Monthly Archives

September 2013

Technology

iPhone Sales Top 9 Million

Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c break a record and sells 9 million units

“This is our best iPhone launch yet?more than nine million new iPhones sold?a new record for first weekend sales,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.”

Congrats Apple! I can’t wait to get my 5s in few weeks.

Asymco has a fantastic graph showing how significant the past weekend was for Apple. It even compares it to the competition. Localytics found that the 5s outsold the 5c by 3.5x. This shows that Apple doesn’t even really need to make a “cheap” device.

A German hacker group “breaks” into Touch ID

CCC, one the world’s largest and most respected hacking groups, posted a video on its website that appeared to show somebody accessing an iPhone 5S with a fabricated print. The site described how members of its biometrics team had cracked the new fingerprint reader, one of the few major high-tech features added to the latest version of the iPhone.

It doesn’t look that convincing…but if this is correct, Apple’s moved the bar to breaking into those phones from stealing the phone and a 4 digit (or no passcode) to having:
–  Stolen iPhone
– a 2400 dpi resolution image of the correct fingerprint (where the hell will they get this?) 
– a 1200 dpi laser printer & transparent paper
– Pink latex milk or white woodglue
– a non-trivial amount of time

That doesn’t seem like a real “hack” to me. A real hack would have been something like opening control centre, going to camera, then bypassing the passcode.

Additionally, Touch ID is completely misunderstood by many critics. The point of Touch ID was to help solve the problem that many users go about their daily lives without a passcode. Which is the worst possible scenario. Touch ID solves it to a great extent for general consumers.

Steve Jobs’ childhood home may become historical site

Jobs moved to the house with his foster parents as a 7th grader, and lived there through high school.

In the attached garage, he and Steve Wozniak toiled to assemble the first 50 Apple 1 computers. The pair sold them to Paul Terrell’s Byte Shop in Mountain View for $500 each.

A version of the ranch-style house appears in the recent “Jobs” biopic with Ashton Kutcher.

Nine months later, in 1977, Apple Computer Co. was formally established and moved its operations to nearby Cupertino.

Good for Steve and his family. They deserve this.

 

Technology

September 20, 2013

Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c expected to hit a record 6-million 

In New York, customers queued up around the block to get into Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store. The gold-coloured version of the device sold out during the morning at the Regent Street location in London, and U.S. carriers pushed back shipment dates for that model to October.

I hate line ups, so I woke up at 3AM EST and successfully ordered the 16GB iPhone 5s in the new Gold colour along with a black leather case. The Apple store says I should have it by October 16. Fingers crossed. Tim Cook and other execs were at the Palo Alto store.

The full Businessweek interview with Tim Cook

“We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone. Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost. Therefore, we can pass that on. And we figured out a way to sell 4S at substantially less than we were selling it for before, and we’re passing it on. So we think there will be a lot more people in our tent, and we can really serve a lot more people. And that feels good.” – Tim Cook

It’s fantastic to hear it straight from Mr. Cook that Apple was never ever looking at lowering the quality of their products. The rest of the interview involves stocks, Android fragmentation and Touch ID.

USA Today’s interview with Jony Ive and Craig Federihi

A case is point is iPhone 5s’s TouchID, a fingerprint scanner embedded in the central and lower home button that instantly reads a print presented to its glass eye at almost any angle. Ive is literally at a loss for words when asked to describe its creation.

“This right here is what I love about Apple, this incredibly sophisticated powerful technology that you’re almost not aware of, it absolutely blows me away,” he says. “You can’t get this without working cross-functionally.”

Federighi is quick to admit that any engineer tasked with such a challenge would be sure to call attention to his brilliant work. “You know, you’re going to have some big message saying ‘Scanning!’ and buzz-buzz-zzz-zzz later it says ‘Authenticated,’ blink-blink-blink, with 10 seconds of animation,” he says, as Ive starts laughing.

“Ultimately we realized all that had to disappear,” says Federighi. “If it disappears, we know we’ve done it.”

I just love this design philosophy.

US Senator questions Touch ID

It’s clear to me that Apple has worked hard to secure this technology and implement it responsibly. The iPhone 5S reportedly stores fingerprint data locally “on the chip” and in an encrypted format. It also blocks third-party apps from accessing Touch ID. Yet important questions remain about how this technology works, Apple’s future plans for this technology, and the legal protections that Apple will afford it. I should add that regardless of how carefully Apple implements fingerprint technology, this decision will surely pave the way for its peers and smaller competitors to adopt biometric technology, with varying protections for privacy.

You can read all of the questions in the above link. But Senator Franklin lays forth some valid questions and I hope Tim Cook (now on Twitter!) answers them.

Apple’s iPhone 5 touchscreen is 2.5 times faster than Android devices

“Even a two-year old iPhone 4 beat out the other Android devices,” Relan said. “You expect this from Apple’s design team, while others may view their responsiveness as good enough. Now we know why the Android touch keyboard is not as snappy.”

I’m actually pretty surprised by these findings. As usual, quality over quantity.

Grand Theft Auto V grosses over $1 Billion in the first 3 days

Rockstar spent an estimated $260 million on the development of Grand Theft Auto V, but the money, time, and care put into the game’s development is obviously paying dividends. Other publishers should take note.

Some nice profits there eh Rockstar? I am currently half way through GTA5. And I am loving every second of it. You should pick it up ASAP for your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

Ballmer says authorities should control Google’s “monopoly”

CEO Steve Ballmer opted to highlight his concerns over Google’s business practices. During a presentation at Microsoft’s financial analysts meeting, Ballmer discussed how Microsoft might generate money in consumer services. “Google does it,” he noted. “They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with.” Asked by an analyst how Microsoft can attack Google’s dominance in search and advertising, Ballmer explained “we’re the only guys in the world trying,” with the Bing search engine.

I agree somewhat with Mr. Ballmer.

New Tesla patent for 400-mile battery on a single charge

A report by Global Equities Research shows that Tesla recently filed patents 20130187591 and 20130181511, which describe a combination lithium-ion and metal-air battery pack. This hybrid battery pack would primarily use the lithium-ion side, only drawing power from the metal-air battery pack on extended journeys. Metal-air batteries, which use oxygen as an electrode, have a shorter lifetime when exposed to regular charging, but use more common elements like zinc or aluminum that drastically reduce battery costs.

Good stuff Tesla. Keep it coming.

BlackBerry reports Q2 $1 Billion write-off and slashes 40% of work force

“Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing,” a BlackBerry spokesman said. He declined to comment on the 40% figure.

This came as a surprise to the market and myself. It’s pretty unfortunate. I used to be a Crackberry addict 4 years ago and as a Canadian, it does hurt a bit. I just found it odd that BlackBerry decided to make this news public 30 minutes before the closing bell on a Friday. Typically, companies would leave reports like these after trading hours.

What killed the Blackberry? Employees started buying their own devices

But the pace of innovation in the consumer smartphone market was so rapid that employees became dissatisfied with their BlackBerrys. And eventually, the advantages of iOS and Android devices became so obvious that corporate IT departments were forced to capitulate. They began supporting iPhones and Android devices even though doing so was less convenient.

There is a big difference in the device people WANT to use and HAVE to use.

BlackBerry Co-Founder considering big for his former company

Mike Lazaridis, the co-founder of BlackBerry who stepped down as co-chief executive in 2012, has reached out to private equity firms about a possible bid for the troubled company.

Mr. Lazaridis has separately approached the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group about making an offer, according to people familiar with the matter. These people cautioned, however, that the talks were preliminary and might not lead to any bids.

This is actually big news. And despite Thorsten Heins’ hard work and effort, this could be the big break BlackBerry needs. Lazaridis could very well be BlackBerry’s “Steve Jobs” and reinvigorate the company. I am hopeful for Canada’s tech giant. They are the only one we have left. But they really need to convince me that I want one of their products.

Technology

iOS 7

iOS 7

Happy iOS 7 day!

The latest version of Apple’s mobile device operating system is released today. And you will love it.

If you are brand new to this information or need some refreshing, check out Tech Crunch’s break down of all the features. As well as 9to5Mac’s complete walkthrough.

Check out some iOS 7 reviews by Ars Technica, The New York Times, AnandTechAllThingsD, USA TodayIGN, BGR,

Furthermore, Apple was just topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for the tenth year in a row. Congrats!

Machine language: how Siri found its voice

For every Siri, there’s an actor sitting in a sound booth, really needing to go to the bathroom or scratch an itch.

This is an fantastic short feature on creating the modern voices we hear in our devices today.

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