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Microsoft on Monday announced a promotion that later this year will let users of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 PCs upgrade to the new Windows 8 Pro for US$39.99.
The deal kicks off when Microsoft launches Windows 8 later this year, and offers the most advanced retail version of the new OS, Windows 8 Pro, as the upgrade.
Today’s announcement follows the one four weeks ago when Microsoft said it would sell a US$14.99 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to buyers of new PCs equipped with the still-current Windows 7. That deal, like today’s, is good through Jan. 31, 2013.
According to Net Applications, a U.S. firm that tracks browser and operating system use by monitoring the number of unique users who visit the 40,000 websites of its customers, Windows 7 powered 41.6% of the computers that were online during June. Windows 7’s share was 1.1 percentage points higher than the month before.
The 11-year-old Windows XP, meanwhile, accounted for 43.6% of all systems, a slide of 1.2 points.
For the second time in two months, Apple has disputed ownership of a domain associated with one of its products.
The company has filed a claim for the ipad3.com domain with the World Intellectual Property Organization
The domain, which is inactive, was registered in January 2010 on the same day that then CEO-Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad at an Apple-hosted event in San Francisco.
In November 2011, the company was also successful in a bid to acquire iphone4s.com and seven other URLs, all with the “iphone” name, and several of which included phrases such as “porn,” “sex” and “xxx.”
Other domains that have recently been transferred to Apple’s control after claims with the WIPO include aplestore.com, which was awarded to Apple on May 30, and eight URLs with possible misspellings of applemusic.com, which all went to Apple on June 4.
Next Byte is Apple’s largest premium reseller locally and has been since its inception in 1995.
rebrand 14 of its existing stores into Apple-branded stores, adding to those already refurbished in Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Cairns.
stores would not lose the Next Byte branding completely, but the outlet’s fit out and fixtures would mirror the interior design of an Apple store.
Next Byte branding will still be visible via exterior signage, but the branding will change to “Apple premium reseller”.
Next Byte’s Broadway, Sydney store, metres away from the new Apple outlet opened nearby last week, will be rebranded and relocated to an as-yet undecided new location in Sydney’s inner west.
The 17-year old had just exited his vehicle and was walking to another destination when smoke started streaming from his pocket.
The incident is the second reported spontaneous combustion of a smartphone this year.
The ACCC has ordered the recall of a range of Australia Sedy electric powerboards due to their potential to administer an electric shock.
The affected powerboards were sold at Melbourne’s Sedy Hardware in Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill between 1st July 2011 and 1st January 2012.
The recalled models are YD-4S, YD-6S, YD-3+3S and YD-6TS, which are available in a variety of cord lengths.
Customers are advised to immediately stop using the listed powerboards and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Virgin Mobile has revealed plans to offer LTE services in select capital cities this year, piggybacking on Optus’ plans to launch its 4G network within months.
The mobile carrier, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Optus, will offer the services on day of the Optus network’s commercial launch in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth,
The network will be built in Adelaide and Brisbane from next year but the telco is still undergoing a tender process for a network vendor outside of Newcastle.
The 16GB Nexus 7 will retail for $319 from major retailers including Harvey Norman, JB HiFi, Dick Smith and Asus resellers, through Synnex and Dicker Data.
The announcement is an about-face from Google, which last week said the tablet would be sold solely online through its Play store.
The tablet is $20 cheaper directly through Google, at $299 for the 16GB model.
An Asus spokesperson said the price increase was due to costs associated with shipping the tablet to Australian stores.
The tablet comes with the first example of Android Jelly Bean OS and will be supercharged by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor running at 1.3GHz, a GeForce 12-core GPU, and 1GB RAM.The multi-touch IPS display carries a 1280×800 resolution.
The Nexus 7 will sport NFC for Beam sharing and Google Wallet functions, as well as a 1.2MP front facing camera, and nine hours of battery life.
Apple has successfully won the first step legal battle to keep Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphones off US retail shelves.
Just a week after Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 was banned in the US, Apple successfully campaigned on Friday to have the Galaxy Nexus temporarily held from sale in the US, after a judge ruled the iDevice giant was likely to suffer market share loss.
The preliminary ban in Australia was overturned locally two months later but a final ruling is yet to be issued.
More than two years after releasing its game-changing tablet computer, Apple now actually owns the name “iPad.”
Shenzhen Proview Technology had trademarked the name “iPad” in 2001. Apple paid the company about $55,000 in 2009. But Chinese authorities refused to recognize the payment and ruled last year that Proview still owned the name in that country.
“The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” the Guangdong High People’s Court said in a statement acquired by the New York Times. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”
A lawyer for Proview told the Times that the company hoped for more money but settled because it has debts to pay. He said it had wanted as much as $400 million, according to the Times.
Apple Preps for New Tablet
By LORRAINE LUK
Apple Inc.’s AAPL +1.16% component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near.
Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad’s screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.
Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing such a device but hadn’t yet decided whether to proceed with production.
An Apple spokeswoman in California declined to comment.
Analysts said a smaller tablet could help Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple maintain its dominance in a market that keeps getting more crowded. Competitors include Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.36% and Amazon.com Inc., AMZN +0.09% while Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.65% and Google Inc. GOOG +1.27% recently unveiled tablet devices.
Last year, the iPad held a 62% share of the world-wide tablet market, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli, which expects overall tablet sales this year to surge 85% to 126.6 million units..
As the market continues to expand, consumers’ choices—in size, technical specifications and price—are growing more varied. Last week, Google started taking orders for the Nexus 7, a tablet device with a seven-inch screen that will sell for $199. That matches the price of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which came out last year and also has a seven-inch screen.
Microsoft’s Surface tablet, expected to debut this fall, has a 10.6-inch display, larger than the iPad. Microsoft’s Windows Chief Steve Sinofsky said that it will be “priced like comparable tablets.”
—Juro Osawa, Jung-Ah Lee and Jessica E. Vascellaro contributed to this article.
Nexus 7 leaves Google with razor-thin profit margin
Analysts estimate that Google’s first branded tablet will generate very little income per device. What will make the tablet a profitable venture?
July 4, 2012 1:53 PM
Google’s first branded tablet was bound to rouse the interest of analysts across the globe, as well as appeal to consumers. Combine that with a bargain-rate price of $199 and curiosity becomes surprise.
Can Google make a fair profit margin on the device, which was announced last week for preorder? Or is the price tag on the Internet giant’s first tablet model, the Nexus 7, based on gaining a customer base rather than profit margin?
This is where hardware specialists come in. Research firm UBM TechInsights recently came up with a preliminary cost estimate of $184 per device, which covers components and assembly of the Google tablet.
If we compare this to an estimate of $153 for the identically priced Kindle Fire, the story becomes more intriguing. $199 for a tablet, which would make the company a measly $15 in profit; and the Kindle Fire, which makes $46 a head.
So why do it? It’s possible that the Nexus 7 has been designed to either snatch away the consumers who are buying Kindle Fires or Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets, or lure enough of a market share that constructing additional revenue streams based on the use of the tablet becomes worthwhile.
Google is paying more for the hardware, which correlates reasonably with the list of features that are more advanced than either the Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s devices. More expensive components, potentially a better customer experience, and you pave the way for stealing a decent share in the tablet market.
Combine this with a name like Google, and you may be betting on the winning horse.
So, how does Google’s Nexus 7 compare to Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet? The higher resolution display of 1,280 x 800 in comparison to the Kindle Fire’s 1,024 x 600 is a plus. However, increase the resolution, increase the price. UBM placed this figure at $49, in comparison to $35 for the rival tablet.
It also includes a front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera for video chat, through Skype or Google+, which the Kindle Fire lacks. Not great for snapshots, but still a step up on the identically priced Kindle, which has no such capabilities. The tablet will also include Bluetooth and GPS features; seemingly emphasizing near-field communications.
Once you begin bolting on advanced features, it stands to reason you would need a boost in power and processing. Google chose a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip that includes four central processor cores — and an additional fifth for basic housekeeping chores. The dual processor used in the Kindle Fire stands at $18 — Google’s multichip set costing an additional $7 per tablet.
If the estimated cost of construction proves sound, then the Nexus 7 must be intended for use in other ways to claw back some of the potential lost profit margin Google has established for itself. What has the company chosen? According to reports, online advertising revenues will make up the shortfall. In comparison, Amazon relies on downloaded, purchased content — and does well by it.
Both of these lower-end tablets will generate revenue through additional content and services, whether through advertising or downloadable content. In comparison, Apple has the high-end tablet market in the bag — through intense hardware development, UBM pegs Apple’s estimated cost of production at $278, generating profit of $171 per device on a $499 iPad.
Tablets ‘to overtake notebook PCs by 2016’
Tablet computers are expected to overtake notebook PCs by 2016 as consumers shift to newer devices like the Apple iPad, a survey has found.
The survey by research firm NPD said tablets will be “the growth driver” for the mobile computer market over the next few years.
Overall mobile PC shipments including tablets will grow from 347 million in 2012 to over 809 million by 2017.
Notebook PC shipments are expected to increase from 208 million in 2012 to 393 million by 2017, but tablet shipments are expected to grow from 121 million to 416 million in the same period.
A key driver for tablet growth is adoption in North America, Japan and Western Europe, which will account for 66 per cent of shipments in 2012 and remain in the 60 per cent range throughout the next few years, NPD said.
“Consumer preference for mobile computing devices is shifting from notebook to tablet PCs, particularly in mature markets,” said Richard Shim, analyst at NPD.
“While the lines between tablet and notebook PCs are blurring, we expect mature markets to be the primary regions for tablet PC adoption. New entrants are tending to launch their initial products in mature markets. Services and infrastructure needed to create compelling new usage models are often better established in mature markets.”
In its most recent quarterly survey on mobile devices, NPD said in May that Apple’s iPad had 62.8 per cent of the tablet market, with Samsung a distant second at 7.5 per cent.
Since then Google said it would sell its own branded tablet made by Asus, while Microsoft introduced a tablet that converts to a notebook, to be on sale later this year.
Apple may challenge Google with wearable device
July 4, 2012
Apple may be taking a page out of Google’s book.
The US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday awarded the Cupertino tech giant a patent for a wearable display device that certainly sounds, at the very least, similar to Google’s Project Glass.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been touting the company’s computer glasses, going as far as putting together a huge spectacle last week, complete with bikers and skydivers, to announce that participants in the company’s Google I/O conference could purchase a prototype of the project that will arrive early next year for US$1,500.
Sleek … a prototype of Google’s Project Glass.
But now, the new patent indicates Apple may at the very least be entertaining the idea of waging war with Google in yet another market.
The actual patent describes a “peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays” that isn’t intended to be as mobile as Google’s Project Glass but rather a more static experience, according to The Next Web.
The device immerses the users with two displays and techniques for filling their peripheral vision with the image being shown, according to various reports.
The device, which could be for a helmet, pair of glasses or even a visor, would have applications useful to surgeons, military personnel, firefighters, police officers, scientists and engineers, according to Wired.
If you want to check out the patent yourself, you can read it here, but keep in mind that just because there is a patent, it does not mean Apple will for sure build this Project Glass rival.
Even if Apple jumped in, that wouldn’t be Google’s only competition. Oakley, the glasses company, is also reportedly testing out its own glasses device, according to an April report by Bloomberg. Could this mean the next major platform after mobile will be headgear?
Los Angeles Times
Amazon, Google go head-to-head with 3D maps: report
July 4, 2012
Amazon has reportedly stepped into unknown territory and purchased UpNext, a 3D mapping startup.
The online retailer will place UpNext and its team of four in Seattle at the head of Amazon’s mapping efforts, according to a report, which wonders whether Amazon could be readying a map app for the Kindle Fire or even a smartphone.
UpNext, based in New York, has built a company with apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android. The apps cover 50 cities across the US and include enhanced details of 23 of them.
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The company has also previously partnered with the NFL to create guides for the Super Bowl.
GigaOM broke the news of the acquisition Monday, and said the amount Amazon paid has not been revealed.
Prior to the reported acquisition, UpNext had mostly been financing its efforts on its own, but that changed last March when it raised US$500,000 from investments. GigaOM reports that investors may be getting a return five times what they put in.
Requests for comment from UpNext and Amazon were not returned.
This is the latest in a long string of news dealing with mobile device makers and their mapping technology.
First, Google announced some changes to its service, Google Maps, in early June, which was followed not long after by Apple.
The Cupertino company used its Worldwide Developers Conference to announce that it was leaving Google Maps behind to launch its own map app complete with 3D images. And in late June, Microsoft made a map announcement of its own, saying it was going to adopt Nokia’s map service for its Windows Phone lineup.
Los Angeles Times
Apple drops claim that ‘Macs don’t get viruses’
July 3, 2012
Apple has removed claims from its website that Mac computers do not get viruses.
The change comes after more than half-a-million Macs were infected with the Flashback Trojan virus earlier this year.
Apple’s web page titled ‘Why you’ll love a Mac’ used to state that: “It doesn’t get PC viruses. A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That’s thanks to built-in defences in Mac OS X that keep you safe without any work on your part. With virtually no effort on your part, OS X defends against viruses and other malicious applications, or malware.”
The website has been altered and now simply says: “It’s built to be safe.”
“Built-in defences in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac,” the website continues. “OS X is designed with powerful, advanced technologies that work hard to keep your Mac safe.”
But there is no longer any reference to Macs being immune from the viruses long-suffered by PC users.
Apple declined to comment on the alteration when asked by this website.
The change in the company’s marketing, which was made quietly at the end of last month, was welcomed by security experts.
“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” said Graham Cluley from British security firm Sophos.
“Let’s hope more Apple Mac owners are also learning to take important security steps – such as installing anti-virus protection.”
Many security experts have said that both Apple and its users have underestimated the threats they face from viruses and hackers in the past.
The machines’ supposed security – whether real or not – has long been a selling point for Macs. But as Apple’s market penetration has increased significantly in recent years, so too have the security risks.
Anti-virus software companies reported an increase in sales for Mac security software following the outbreak of Flashback in April this year.
Apple also drew criticism for failing to release a fix for the virus until three months after it was discovered.
But the company may be taking security more seriously after the breach, with a Gatekeeper feature in the new Mac operating system Mountain Lion, which is slated for release as early as next week.
Gatekeeper creates permissions for only trusted sites and developers’ apps to be downloaded and installed, though the feature can be disabled.
This latest backflip from Apple comes after the company was recently forced to drop claims in Australia and Britain that the new iPad had 4G capabilities.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins says there is ‘nothing wrong’ with the company
Despite internal turmoil, massive fiscal losses, and plummeting marketshare, RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins believes there is “nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now.” Heins pulled double duty as the public face of the BlackBerry maker on Tuesday, appearing on a Canadian radio morning show and penning an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail newspaper. Pushing against a recent wave of negative news — led by BlackBerry 10’s delay into 2013 — Heins emphasized that good things are on the horizon for RIM and its customers. “We believe RIM is a company at the beginning of a transition that we expect will once again change the way people communicate.”
The chief executive didn’t shy away from acknowledging the numerous setbacks and missed opportunities that have led to RIM’s current predicament. “I am the first to admit that RIM has missed on important trends in the smart-phone industry — especially in the consumer domain,” he said. Still, he seems frustrated with the doomsday forecasts many in the industry have been prophesying. “As some pundits write RIM’s obituary, the company’s global subscriber base continues to grow, to more than 78 million people in 175 countries.” Heins claims that RIM “has no debt” and paints recent job cuts as a “corporate overhaul” that should reduce annual operating costs by $1 billion. “This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral,” he said on Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Metro Morning radio show.
Of course, that’s exactly the type of worry-free outlook we’d expect to hear from RIM’s CEO. Whether the iconic company can ultimately manage to rebound from its troubles remains to be seen. You’ll find Heins’ full op-ed at the source below.
Tablet adoption lowers reading of physical books, newspapers
More than half of tablet adopters are reading books and other content on their tablet screens instead of relying on paper, Gartner analysts said Wednesday in a finding that should serve as a warning to publishers to adapt quickly to electronic media.
“The rapid adoption of media tablets is substantively changing how consumers access, create and share content,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
Gartner analyst Meike Escherich said the survey of 510 consumers shows that publishing houses need to “re-think rapidly” how they are reaching readers.
With just over 50 percent of respondents preferring to read onscreen than on paper, the survey shows “the threat that media tablets are bringing to printed media, beyond the damage that e-readers have already done,” she added.
One-third of respondents used their tablets to read a book, compared with 13 percent of laptop users and 7 percent who used smartphones and other mobile phones, she said.
Survey participants kept a seven-day online diary, recording what they did with their three most-used devices, including tablets, mobile phones and PCs, either laptops or desktops. The survey was conducted in November 2011, in Australia, the U.S. and U.K.
While tablets are replacing paper, Escherich added that Gartner doesn’t believe the paperless home will soon prevail. “But it is clear that the less-paper model is the new reality,” she said.
The survey also found that respondents use multiple devices interchangeably, finding whichever device is at hand, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Tablets are favoured for their convenience, small size and light weight and are mainly used inside the home.
However, the mobile phone is by far the computing/connectivity device most used throughout the day, both inside and outside of the home, to make a network connection. The average survey participant used the mobile phone eight times a day, but used a tablet twice a day and a laptop three times, Gartner said.
Beyond the survey’s findings of the “less-paper” trend, Escherich said she found it relevant that users spend extra time connected over a network after buying a tablet than before. “That’s in the morning, in bed, at night in front of the TV, etc.,” she said. “This is additional time and not simply device substitution.”