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Selfie Overload: The iPhone 6 ‘Burst Mode’ Can Take Up To 10 Photos Per Second

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Once more, Apple has anticipated the needs of Millenials and teenagers alike.

The newly-introduced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones include, among a plethora of new features, one of the first cameras to be redesigned with selfies in mind.

The phone includes a tool called “burst” mode, which means that the camera shoots 10 photos in a row with only one button push. For selfies, burst mode is the difference between a genuine laugh and that gross, one-eye-shut face we all make from time to time.

With the extra mode, users can move between the versions of the photo to choose the one that’s best.

In addition to burst photography, the new iSight camera also has improved facial recognition software that works to capture eyes and smiles at their best.

That’s a selfie we can all get behind.


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Photo Courtesy: Apple

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/technology/iphone-6-burst-mode-selfies/748553/

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Apple Sells Out of All iPad Mini Models

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Apple iPad mini

Apple has sold out of its initial inventory of all iPad Mini models just three days after the new device became available for pre-order online.

The shipping times for all three Wi-Fi versions of the black and white iPad Mini have now been pushed back to two weeks, indicating that the initial stock is sold out. The LTE-enabled iPad Mini models have not yet gone on sale.

Apple worried some investors with its decision to the price the new 7.9 inch tablets starting at $329, significantly more than competing tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, but the sales so far suggest that demand for the iPad Mini is strong even with the higher price.

Have you ordered an iPad Mini? Let us know in the comments below.

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Apple Patents the Virtual Page Turn

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Apple is now the proud owner of the page turn.

In a patent approved this week by the United States Patent Office Apple was awarded a design patent for “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface.”

The patent illustration shows three images: One with the corner of a page being turned slightly, the next with it halfway, and a third showing the page almost entirely turned over.

A feature used in Apple’s iBooks, and books in general, the patent represents one of 38 different patents granted to Apple this week.

The New York Times points out that this isn’t the first “seemingly obvious” patent that Apple has been awarded. Previously the company was granted a patent for the musical note icon it uses to represent iTunes and the glass staircase it uses it stores.

Over the past several years Apple has made quite a few headlines for its involvement in patent suits against other device makers.

Earlier this year Apple won a patent lawsuit against Samsung, walking away with $1 billion in restitution, and has recently made moves to go after Samsung products that were released after that court ruling, including the Galaxy Note 10.1.

Earlier this week it settled a different patent case with handset maker HTC with a 10-year licensing agreement of patents held by both companies reportedly requiring HTC to pay Apple $6-$8 per Android handset it sells.

Should Apple have been awarded a patent for the page turn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thumbnail Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kertlis Patent Image: US Patent and Trademark Office

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/16/apple-page-turn-patent/

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It’s the Software, Stupid.

I bought my phone almost two years ago. Today, it does things it didn’t do back then, like shooting cinemagraphs, wirelessly syncing with my computer and beaming stuff up to my TV. My first Xbox 360 didn’t play Netflix or Hulu when I bought it back in 2007. Now it does. My Kindle turns pages faster now than it did when I pulled it out of the box. The weird part isn’t that these things have new powers that they didn’t once upon time—it’s that I’d actually be upset if they didn’t. I expect my phone to be better today than it was yesterday, better tomorrow than it is today.

That wasn’t always the case. When Sony shipped a Walkman, TPS-L2, it stayed the same. Four or ten or 15 years later, the play button worked just like it did the day it left the factory. (Unless you broke it.) A TV was a TV was a TV. The hands on a watch turned. And turned. And turned. Until they didn’t. Once they were given form in plastic or metal or glass, gadgets weren’t malleable objects. Form was function, forever.

What changed? It’s the software, stupid.

Gadgets aren’t just hardware anymore. Hardware is, more and more, just a delivery mechanism for software, toast under the jam. Consider the iPhone or iPad: They’re blank slates. A screen with a battery bolted on the back fitted together by a glass or aluminum shell. Inside of them are basically the same guts, the same silicon as the shitty $99 Android tablet I wouldn’t inflict on even the most loathsome human being (except maybe Chris Brown, fuck that guy) or the Windows Phone you’ve never heard of. More and more, it’s the software that makes a gadget different or special, or even more simply, good or bad. A beautiful piece of technology running garbage software is just beautiful garbage.

We’ve crossed a point in which basically every gadget is a computer of sorts. Partly because we wanted them to be smarter and connected and because the world is simply a digital place now—there’s no such thing as an analog mp3 player—but the ability to remake our listening devices and televisions in a computer’s image has been driven by the fact that computing power and sensors got dirt cheap, and are getting cheaper everyday. The secret behind Microsoft’s $150 Kinect is sensor technology that cost $10,000 before Microsoft got its hands on it. Your phone is stuffed with an array sensors: gyros, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, multiple mics, a camera. So of course all of your gadgets are tiny computers. Why wouldn’t they be? And when everything’s a computer, it’s the software that counts.

And while the iPod was a better music device than my Creative Zen because it was more beautiful and the jog wheel and interface was less stupid and iTunes made me want to scatter my brains across my screen slightly less than whatever demon software Creative had shipped to siphon your music onto it, now that nearly everything is a touchscreen, we’re in a place where, at least with most of our gadgets, there is nothing for designers to do but subtract, stripping and cutting and reducing, leaving as little as possible but a naked screen. Which means there’s nothing left but software. An iPhone is easier to use than the average Android device not because its volume button is in a different place or shaped differently, but because an army of designers and coders hacked together a bunch of bits and graphics that are easier to use than the guys at Samsung did. It’s sort of QED, particularly as guys who’ve spent many decades in the consumer electronics business—the Panasonics and Samsungs and Sonys of the world—try to make gadgets the way they used to, or worse, try pretend they’re a software company when they’re really not, and put out things that make VCR jokes look like the good old days.

The thing about bits is that you can change them whenever you want. Say, if you’re Apple, and there’s a massive privacy controversy over the way you allow developers access to people’s entire address book willy-nilly. You just push out an update. Problem solved! If Sony had shipped a Walkman that ate toddlers’ hands, well, it would eat their hands until it was recalled. There was no pushing an update. Which is great, when say, Microsoft wants to make my Xbox do new, cool things. But the downside is that we now live in a permanent beta culture. Companies ship products before they’re ready because they know they can fix them later. I literally cannot count how many times I reviewed a product at Gizmodo that was buggy, slow or otherwise crap, only to be met with the earnest-but-cheerful response, “We’re about to do an update! It’ll fix everything!” It very rarely does.

I’m not trying to say that good hardware design or adequately strong guts don’t matter anymore—I wouldn’t want a deathly slow iPad that was three inches thick and weighed 2 pounds—just that software is the soul of technology now. (I guess you could make a quip about a homely person with a lovely soul, but when it comes to things I want, I want it all.) Which is why the best stuff, more and more is made by software companies who are just serious enough about their software to make the hardware too. In other words, I hope you love Apple, Microsoft and Google, because you’re going to be buying a lot from them.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mattbuchanan/its-the-software-stupid

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Why the iPod Still Matters to Apple

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Apple was widely expected to announce a press event for a brand new product on Wednesday — the iPad Mini. Instead, the company doubled down on an old and sometimes overlooked product, the iPod.

Apple aired a new commercial for the iPod on Wednesday night, which was the first new iPod ad since November of last year, according to TBWA/Media Arts Lab, the agency behind it.

The commercial is the latest sign that Apple isn’t giving up on the 11-year old product just yet. Apple announced a major refresh of the iPod line last month, updating the iPod Touch with a bigger screen and several new color offerings, and releasing a much thinner iPod Nano with built-in fitness features.

The iPod re-energized Apple’s brand in the early 2000’s and helped kick start its transformation from struggling has-been to the world’s most valuable company. In recent years though, the iPod has taken a back seat behind Apple’s two other hugely successful mobile i-Products, the iPhone and iPad. The ads showing silhouettes dancing to music on their iPods are a distant memory, replaced now by lonely celebrities yammering to Siri on the iPhone.

Even though the iPhone and iPad now account for far more of Apple’s revenue than the iPod, the line of music players does still have a role to play in Apple’s business.

A Billion Dollar Business

For the most part, iPod sales have declined year-over-year since 2008 — the year after Apple released the original iPhone — but the product still brings in more than $1 billion in revenue each quarter for the company.

Apple sold 6.8 million iPods in the June quarter of this year, resulting in $1.06 billion in revenue. That represents about 3% of Apple’s overall $35 billion in revenue for the quarter, but it’s still more than the company makes from software and peripherals.

However, those numbers don’t give a complete picture about the value of the iPod.

Dominating the MP3 Player Market

As Apple pointed out in its last earnings call, the iPod continues to dominate the market for portable music players, making up more than 70% of the market in the U.S. Some might roll their eyes at the idea that Apple touts being the leader of a market that it itself is cannibalizing. That said, the iPod continues to be one of the leading ways that people consume music.

According to the most recent data from the NPD Group, 43% of online users 13 and older listen to music on portable music players, a category that does not include smartphones or tablets. The same percentage of those surveyed say they consume music through online radio services. So the iPod dominates a means of music consumption that is as popular as Pandora and Spotify.

Russ Crupnick, an analyst covering the entertainment and music industries for NPD Group, suggests that part of the reason for this is that many consumers continue to prefer to have a “dedicated music device” for specific use cases.

“Apple has usage situations that are unique to the form factor of the iPod,” Crupnick told Mashable. For example, many consumers may be more comfortable taking the iPod Shuffle to the gym than their iPhone, for fear of losing or breaking the latter, not to mention the fact that the Shuffle is smaller.

A Gateway to Apple’s Ecosystem

Perhaps the biggest reason that the iPod is still useful to Apple is that it serves as a gateway to its brand, and more importantly, its ecosystem of products.

Crupnick and NPD have found that the iPod and iPod Touch are far more popular among children 14 and younger than the iPhone, iPad or Android smartphones. In total, about 28% of U.S. households surveyed by NPD say their children use iPods and iPod Touches regularly, compared to 7.4% for iPhone and 7.5% for iPad. The iPod Touch is particularly popular among those at the upper end of that age bracket.

“When the kid starts to get older and deserves their own device, parents aren’t spending the money on a full-blown tablet, or on a data plan, but an iPod Touch is a perfect compromise,” Crupnick said. As a result, he says that the iPod gives Apple a way to reach younger consumers.

Children aren’t the only demographic that Apple can reach with the iPod. As Crupnick points out, half of Americans still don’t own smartphones. “There are lots of people who think the economics of a smartphone don’t make sense, or they don’t have a need for it, or else the kids are a little too young or the adults are a little too old,” Crupnick says. For many of these consumers, an iPod — or more likely an iPod Touch — can serve as a substitute.

What’s more, considering that the iPod Touch is essentially an identical experience to the iPhone minus the data plan, it may just condition some of these hesitant consumers to eventually transition to the iPhone, which is now Apple’s core business, even if it’s not as exciting as a new iPad Mini.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/11/apple-ipod-ads/

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Apple, It’s Time to Make Something New

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Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Something truly astonishing happened in San Francisco Wednesday. And it had nothing to do with the iPhone 5 launch.

In the blue above the city, three skywriting jets hired by an artist and a design company wrote the first 10,000 numbers of Pi — yes, 3.14159 and 9,994 more — in dot-matrix numerals a quarter-mile high.

Carefully coordinating each plane to write every third character, they looped the number-string 150 miles around the Bay Area, a feat that made geeks everywhere gasp and think of three more characters: O, M and G.

Meanwhile, down on the ground, a technology company released a phone that was a little bit taller.

I don’t mean to begrudge Apple‘s big day. The launch event was a lot of fun. The iPhone 5 is a superior gadget with plenty of under-the-hood incremental innovations, and seems certain to become the world’s bestselling smartphone. The LTE battery life thing is a cool achievement. We get it. If I were on the iPhone 4 two-year upgrade cycle, rather than being halfway through my 4S contract, I’d probably be lining up for one come Sept. 21.

But the “Pi in the Sky” project served as a timely reminder of how much technology can awe and inspire, and that technology companies should try hard to make new things that push the boundaries of that. In fact, it put me in mind of Sergey Brin’s fantastic aerial display at Google I/O.

At that launch event, the Google co-founder bounded on to stage, in an unscripted moment that would make Tim Cook blanche, and asked us if we would like to see a demonstration of his mysterious experimental glasses-with-a-tiny-screen project, Google Glass. Why yes, Sergey, yes we would.

We were rewarded with a jaw-dropping live stream from the glasses of skydivers in a Zeppelin, one of the world’s only three Zeppelins, which happened to be flying right over our heads. The skydivers parachuted onto our roof, jumped on bikes, did tricks, then zoomed into the hall to deliver the glasses. And the crowd went wild.

A stunt? Certainly. But it spoke of the daring risk that Google is taking with Project Glass, an entirely new kind of user interface. The kind of roll of the innovation dice that it’s unfortunately hard to imagine Apple making under its current leadership.

The world’s most valuable company has chosen to play it very safe indeed, throwing all its engineering know-how into microscopic levels of innovation in a handful of hardware products. What’s the only new Apple gadget on the horizon for sure right now? A smaller iPad.

And that’s great. More power to them. I can’t wait to see the iPad Mini either. But at some point soon, Apple might have to look around and admit it has ceded the title of Silicon Valley’s most innovative and inspiring company to Google.

As a loyal Apple user who can’t bear to imagine Android fans getting that smug, I implore Tim Cook: Please don’t let that happen.

Tim Cook’s Walter White Moment

If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, you know this recent and resonant scene (spoiler alert) where Skylar White drags her husband to a storage locker. Here she’s been keeping his surplus cash, spraying it for silverfish, unable to count it because each bundle is stuffed with too many denominations. Skylar turns to Walt and asks: Is this, finally, enough?

(Not quite a spoiler alert:) It does the trick.

I’d like to think that at some point Tim Cook will be taken to a storage locker, or rather an aircraft hangar, and shown the entire pile of Apple’s cash on hand. The company had $100 billion just sitting around in early 2012, and that could grow to $200 billion in 2013.

Apple has grudgingly announced it will start to give $45 billion of that to shareholders, in the form of dividends and stock buybacks (the latter is more an investment for Apple than a giveaway). For the rest, it won’t account.

You can look at this all sorts of ways, but economists tend to get very frustrated at the fact that Apple simply refuses to reinvest this money in the economy — take chances, grow the company, design lots of new things, hire lots and lots of people to make and sell them.

That’s the way money is supposed to work. That’s the way it has worked, historically, in America. And when the world’s most valuable corporations choose to sit on their hoards like feudal lords — especially at a time of high unemployment — the economy suffers. People suffer. And Apple itself suffers, because it’s leaving even greater growth on the table.

It makes sense that Tim Cook would want to keep a healthy hedge against the future, a rainy day fund. Like Walter White, he’s been burned. The scars of 1997 and ’98, when the company was teetering on the edge of going out of business, are still there.

Cook was the inventory guy Steve Jobs hired to fix that problem, and he became the master of delivering just a few products in massive quantities very quickly. This was what part of what took Apple from zero to $100 billion in 14 years.

But the other half was innovation. Specifically, a leader who worshipped it. Who invented entirely new product categories. Who would constantly pepper Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, with product proposals that began: “Hey Jony, here’s a dumb idea.”

Jobs was a restless innovator. Toward the end of his life, he was not only coming up with supposed breakthrough ideas for a television — the still-rumored iTV — he was sketching out designs for planes and boats that outshone those of his billionaire pal Larry Ellison.

The “just a few products” limitation was something Jobs imposed on the company reluctantly, as a way to make it focus, to get out of its rut. But he always wanted to stretch the limits of what technology could do — such as saving the music industry from itself.

Cook has earned the right to run the company the way he wants. And for all we know, Jobs-like innovations at the macro level continue quietly in the most secret bowels of Apple. (They’d have to be a whole lot more secret than the iPhone 5 features.)

But the signs don’t point to that. They point to a company that is spending just 2% of its revenue on R&D, is focused on exquisite tiny details (those shiny diamond-cut edges!) at the expense of big ideas, and is satisfied with being ever more dominant in a few categories with reiterated products.

Jobs’s comeback was Apple’s second act. Now comes its third, in which the old rules and careful constraints don’t apply. An act in which the company has to decide in what way to expand, now that it has so much cash it could build more than 50 Space Shuttles.

So here’s hoping we’ll see some moonshot product launches, ones that surprise and even risk making us laugh (remember how we joked about the iPad name?). Here’s hoping Apple gets what SpaceShipOne builder Burt Rutan once told me. “If you don’t have a consensus that it’s nonsense, you don’t have a breakthrough.”

Here’s hoping, even though — especially when — it’s pie in the sky.

BONUS: A Look at the iPhone 5

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iPad Mini Launch Event Coming Oct. 17

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Invitations to Apple’s next big event, announcing the highly-rumored iPad Mini, will be sent out on October 10. The event will follow a week later on October 17th, with the launch of the device coming shortly after on November 2nd.

All this according to a report in Fortune, which cites an Apple investor who has heard the dates from “multiple sources.”

Rumors have been circulating about an iPad Mini for some time, with many of those rumors pointing to an October product announcement.

Purported leaked photos of the pint-sized tablet show a 7.85-inch device with aluminum-back casing similar to the current iPad, a rear-facing camera, and Apple’s new lightning connector. The front of the tablet is thought to look much like the current iPad, with a black — or potentially white — bezel surrounding the screen and a home button at the bottom.

The iPad Mini is also expected to be less expensive than the current iPad, putting it against tablet’s such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire in the marketplace.

Traditionally secretive about it products, Apple has not acknowledged plans to create a smaller version of the iPad — nor has it officially indicated plans to have an event of any kind in October.

Will we see a smaller iPad later this month? Give us your prediction in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/01/ipad-mini-launch-october-17/

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Apple-Samsung Patent War and Two Other Stories You Need to Know

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Welcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. Today, we’re looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Apple’s Patent War With Samsung Heats Up

It’s official: Despite Samsung’s appeal, the sales ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 stays. It’s possible that the same fate will happen to Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, and even its flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S III.

This series of setbacks probably won’t significantly hurt Samsung’s sales, but it’s definitely bad news for the company as well as Google, who develops the Android OS. The patent trial is scheduled to start July 30.

Nokia: Google’s Galaxy Nexus Infringes on our Patents

Google’s recently launched Jelly Bean tablet, the Nexus 7, infringes some of Nokia’s patents, claims Nokia.

“Nokia has more than 40 licensees, mainly for its standards essential patent portfolio, including most of the mobile device manufacturers. Neither Google nor Asus is licensed under our patent portfolio,” a Nokia spokesperson told The Inquirer.

Twitter’s Transparency Report: ‘We Comply With 63% of Government Requests’

Twitter released its first transparency report Monday, admitting it handed over user data in some form to governments in 63% of cases. On the other hand, Twitter claims it refused all requests for censorship of tweets.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/03/apple-samsung-brief/

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Google Overtakes GE as Fifth Most Valuable U.S. Company

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Google‘s stock has been on a tear in recent months, rocketing from about $559 a share on June 14 to an all-time intraday trading high of $764.89 on Tuesday. The stock closed at $749.38 for the day.

Thanks to this stock surge, Google’s market cap has ballooned by more than $60 billion in that time period to roughly $245 billion. In the process, Google has gone from being the tenth most valuable company in the United States to the fifth most valuable, passing other juggernauts like Chevron and IBM along the way, according to data from the Bespoke Investment Group.

Most recently, Google overtook General Electric, whose market cap currently sits at around $236 billion. Google is also on the verge of passing Walmart, whose market cap is just shy of $250 billion, to become the fourth most valuable company in the country.

Apple is far and away the most valuable company in the country, having passed Exxon Mobil earlier this year, with a current market cap of more than $631 billion.

Google’s stock surge isn’t attributed to any one factor so much as a combination of strengths in the company, including positive reports about its display advertising and Android activations, as well as strong consumer demand for its Nexus tablets.

GOOG Chart

Image courtesy of Flickr, TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/25/google-fifth-most-valuable-company/

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Ouya Raises More Than $2.4 Million and Two Other Stories You Need to Know

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Welcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world. Today, we’re looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Ouya Raises More Than $2.4 Million on Kickstarter

Ouya has raised more than$2.4 million, far surpassing its initial goal of $950,000, for the development of an Android gaming console.

The project founders now want the public to give them ideas for “stretch goals.” In other words, they want you to tell them what to do with all that money.

“We are blown away by your support. With your help, we just raised $2 million. And it’s only the first day. Now we want to blow you away. The biggest thing for us right now: we are working on our stretch goals, what we can do if we raise more money. It might take us a few days to figure that out, and we want your help,” said Ouya in an update on Kickstarter.

Apple Responds to Environmental Concerns After Withdrawing From EPEAT

Apple has recently withdrawn its products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry, raising concern among organizations which adhere to the standard, for example the city agencies of San Francisco. Now, Apple has responded, claiming its own standards are, in some cases, stricter than EPEAT’s.

“Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials,” Apple representative Kristin Huguet told The Loop.

Google Maps Smithsonian’s 17 Museums

Google has mapped Smithsonian’s 17 museums, the National Zoo in Washington, as well as locations in northern Virginia and New York City. The maps, totaling 2.7 million square feet are accessible to visitors with Google Maps for Android.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/11/apple-epeat-brief/