Episode 314 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Microsoft sued over Windows 8 UI

“We developed the concept of Tiles in the 1990s, which was ahead of its time,” SurfCast CEO Ovid Santoro said in a statement.

“Microsoft’s Live Tiles are the centerpiece of Microsoft’s new operating systems and are covered by our patent.”

The patent (pdf) in question, number 6724403, was filed in 2000 and issued in February 2004.

Brisbane, Surfers get Optus 4G

Early in September Optus turned on consumer 4G services in Sydney, Perth and Newcastle. The 4G network has been available to Optus’ business customers since July.

Yesterday announced four sites in Surfers Paradise had been switched on, with five more in Brisbane CBD to be launched next week ahead of a wider rollout in December and January. More Surfers Paradise sites will also be turned on in December.

Currently, Optus 4G coverage in Sydney runs from Bondi to Newington east to west, and from La Perouse to Dee Why south to north.

Perth coverage extends from the city’s airport in the east to City Beach in the west, and south to north from Como to Innaloo; while in Newcastle coverage is available across the city as well as Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie.

In Melbourne, the network runs across Blackburn to St Albans, and from Brighton to Fawkner.



Qantas business lounge members get free Wi-Fi service

The service is available at domestic and international terminals in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Regional areas have not been forgotten with airports in Alice Springs, Broome, Coffs Harbour, Cairns, Karratha, Kalgoorlie, Launceston, Mackay, Port Headland, Townsville and Rockhampton also offering free Wi-Fi to Qantas Lounge customers. In total, 40 lounges in Australia now have the service.


Microsoft claims 4m Windows 8 upgrades so far

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the company has sold 4 million upgrades to Windows 8, signaling a strong start for its new operating system which launched on Friday.

Ballmer already said on Monday that Windows 8 was outselling the previous version, Windows 7, at the same stage after launch three years ago.

“We’re seeing preliminary demand well above where we were with Windows 7, which is gratifying,” Ballmer said yesterday.

Windows 7 is the best-selling version of Windows so far, selling more than 670 million licenses in three years since release in 2009.

Microsoft has very high expectations when it comes to its new OS and expects to see around 400 million Windows 8 devices out there in less than 9 months.

Windows Phone 8 hits Australia

Following the global launch of the mobile version of its Windows 8 operating system this morning, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s OEM partners have announced local pricing for handsets running the new OS.
Smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC will hit the local market from November onwards.

Big falls in Aussie telco complaints

iiNet, Telstra and TPG saw the biggest year-on-year falls in new customer complaints filed against them, according to statistics released by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

iiNet fell 26.4 percent in 2011-12, compared to the prior financial year.that meant the 2974 new complaints against iiNet that the TIO received in 2010-11 fell to 2188 new complaints in 2011-12.

Telstra falling from 78,949 received in 2010-11 to 61,991 in 2011-12 – a 21.5 percent year-on-year reduction.

TPG also saw a substantial drop in the number of new complaints about it lodged with the TIO. Its numbers fell from 4212 in 2010-11 to 3443 in 2011-12, equating to an 18.3 percent fall.

More modest year-on-year complaint falls were experienced by Dodo, Crazy John’s

New complaints about Optus rose 46.9 percent year-on-year to 41,602. Virgin Mobile saw a rise of 33.1 percent over the same period, equivalent to 8177 new complaints, while Vodafone clocked an 11.3 percent increase in new complaints.

Windows 8 for resellers: the licensing changes

according to its licensing guide distributed to resellers, sighted by CRN, a new “companion license” has been introduced to allow users to access their corporate desktops on a mobile device.

The Windows RT companion subscription license (CSL) provides a single license for up to four devices, rather than individual licenses for each companion device, meaning workers who want to bring more than one tablet or smartphone to work are able to do so, for lower cost to the organisation.

For the Windows RT device to be enabled, the user’s work PC needs to be licensed with Microsoft’s Software Assurance.

It’s Microsoft’s push into the BYOD trend, looking to counter the advancement of iOS and Android products into the workplace by offering an extension of Windows on the PC across all devices.

No Windows 8 for new customers

Microsoft Australia confirmed customers wanting to swich from other operating systems will not be able to purchase a full boxed version of Windows 8

Microsoft is still yet to clarify pricing around the full, boxed, non-upgrade version of Windows 8. It is however possible to purchase an OEM version for systems builders, but pricing and availability is set by retailers. Prices so far range from around $110 for the 64bit version to $160 for Windows 8 Pro 64bit. For further information see here.

Microsoft previously offered OEM licenses for systems builders, as well as retail upgrade licenses and full retail licenses.

Microsoft now has done away with the full retail licenses — meaning full boxed versions will no longer be available in stores — and added an element to its systems builders licence that allows for personal use.

Siri stops pimping in China, following outcries
from frosty

Siri would direct users to brothels or other erotic services – if you asked the right questions – despite the fact that prostitution is illegal in China.

A Mandarin version of Siri was launched just this summer. The problem is, Siri seems to have kept her ear to the ground in China. Apparently, she could direct an inquisitive Chinese user to a brothel or escort service on demand.

A public outcry was probably inevitable, and now it seems that Apple has cleansed Siri of her dark ways in China. She no longer seems to provide usable information when asked for directions to sex services, and so forth

Google unveils free Siri rival for iPhone, iPad

The app, which is available for free download, opens with a “Try our new voice search” message that sits next to an icon of a microphone. Click on the icon and speak your question into your device.

If the answer to your question is short, Google will tell you the answer aloud. If the answer is more complicated, the user will get a list of possible answers and links on the screen.

Australia Post launches its Digital Mailbox

Australia Post has officially launched its Digital Mailbox as part of the government-owned company’s $2 billion investment in digitising its communications and delivery mail network.

Users of the Digital MailBox will be able to access their bills and account statements, make payments and use the mailbox as a “digital vault” to upload documents from any computer or mobile device which has Internet access.

Companies that have signed up with the digital mail service include Telstra, AMP, Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank.
The encrypted mailbox will be hosted in Telstra’s Cloud.

Australia Post recently reported an overall group profit of $281 million in 2012, despite a loss of $148 million for its regulated mail business for the year, a 20 per cent increase over 2011.


New mobile phone laws introduced

The rules prevent drivers from using the phone unless it’s sitting in a mounting, fixed to the inside of the vehicle.
Drivers are also banned from texting, emailing or putting their mobile between their shoulder and ear.

“The fines for using a mobile phone at the moment is $298 and three points, and if you’re caught using a mobile phone in a School Zone that’s upgraded to $397 and four demerit points,” he said.
“If your phone rings, find somewhere safe to pull over, park your vehicle and then make your call.”

Steve Jobs high-tech yacht unveiled

the yacht is christened “Venus,” the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The ship builders were each gifted an iPod shuffle with the ship’s name inscribed on the back, along with a note thanking them for their “hard work and craftsmanship.”

features a lightweight aluminum exterior measuring up to 80 meters long. Another image shows six of the seven 27-inch iMacs found in the ship’s interior,



Smart Phones – But Who Looks Dumb Now?http://www.news.com.au/technology/smart-phones-but-who-looks-dumb-now/story-e6frfro0-1226507814933




Social analyst Mark McCrindle yesterday said research which he would publish next month showed the reliance on smart phones in our daily lives meant work was increasingly taking over private time.  The Australian research reflects a new British study which found smart phones were adding up to two hours to people’s working day, or a whopping 460 hours a year. Nearly two-thirds of people said they checked work emails just before going to bed and as soon as they woke up.




*As many people use their smart phone as their daily time piece (43 per cent) as there are who still use a watch (43 per cent).


*More people (45 per cent) use their smart phone to wake them up in the morning than those who use an alarm clock (41 per cent).

*As many people use their smart phone to check the weather as those who watch TV weather reports.

“It surely has become this appendage of our life, so it has those impacts on our social time,” Mr McCrindle said.

“We truly are always on, we’re always connected, we’re always contactable.

Australian man wins defamation case against Google over images published online http://www.news.com.au/technology/man-wins-defamation-case-against-google-over-images-published-online/story-e6frfro0-1226507563956

The man – who has lived in Australia for 42 years also claimed that a Google search for his name brought up stories about an unsolved shooting in 2004, causing damage to his reputation leading him to be ostracised within his migrant community.  A jury found Google liable for defamation in the Victorian Supreme court yesterday – a first in Australian history.  Justice Beach reserved judgement on damages and expects to deliver that ruling on Monday.  The man told News Ltd that he was pleased by the decision.

Mac Fusion Drive: pro users beware http://www.zdnet.com/mac-fusion-drive-pro-users-beware-7000006661/

FD is a combination of a hard drive with a 128GB SSD. The glue that holds them together is a special Mac driver that manages the movement of files between the SSD and the hard drive.  Apple’s tech note says:
Fusion Drive automatically and dynamically moves frequently used files to Flash storage for quicker access, while infrequently used items move to the hard disk. As a result you’ll enjoy shorter startup times, and as the system learns how you work you’ll see faster application launches and quicker file access. Fusion Drive manages all this automatically in the background. This model assumes a user who doesn’t process a lot of files and whose files are small. Otherwise the bandwidth required to move files would choke the disk and the SSD capacity would be insufficient.  Users who process multi-gigabyte files regularly – musicians, video editors, scientists, artists – will find irritating starts and stops as the system is forced to move big chunks of data to accommodate new files. There is a better way.

Samsung to unveil the Galaxy Note II in mid-November http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/440611/samsung_unveil_galaxy_note_ii_mid-november/

Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Note II Android phone in Australia in mid-November, following an invitation sent to the media today for a “highly anticipated launch”.  Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note II here  The company sent an invitation to Australian tech media today for an event on Wednesday 14 November that invites attendees to “create, connect and collaborate” with the Galaxy Note II.  The Galaxy Note II is currently available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and was officially released in the US last week.  The model expected to be launched in Australia is the N7105 version that features 1800MHz 4G connectivity, meaning the device will work on the Telstra and Optus 4G networks in Australia.

Jessica Alba on her Windows Phone 8 handset http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/440563/jessica_alba_her_windows_phone_8_handset/

Actress Jessica Alba speaks at the launch event for Windows Phone 8 about why she likes her Windows handset. San Francisco, October 29, 2012.  You can never get enough of Jesica Alba!

Google unveils large tablet, new Nexus to take on Apple http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/google-unveils-large-tablet-new-nexus/story-fn6vigfp-1226506358653#ixzz2AxMs8sNA
The Nexus 10 appeared to be the firm’s entry into the 10-inch (26cm) screen tablet market pioneered by Apple, which last week unveiled a smaller iPad mini to be sold alongside its original iPad.  Google had scheduled a news conference in New York for the announcement but cancelled the event due to Hurricane Sandy.  The entry-level Nexus 10 will be sold at $US399, or about $US100 less than the least expensive iPad, starting November 13 in the US, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan.
Apple executives John Browett and Scott Forstall to leave after both presided over mistakes http://www.news.com.au/business/companies/apple-executives-john-browett-and-scott-forstall-to-leave-after-both-presided-over-mistakes/story-fnda1bsz-1226506531979
Apple didn’t say why retail senior vice president John Browett and iOS software SVP Scott Forstall were leaving, but both have presided over missteps this year.  Browett cut staffing hours at Apple’s retail stores, a move the company reversed and acknowledged as a mistake.  Forstall’s division launched a software update in September that replaced Google Maps with Apple’s first mapping application. It quickly drew unfavorable comparisons to the software it was replacing, andApple apologised. 


Boarding pass barcodes ‘can be read by smartphones  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20080621

A vulnerability in US domestic airline boarding pass barcodes could allow travellers to bring unauthorised items on board, says a security expert.  The codes reveal what kind of airport checks a passenger will face and can be read by smartphones, he says.  The security information on the barcodes is only meant to be decoded by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers, so it was not thought to be a problem that PreCheck selected which users would get a less rigorous safety check in advance.  The fact that passengers can use their handsets to find out if they have been picked poses a problem, says Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

NY man Paul Ceglia arrested for fraud over claim of half-ownership of Facebook  http://www.news.com.au/business/ny-man-accused-of-trying-to-cheat-facebook/story-e6frfm1i-1226504316620
Paul Ceglia, 39, was arrested at his Wellsville, New York, home on charges of mail and wire fraud after an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. He was scheduled to appear in federal court in Buffalo later in the day.  Authorities said Mr Ceglia doctored, fabricated and destroyed evidence to support the claims in a lawsuit he filed in Buffalo federal court in 2010.  In the lawsuit, Mr Ceglia claimed that he and Mr Zuckerberg in 2003 signed a software development contract that included a provision entitling Mr Ceglia to half ownership of Facebook in exchange for $US1000 ($972) in start-up money for the budding company.
Apple Now Has $121.3 Billion In Cash: More Than Amazon’s Market Cap Or A Space Station http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/25/apple-now-has-121-3-billion-in-cash-more-than-amazons-market-cap-or-a-space-station/
Apple has seen a tremendous year. With $156 billion in revenue representing 45 percent growth compared to 2011, and an incredible 61 percent increase of net income compared to 2011. But even more impressive, Apple now has $121.3 billion in cash, enough to buy Amazon or a space station, and still having some left.



Scott Forstall Reportedly Forced Out of Apple


Monday October 29, 2012 5:49 pm PDT by Arnold Kim


Earlier this evening, Appleannounced a major change up in their executive management. Most notably, Apple Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall will be leaving. Forstall moved over to an advisory role effective immediately, and will ultimately depart Apple in 2013.


As Senior Vice President of iOS Software, Scott Forstall has been a prominent public figure at Apple. He was originally recruited to NeXT, Inc. after college and came to Apple with Steve Jobs after Apple’s acquisition of NeXT in 1996. He has been on stage numerous times during Apple keynotes to demo the latest iOS features. Forstall was even profiled as Apple’sCEO-in-Waiting back in January. That article, however, was a not always flattering look at the executive who reportedly had many clashes with others at Apple.


More recently, there wasdescribed to be an internal political divide in Apple about the use of skeuomorphism, the inclusion of certain ornamental elements in a product that are carried over from previous tools addressing the same task for which the elements were required for functionality.


According to the report, Apple’s iOS chief Scott Forstall has long been a proponent of incorporating skeuomorphic features in the company’s software, with Steve Jobs having supported and even originated that design direction for Apple’s products. But others such as hardware guru Jonathan Ive find the inclusion of such features distasteful, and Apple’s designers have reportedly been divided into camps over which direction to take Apple’s products.


In light of the shakeup, Jonathan Ive is now taking over Apple’s Human Interface teams.


DaringFireball’s John Gruberbelieves that Forstall was forced out of Apple:


Forstall is not walking away; he was pushed. Potential factors that worked against Forstall: his design taste, engineering management, abrasive style, and the whole iOS 6 Maps thing. I also wonder how much Forstall was effectively protected by his close relationship with Steve Jobs — protection which, obviously, no longer exists.


Inside Apple author Adam Lashinskyagrees with that sentiment and also cites the Apple Maps issue as a reason for his demise:


I also heard that Forstall refused to sign the letter apologizing for the mapping fiasco, sealing his fate at Apple.


Lashinsky is referring to a publicapology posted by Apple CEO Tim Cook about iOS 6’s Maps. The Map app in iOS 6 replaced Google Maps with Apple’s own proprietary solution. After a significant amount of criticism after iOS 6’s launch, Cook wrote anopen letter apologizing to customers about not meeting expectations.


Update:The Wall Street Journal confirms a similar story with their sources.


In deciding how to manage the crisis, Mr. Forstall argued that the company could address the outcry without apologizing, as Apple had done when it shipped iPhones with faulty antennas a few years ago, one of these people said. Mr. Cook and others disagreed, these people said. Mr. Cook signed his name to the apology instead.


The article also reiterates that Forstall clashed with others at Apple. One source even said he was difficult to work with and “never fit into the culture of Apple”.


Update 2:NYTimes also has a similar story:


A senior Apple employee who asked not to be named said Mr. Forstall had also incurred the ire of other executives after inserting himself into product development that went beyond his role at the company. One person in touch with Apple executives said the mood of people at the company was largely positive about Mr. Forstall’s departure.


We’re pumped: see the car tyre that inflates itself


TIRED of untangling the air hose at the petrol station?


Or are you among the majority of drivers who check their tyres less than once a year?


Goodyear has invented a tyre that inflates itself while on the move – which, it claims, will save drivers money due to more even wear and better fuel economy.


The self-inflating system was unveiled earlier this year, but Goodyear has just announced real-world fleet trials of the technology.

The tyre, awarded “best breakthrough” by US magazine Popular Mechanics, maintains the correct pressure via a valve mounted inside the tyre – but which pokes through a gap in the tread.


As the tyre rolls, the deformation of the tyre flattens the tube, pushing air through an inlet valve. Air is released – or sucked in – as required.


Although it will be on North American roads in trial conditions next year, it’s not likely to be available in Australia until 2014 at the earliest.


“The concept has been tested and it works, we’re now just looking at bringing it to market,” says James Peate, communications manager at Goodyear Australia.


“There would be a price premium but it’s too early to estimate what it would cost.”


Goodyear’s North American division is developing the truck version of the technology, while its Luxembourg facility is developing it for passenger cars.


The self-inflating tyre is just one of many advancements in tyre technology in the past decade.


In 2000, French tyre maker Michelin introduced “run flat” tyres that can be driven at low speeds, even when punctured.


Other tyre manufacturers followed, but car buyers have been slow to embrace the technology because of their cost (they were initially double the price of regular tyres) and uncomfortably firm ride (because of the thicker rubber used in the sidewalls).


Less than 1 per cent of tyres sold are of the “run flat” variety, Michelin estimates.


Meanwhile, Michelin has been working on a “see-through” air-less tyre called the “Tweel”. The tyre has no sidewalls, the tread is held up by thick cross sections of rubber – but it is still in the experimental stage.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/were-pumped-see-the-car-tyre-that-inflates-itself/story-fn5fsgyc-1226503720436#ixzz2Am6dDu4v


Google unveils large tablet, new Nexus to take on Apple


GOOGLE has unveiled a large-format tablet computer to compete against the original iPad as part of a revamped line of its Nexus devices, and touted a new music service for Europe.


Google said on its blog that its Nexus 10, a rival to the market-leadingiPad, would be “the highest resolution tablet on the planet” and would offer settings for multiple user accounts.


The Nexus 10 appeared to be the firm’s entry into the 10-inch (26cm) screen tablet market pioneered by Apple, which last week unveiled a smaller iPad mini to be sold alongside its original iPad.


Google also said it would be selling its Nexus 7, which has a seven-inch (18cm) screen, with mobile access for GSM networks worldwide.


And Google unveiled its Nexus 4, a smartphone with a 12cm screen manufactured with South Korea’s LG.


A Nexus device is much more than simply a phone or tablet. It’s your connection to the best of Google – all of your stuff and entertainment, everywhere you go with no hassle,” Google’s Andy Rubin wrote in a blog post on Monday.


“Now you have three new Nexus devices, a new improved version of (Android operating system) Jelly Bean and more entertainment than ever before – all available in Google Play. The playground is open.”


Google said the music offerings on Google Play, the firm’s online store, would be launched in Europe on November 13, with a new feature to allow music in a customer’s online collection to be automatically uploaded to the cloud.


It will be offered in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.


“We’ll scan your music collection and any song we match against the Google Play catalog will be automatically added to your online library without needing to upload it, saving you time,” Google said.


“This will be available in Europe at launch on November 13 and is coming to the US soon after. This will all be for free – free storage of your music, free matching, free syncing across your devices and free listening.”


Google had scheduled a news conference in New York for the announcement but cancelled the event due to Hurricane Sandy.


The entry-level Nexus 10 will be sold at $US399, or about $US100 less than the least expensive iPad, starting November 13 in the US, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan.


Nexus 7, which was launched earlier this year, is available in the same countries, and the version with mobile data will go on sale November 13 in those countries except for Japan.


Nexus 4 will be offered in the US through T-Mobile and unlocked in Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Canada.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/google-unveils-large-tablet-new-nexus/story-fn6vigfp-1226506358653#ixzz2Am6nG0ez

Google unveils three Nexus devices


Google haslaunched two Nexus tablets and a smartphone, alongside improved Now mobile information and Play entertainment services.


The Nexus 4 smartphone made by LG for Google comes in 8 GB ($399) and 16 GB ($499) variants and is equipped with a 320 pixels per inch display with 1280 by 768 pixel resolution.


A Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor powers the phone which also has an 8 megapixel camera at the rear, and a 1.3 megapixel imager at the front.


The Nexus 4 works in the 850, 900, 1700, 1900 and 2100MHz bands with HSPA+ 3G mobile broadband at up to 21 Mbps downloads.


Google’s three new Nexus devices


The Nexus 10 tablet with a ultra-high resolution 2560 by 1600 pixel display will retail in Australia for $469 for the 16 GB version and $569 for the 32 GB version.


Australian pricing for the Nexus 7 tablet, which is an updated version to the model launched earlier this year with HSPA+ 3G broadband support, is yet to be announced by Google.


A 16 GB version costs US$199 and a 32 GB one retails for US$249 in wi-fi only format. The 3G version comes with 32 GB storage and costs US$299.


A 4.2 update to Google’s Android operating system with Gesture Typing that lets you slide your finger over the keyboard in a similar way to the Swype and Swiftkey add-ons was also launched.


The new Android version is still code-named Jelly Bean like its predecessor and also features wireless display for use with HDTVs.


A new immersive Photo Sphere feature in 4.2 is inspired by Google’s Street View, the Android director of product management, Hugo Barra,said.


It uses JPEG images with metadata embedded in them in XML format allowing users to create 360-degree panoramas.


Movie purchases and rentals via Google Play will also be available to Australian customers.


Google has signed up studio Twentieth Century Fox as provider of movies and TV shows, and there’s also music from Warner and US magazines like People and Time in the refreshed Play store.


Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.



Super yacht designed by Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled



A YEAR after his death, the family of Apple founder Steve Jobs have helped launch the super yacht the late technocrat designed in the Netherlands.


Jobs reportedly spent years designing the 250-foot yacht called Venus which is steered from the control room or wheelhouse by a group of 27-inch iMacs, according to Business Insider.


The light-weight yacht- named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty- is 80 metres long and its sleek design with a line of large square windows and the minimalist sun deck would be familiar to Apple fans.


Steve Jobs reportedly spent years designing his super yacht Venus.


The ship’s main windows were designed using a special glass that Apple stores designers made to support the structure.




A closer look at Venus’ deck. Source: Supplied


With an aluminum hull and exterior as well as its own speed boat, the ship is thought to be both lighter and faster than your average yacht.


French designer Philippe Starck helped Jobs create the sleek interior which features a jacuzzi and ten-foot high window panels for the cabins which are forty feet long, according to Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson.




A look at the back of the 27-inch iMacs that help steer the yacht.


Those who worked on the ship each received an iPod shuffle with the ship’s name engraved on the back as well as a thank-you note from the Jobs family for their “hardwork and craftsmanship”,The Verge reports.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/super-yacht-designed-by-apples-steve-jobs-launches-in-the-netherlands/story-e6frfro0-1226505155975#ixzz2Am78i2Tj


APPLE: ‘Dear Samsung, sorry you’re not as cool


THE Apple v Samsung tech saga continues, and Apple has landed the latest blow.


‘Apple has issued a back-handed apology on its website for accusing Samsung of stealing their design for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7


Apple issued the apology in newspapers and on its website after losing an appeal in the UK High Court last week.


But within the apology, references are made to Samsung’s inferior design, which are “not as cool”.


“The informed user’s overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back.”


“They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool.”


The squabbling tech giants have been in and out of court around the world.


Last month Samsung took a clever shot at Apple with anad making fun of its device-obsessed fans before the release of the iPhone 5.


Read Apple’s statement in full

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/apple-dear-samsung-sorry-youre-not-as-cool/story-fn6vigfp-1226504298828#ixzz2Am8B8muR

Microsoft empire strikes back


IT used to be that Microsoft was the evil empire, and Apple the scrappy underdog.


Now the roles are reversed, and Microsoft is challenging a dominant Apple, which has staked its claim as the leader of the sizzling mobile sector for tablets and smartphones, as well as the biggest seller of digital music.


Microsoft, still the biggest force in the PC market with its Windows operating system, is making a new, belated effort on Apple’s turf.


The Redmond, Washington-based giant has launched its own branded Surface tablet with prices and specifications similar to those of the iPad, and a new Windows 8 operating system designed for tablets.


Microsoft also is making an aggressive push in mobile phones with its Windows Phone 8 platform being used by Nokia, Samsung, HTC and others.


And it has created its own music service as an alternative to Apple’s iTunes, with 30 million songs and additional features offered by internet radio operators.


“Microsoft is the challenger now, and it is taking a lot of pages from Apple’s playbook,” said Roger Kay, an analyst and consultant with Endpoint Technologies Associates.


Kay said Microsoft is learning from Apple about the advantages of “having control of the integrated stack,” meaning software and hardware, along with other services to keep users within the company’s ecosystem.


But he said Microsoft has “constraints” because its updates must remain compatible with older devices, making the task more complex.


“Microsoft can write software which is as good as Apple’s but it has to be free of the constraints,” Kay said.


“Apple can and has said to customers, ‘Throw out all your old devices, because we have new ones.’ Microsoft has been at a disadvantage.”


He said Microsoft has the potential for a fresh start with the new tablet, which integrates hardware and software called Windows RT in a new product.


But the tech landscape is far different than in previous Microsoft-Apple clashes. Amazon claims some 22 per cent of the tablet market, and Google and its partners using the Android system are a major force in mobile.


But Microsoft appears to be digging in for the long-haul by getting into tablets, the mobile market and music.

Kash Rangan, analyst at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, said Microsoft appropriately priced the new tablet starting at $US499 ($483), the same as the entry-level iPad. This will avoid “cannibalisation” of products which impact the Windows franchise.


And because Microsoft will include its Office software in the tablets, they “appear less pricey to users relative to iPads,” said the analyst, who expects about 5.2 million of the Microsoft devices to be sold over the coming year.


In music, Microsoft is making a new offensive with its Xbox music service more than a year after it pulled the plug on its Zune digital media player, a would-be rival to Apple’s iPod.


However some analysts said the new service might fare better.


“The service takes aim at a fractured digital music landscape (where) consumers have to use multiple services such as iTunes, Pandora and Spotify today and do not have one simple destination that allows them to do everything,” said Richard Greenfield at BTIG Research.


With the various initiatives, Microsoft is seeking to build an “ecosystem” like Apple, which can deliver the devices and services to remain connected to consumers.


“People are looking to buy a complete package, that’s what they buy when they go to Apple,” said Jack Gold, analyst with J Gold Associates.


Frank Gillett at Forrester Research said that while Microsoft is used on about 95 per cent of PCs, its share of all “personal devices” – which include PCs, smartphones, and tablets – is only about 30 per cent.


The new initiatives “will simply stop the shrinking, maintaining Microsoft’s share at about 30 per cent,” he said.


“By 2016, we believe that Microsoft will have about 27 per cent of tablet unit sales, but only about 14 per cent of smartphone sales – and some of us are very sceptical they’ll even get to 14 per cent.”


Gold said while Microsoft may not be able to dominate in tablets or phones, its strategy appears to “kickstart” the market to keep the Windows platform relevant.


“You never want to sell Microsoft short,” Gold said.


“They have a lot of resources and they’re not a company that gives up. They are applying significant amounts of resources to transition the company to address the new market realities. And they’ve reinvented themselves several times already.”

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/business/companies/microsoft-apple-redux-empire-strikes-back/story-fnda1bsz-1226506488983#ixzz2AoVabPG7

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