTechnica). The CDN may deliver multiple terabits of data per second, allowing Apple to more efficiently to distribute software updates and other content to its customers.

apple-cdn-traceroute
Apple’s CDN apparently went live recently as current trace routes provided by Rayburn show that OS X downloads are piped directly from Apple to internet service providers, such as Comcast. Apple is paying for this direct route in order to avoid congestion and other issues during times of high volume traffic, such as when a new version of OS X is released. Other providers who possibly have negotiated these interconnect deals with Apple are rumored to include AT&T and Verizon, both of which have similar contracts with Netflix.

Apple has not publicly commented on its CDN plans, but the company is expected to use the network to deliver iOS and OS X downloads, while gradually transitioning its iTunes and App Store away from Akamai and other Level 3 CDNs.

“It’s too early to know how much traffic will come over and when, but Apple’s already started using their own CDN much faster than I expected. The pace of their build out and amount of money they are spending on infrastructure is incredible. Based on my calculations, Apple has already put in place multiple terabits per second of capacity and by the end of this year, will have invested well more than $100M in their CDN build out.”

Apple allegedly has been working on building this content delivery network for several years, with a rapid acceleration in the past year to bring the service online. The rollout of this network brings content delivery under Apple’s direct control, helping to ensure its customers can access data reliably and quickly.



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Apple Now Replacing Damaged iPhone 5s Displays in Retail Stores [iOS Blog]

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

iphone5sApple will soon be able to offer display repairs on the iPhone 5s directly within its retail stores, alleviating the need to send the devices to an off-site repair center. As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple Stores are currently accepting large deliveries of iPhone 5s screens for the repair program and in-store repairs are set to begin on Monday, August 4.

The in-store repairs are part of an effort to lower repair costs. Apple first began offering in-store phone repairs for the iPhone 5 back in June of 2013, and expanded to iPhone 5c repairs in January of this year.

Users with a cracked or damaged iPhone 5s display that do not have AppleCare+ now have the option to pay a $149 fee to get the screen repaired right at an Apple retail location. Prior to establishing an in-store repair center, users were forced to pay $229 for a replacement screen as Apple had to send damaged devices off-site.

With the ability to replace iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s screens, Apple can significantly cut down on repair costs and wait times. In a June 2013 employee meeting, Apple noted that its in-house repair policies could save the company as much as $1 billion per year.



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Apple Trimming 200 Employees From Beats Team to Streamline Overlapping Functions

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

beatsbydreAs part of its pending acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, Apple has begun making offers to Beats employees that will see roughly 200 of Beats’ 700 positions phased out over the next few months. News of the job cuts was first reported by 9to5Mac yesterday, with additional detail provided by the New York Post.

According to the reports, most of the job cuts will be in human resources, finance, and other areas where there is overlap between Apple and Beats staff. Some Beats employees will reportedly transfer to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, while others will remain at Beats’ current facility in the Los Angeles area.

Apple has issued a statement to Re/code confirming that some Beats employees have received only temporary offers from Apple as part of the transition.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr’s explanation: “We’re excited to have the Beats team join Apple, and we have extended job offers to every Beats employee. Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we’ll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple.”

Apple’s $3 billion deal to acquire Beats and its headphone and streaming music businesses has been approved by European regulators, but will not be finalized until U.S. regulators sign off on the deal. Apple indicated at the time the acquisition was announced that it expects the deal to close this quarter.



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Researcher Details USB-Based Attack That Circumvents All Known Protective Security Measures

July 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

usb3Security research Karsten Nohl of Berlin’s SR Labs has revealed a flaw in USB devices that potentially allows hackers to evade all know security measures used by a computer. In a report by Wired, Nohl says his BadUSB exploit is “almost like a magic trick” because “you cannot tell where the virus came from.”

The exploit takes advantage of a flaw that allows a hacker to tamper with the firmware that controls the functions of USB devices such as mice, thumb drives and keyboards.

Because BadUSB resides not in the flash memory storage of USB devices, but in the firmware that controls their basic functions, the attack code can remain hidden long after the contents of the device’s memory would appear to the average user to be deleted. And the two researchers say there’s no easy fix: The kind of compromise they’re demonstrating is nearly impossible to counter without banning the sharing of USB devices or filling your port with superglue.

“These problems can’t be patched,” says Nohl, who will join Lell in presenting the research at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. “We’re exploiting the very way that USB is designed.”

Nohl, along with fellow SR Labs researcher Jakob Lell, will present additional details on this attack during a presentation at the annual Black Hat hacking conference, which will be held next week in Las Vegas. The title of his presentation is “Bad USB – On Accessories that Turn Evil.”



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