GLENN’S SHOW NOTES
Microsoft currently has 100 million Messenger users, which will be merged into Skype’s user base of around 280 million, according to The Next Web.
Messenger will be retired in the first quarter of next year, in all countries except China.
Microsoft acquired Skype one year ago for $US8.5 billion. It since announced Skype would be integrated into all of its products, and two weeks ago unveiled Skype 6.0 for both Windows and Mac.
Microsoft confirmed the contacts and profiles of Messenger users would remain intact and be merged into the new account when upgrading.
New users can expect support for all platforms including iPad and Android, video calling on mobile phones (with both groups and with Facebook friends), instant messaging and screen sharing.
Apple has terminated contracts with up to 200 Australian resellers in the last four months with no explanation, CRN can reveal.
Apple now has around 500 local resellers on its books from approximately 700 in June – a cull of just under 30 percent
One reseller had been in partnership with Apple for just over a year, selling iMacs and Macbook Pros. It said it did not sell iPads or iPhones as it declined to bend to Apple’s ‘strict’ standards for selling the mobile devices.
The reseller said Apple ended the partnership with no warning after it claimed sales targets had been missed.
The tech giant is hoping to swap out Intel chips with the ARM-based chips it designs internally for the iPhone and iPad, reported Bloomberg. Apple engineers have reportedly grown confident that their processors will be powerful enough to fuel Mac desktops and notebooks.
This switch, which would end the seven-year partnership between Intel and Apple, isn’t likely to occur for another a few years,
Apple’s decision to nix its use of Intel chips in its Mac may be part of its broader strategy to create a seamless and fluid experience across all of its notebooks, smartphones and tablets, Bloomberg noted, a goal that is easier to achieve when working with only a single chip architecture.
The retailer will today begin selling unlocked Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4Smodels through 50 Australian retail outlets across all eight states and territories. but it will not stock the latest iPhone 5 model.
Dick Smith will sell the 8GB model iPhone 4 for $449, while it will also sell the 16GB iPhone 4S for $679. Unlike other products, the both iPhone models can only be purcahsed in-store and can’t be bought online through the Dick Smith Web site.
On November 5th, 2007 — Android was officiallyannounced (although the SDK wasn’t made available until the 12th)
The words “four more years”, coupled with a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama embraced in a hug, have become the most retweeted Twitter post ever.
The US president tweeted the message at 0416 GMT, and it has since been retweeted over half a million times.
The same picture of Mr and Mrs Obama was also uploaded to Facebook, where it also broke records by becoming the most ‘liked’ photo ever posted to the site.
Skype: Microsoft to silence Win Live Messenger in Q1 2013
The Mayans may have made a miscalculation: it’s not the world that’s ending, but Windows Live Messenger which is not long for this world, with Microsoft dumping its “old” Messenger app in favour of its $8b Skype acquisition.
Farewell, Windows Live Messenger, you’ve ensured trillions of messages sent and received over many, many years, you’ve helped people talk by voice and video, but your hype is dying in favour of Skype.
Yes, Skype, the world’s most popular Internet voice and video calling software, acquired by Microsoft for US $8b last year.
Given Skype’s stunning popularity, and given Microsoft spent so much money buying it, it makes sense to retire Windows Live Messenger. Indeed, it’s something I expected would happen one day, enabling Microsoft to consolidate its messenger apps.
The news comes from Skype’s official blog, which also informs us of the crucial information that “millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype”, and that by updating to Skype, “Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends.”
Skype version 6.0 on Windows and Mac is the new Skype version that is bringing both messaging apps together, a version that will finally let you use a Microsoft account to sign in so your Messenger contacts appear in Skype’s comms window.
And, while Messenger is due to go dark sometime in Q1, 2013, Chinese Messenger users are being given a reprieve, with Microsoft stating Messenger’s availability will continue in China.
Messenger users updating to Skype (and all those updating to the new Skype version) can expect, according to Microsoft, the following features:
– Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
– Instant messaging, video calling, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
– Sharing screens
– Video calling on mobile phones
– Video calling with Facebook friends
– Group video calling
Microsoft says there’ll be plenty of help and info during the next few months of “transition”, as well as “special offers later this year as you join your Messenger friends in the migration” – which I can only imagine will be to do with discounted plans, calling rates and more to sweeten the migratory deal.
Indeed, Microsoft hopes Messenger users will start downloading Skype version 6.0 to “experience for yourself”.
Skype’s blog post has some screenshots that show how Messenger users can log in to Skype and see all their Messenger contacts ready to be, well, contacted, and how to merge your Skype and Messenger accounts together.
So, the merging of Microsoft’s Skype and Messenger lines has at last been officially flagged, with Messenger set to send its last message everywhere but China in Q1, 2013.
So, while you can presumably “put that in your Skype and smoke it” if you’re not happy with the change, or heck, move to China, the message from Microsoft’s messaging is that Messenger’s last message is coming soon, with Microsoft clearly hoping that you get the message!
The newest WIndows Live Messenger-compatible version of Skype can be downloaded here.
Unlocked iPhones arrive at Dick Smith – but should you buy unlocked?
If you’ve wanted to buy a new and unlocked iPhone, your only choice has been the Apple Store – but that’s now changed. Whether an unlocked iPhone – or any other unlocked handset – is good value depends a lot on how you plan to use it.
Apple is now allowing resellers to offer unlocked iPhones, and one of the first is Dick Smith.
Starting today, you’ll be able to buy an unlocked iPhone 4 or 4S at 50 Dick Smith stores around the country (stock levels permitting).
We couldn’t find the list on the Dick Smith web site, so here it is (apologies for the strange order, but we decided against rearranging it to reduce the opportunity for errors to creep in):
Go watch Foxtel Go – on your iPad
If you’re an existing Foxtel customer through satellite or cable, you can now watch up to 21 live Foxtel channels on your iPad, but only if you already subscribe to them – with Foxtel on Xbox 360, Internet TV or T-Box subscribers sadly excluded from Foxtel’s iDelivered fun.
If you’ve noticed that cable TV subscribers in the US have had access to subscription TV programming through their iPads and were wondering when Foxtel would get with the streaming iProgram down under, that day has finally come with Foxtel Go.
As you can imagine, you need to be a full Foxtel subscriber through cable or satellite to enjoy up to 21 live Foxtel channels on your iPad, and you’ll need to enter in your subscriber info to be authenticated – with up to two iPads able to access content at the same time.
That means any Foxtel subscribers via the IPTV delivery mechanisms of the Xbox 360, compatible Internet TVs (like selected Samsung models) or Foxtel on Telstra T-Box don’t qualify to use the Foxtel Go app.
That’s a disappointment, to be sure, but it’s to be expected – clearly, Foxtel is looking after its cable and satellite customers first, but hopefully its IPTV customers will get access at some point in the future – even if it requires additional payment.
ndeed, it would be nice for Foxtel’s IPTV services to be opened up to iPads directly, for a fee – and without needing to have cable or satellite Foxtel at all, but again, it’s clear that those moves aren’t up for negotiation yet, so we can live in hope that it will happen one day.
So, if you are a qualifying subscriber, which is the vast majority of Foxtel subscribers, and you have an iPad – all you need to do is to go to the App Store and download the free Foxtel Go app.
The 21 live channels include “lifestyle, kids, music, live English Premier League, and dedicated 24-hour news channels, plus catch up episodes from hundreds of titles with award-winning drama, documentaries, as well as the edgiest shows from around the world express from the US”, with those specific channels being:
“The LifeStyle Channel, A&E, Sky News, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Disney, Cartoon Network, Channel [V], Cbeebies and dedicated sports channels such as SPORTS PLAY Powered by FOX SPORTS (live sport highlights are Rugby Union, Cricket, A-League and Tennis), FOX SPORTS PLUS 1, 2 3 and 4 which are four Barclays Premier League specially programmed football channels, and Eurosport.”
Foxtel says that its “catch up titles” include:
“ROVE LA (FOX8), The Walking Dead (FX), Magic City (SoHo), Territory Cops (CI Network), The Only Way is Essex (LifeStyle YOU), Project Runway Australia (Arena), Grand Designs Australia (The LifeStyle Channel), Aqua Teen Hunger Force (The Comedy Channel), Haven (13th Street), Duck Dynasty (A&E), MegaTruckers (A&E), Gossip Girl (FOX8), Vampire Diaries (FOX8), Wicked Tuna (National Geographic Channel), Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel), Copper (FX), Married to Jonas (E!), The Amazing World of Gumball (Cartoon Network), Gravity Falls (Disney), Harry Connick Jnr. Live on Broadway (Studio) and Spooks (UKTV).”
Foxtel’s CEO, Richard Freudenstein, said in a statement that: “The TV landscape has changed, viewers are not just watching TV in the living room they’re watching TV on the way to work, at the beach or in another room of the house.
“Foxtel Go is the biggest thing we’ve launched since digital and iQ, it lets customers take their entertainment with them on the go, and as the App is included with a customer’s subscription, it’s a fantastic value proposition.
“We’re really excited and we think our customers will love this new way to watch Foxtel.”
Foxtel’s “Executive Director of Product”, Jim Rudder, said in the same statement that: “Foxtel has always been about giving our customers more value for their subscription. The new Foxtel Go App does just that. It’s easy to download on iPad and the user interface is simple and intuitive.
“Today’s launch, however, is just the beginning of our mission to give our customers the content they love anytime whether they’re home or out and about. Over the coming months we’ll be announcing a number of initiatives which will extend our customers’ ability to take their Foxtel with them.”
Your iPad will need iOS 5 or higher, and you can use two iPads with Foxtel Go on the one account. Naturally, the ability to “remote record” to your iQ or MyStar is included, and you can use 3G/4G or Wi-Fi to access Foxtel Go, but video quality will vary depending on your bandwidth – and you’ll be responsible for the data usage incurred via your 3G/4G or Wi-Fi connectivity.
Netflix gobbles a third of peak Internet traffic in North America
Netflix users are turning into the biggest data hogs in North America, a new report suggests.
The report from Sandvine, a company that sells Internet traffic-management systems, finds that Netflix use accounts for 33 percent of all downstream traffic in North America during the peak hours between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. By contrast, Amazon and Hulu only account for 1.8 percent and 1.4 percent of downstream traffic, respectively.
During peak time, 65 percent of all fixed-line data traffic across North America is delivered through audio- or video-streaming services, so Netflix accounts for a little over half of that. All told, average monthly data usage in North America across wired connections has more than doubled from 23GB last year to 51GB this year, according to the report.
Sandvine collects traffic data from over 200 customers all over the world that it says, adequately represent worldwide Internet usage. The data is collected for a period of one month.
Netflix’s growth is nothing short of astounding. Just two years ago, Netflix streaming accounted for 20 percent of all downstream traffic during peak time. In May 2011, that figure jumped to 30 percent.
Sandvine expects Netflix to continue to dominate the Web’s traffic, saying it will generate “two times the bandwidth of YouTube and 10 times that of competing services” by 2015. In addition, Sandvine predicts that the 2014 World Cup will become the most streamed event in Internet history.
Netflix’s continued growth comes as the company faces a likely fight with activist investor Carl Icahn. After Icahn bought just under 10 percent of the company’s shares last week, Netflix’s board approved a shareholder rights plan that will make it prohibitively expensive for any investor, including Icahn, to acquire a large chunk of shares. The move is commonly known as a poison pill, and is designed to fend off activist investors looking to take over a company.
Will Apple switch the Mac from Intel to ARM processors?
YOU have to wonder if Apple and Intel are in some kind of negotiation phase right now.
That’s one cynical way to interpret the story from Bloomberg News saying that Apple is exploring ways to move its Macintosh line of computers away from Intel’s chips and toward using its own internally designed line of chips.
Apple’s last shift in chip technology happened during 2005 and 2006, when it pivoted away from the old IBM-made PowerPC architecture and instead embraced Intel’s processors, which already run inside most of the world’s personal computers.
One side benefit that resulted was that Macs soon had the ability to optionally run Microsoft Windows and other operating systems, too. One of the most popular software products for the Mac is Parallels, a virtualization program that allows users to install and run Windows side by side on the Mac.
Bloomberg’s story says that Apple engineers have “grown confident” that its own line of chips — the current top of the line is the A6X inside the newest iPad — will eventually have enough computing muscle to run a full-featured Mac, and not just an iPad or iPhone.
Such a change would no doubt hurt Intel, already fighting to maintain its spot as one of the tech industry’s agenda-setting companies, as the PC market contracts and its lack of participation in the mobile market becomes ever more glaring.
The thinking goes that, in time, Apple will want to offer a more unified computing environment across all of its platforms — phones, tablets and PCs — and one key way to make that happen is to have a single chip architecture inside them all.
It isn’t crazy, and you just know that somewhere in some lab in Cupertino or Austin, there is a hopped-up prototype Mac running some weird iteration of OS X on some hopped-up prototype A-chip, just to see if it can be done. As the late Steve Jobs once said about the prospect of switching to Intel, but before it happened: “We like to have options”.
Certain pieces of the puzzle are in place; others have yet to be properly put in place, none of them impossible. Probably the most important one was the introduction by ARM — the British chip designer whose cores form the basic designs around which Apple’s A5, A6 and A6X chips are built — of the Cortex A57 and A53 cores last month.
These are the first 64-bit ARM cores ever, and being 64-bit capable is a must for a Mac. Why? Memory. A 64-bit chip can address a lot of memory, much more than an older 32-bit chip can.
Take the base configuration of a MacBook Pro. It ships with eight gigabytes of DRAM memory on board and, depending on the model, can be expanded to 16GB. The iMac maxes out at 32GB of RAM. The muscular Mac Pros can in some configurations take up to 6GB of RAM. All that RAM requires a 64-bit chip, and before last month, a chip based on an ARM core couldn’t get there. Now it can.
The fundamental problem will be one of performance. Intel’s history of chip designs have always tended to emphasize boosting the overall computing power of a chip, and it has done this better than anyone else. There’s a reason that Intel chips are found in most of the world’s PCs servers.
And while I’m painting this in broad brushstrokes, this emphasis on computing muscle has, over the years, caused Intel to lag ARM-based chips when it comes to power efficiency.
In the same way there’s a reason that Intel chips are inside most of the worlds PCs and servers, there’s a reason that ARM-based chips, built by companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, and now Apple, are inside most of the world’s mobile phones, smartphones and tablets.
So it would seem that the state of play right now has the best chip going where it’s best suited. Intel chips go in Macs, and ARM-based A5, A6 and A6X chips go in the iPad and the iPhone. Each is the best tool for the task at hand.
But could ARM designs catch up with Intel enough that an ARM chip could be as good — or better, as it would have to be — to knock Intel out of the Mac, as the Bloomberg story suggests? They could. I talked with analyst Nathan Brookwood about this.
He said that while ARM chips generally don’t match Intel’s on performance right now, Apple has the in-house expertise to design one that could get there. It would take a few years, but it could be done. “There’s no reason that an Intel chip couldn’t arbitrarily be made to have the same power efficiency as an ARM chip.
There’s also no reason that an ARM chip couldn’t be faster, with the right hardware resources brought to bear,” he told me. “It’s all a matter of implementation.”
If a company decided it wanted to design an ARM chip that was, as Brookwood put it, “hell-bent on performance,” it could be done. “You could get a pretty fast machine,” he says.
Trouble is, it would have to be not only be fast, but have a really excellent road map, lasting well into the future, that not only met but exceeded that of Intel. That’s a tall, tall order.
And there would, of course, be numerous complications, none of them insurmountable.
Remember that when Apple shifted from PowerPC to Intel, it had to provide a cushion to all those software developers. Software written for the old chip had to work on the new, and vice versa. This was done primarily through emulating the old chip on the new. Apple called the technology Rosetta.
It turns out that there’s a path for a new Rosetta-like technology on ARM. A Russian start-up company called Elbrus Technologies has developed emulation technology that allows an ARM chip to run software developed for Intel’s x86 chips. Advantage ARM.
What about Intel? It has advantages, too, none of them trivial. One is the best record in the world of consistently delivering chips that outrun every other chip in the world, when it comes to raw performance. It also has the world’s best chip-manufacturing technology and expertise. And it has the benefit of a fruitful, seven-year relationship with Apple.
It’s a toss-up for now. If the environment shifts in such a way that ARM designs are bolstered by Apple’s own considerable and growing chip-design expertise, and its desire to rely less and less on outside partners to control its destiny, Apple could indeed move the Mac to an ARM-based chip of its own design.
If it does happen, it will not happen quickly. It would take at least two years, and then, if history is any guide, the transitional phase during which software developers and customers alike would have to have their hands held would last another two years. It is something that Apple does well.
Another thing that Apple does well: The precise opposite of what some rumors suggest it will. The story is properly hedged with the classic “to be sure” paragraph that says no final decision has been made on any of this. The speculation will grind on via the rumour mills.
And until there’s more evidence on the table that this transition is happening, my advice is to treat it as nothing more than that: a rumour.
DC Puts All Its Comics on the iBookstore
Today, DC Comics announced that its entire lineup of comics are coming to the iBookstore. Previously, only DC’s graphic novels were available on the store.
DC Entertainment, the #1 comic book publisher in the U.S., announced today its entire line of periodical comic books are now available for download from the top three e-bookstores including Kindle Store, iBookstore and NOOK Store.
The precedent setting new digital availability brings bestselling DC Comics and Vertigo periodical titles, including JUSTICE LEAGUE, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, ACTION COMICS, BATGIRL, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, FABLES and AMERICAN VAMPIRE, among many others, to an even broader audience of digital readers.
DC will continue to deliver comics through its DC Comics and Vertigo apps, as well as the comiXology platform. The inclusion of the comics on the iBookstore is intended to make it easier for comic readers to purchase via their preferred digital outlet.
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue Joins Ferrari’s Board of Directors
Wednesday November 7, 2012 10:27 am PST by Jordan Golson
Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of Internet Software and Services (including Siri and Maps), has joined Ferrari’s board of directors. Cue is a bit of a sports car buff and says he has owned a Ferrari for five years.
Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said Cue’s “huge experience in the dynamic, innovative world of the Internet will be of great assistance to [the company].” Di Montezemolo met Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year at a Stanford University event. He praised Apple, saying the two companies “are connected by the same passion, the same love for the product, maniacal attention to technology, but also to design.”
I am pleased and proud to become a member of the board. I have personally dreamed of owning a Ferrari since I was 8 years old and have been lucky to be an owner for the past 5 years.
I continue to be awed by the world-class design and engineering that only Ferrari can do.
Cue was recently profiled as a “master negotiator and product resuscitator” after he was given charge of Siri and Maps. The Ferrari press release was noticed by AppleInsider.
Pixar Names Main Building in Honor of Steve Jobs
Wednesday November 7, 2012 7:07 am PST by Eric Slivka
The Pixar Times reports (via 9to5Mac) that Pixar has recently named its main building in honor of Steve Jobs, with a Pixar employee tweeting a friend’s photo showing the new name on the building.
Peering in through the windows, you can clearly see the outline of Sulley, confirming that this is the main building that Steve Jobs himself played a major role in designing.
He came up with the idea that the building should be centered around a large atrium, which would lead to accidental collaboration that may not occur if everyone was stuck in their individual offices.
Jobs famously invested $10 million to purchase Pixar from Lucasfilm in 1986, with the animation studio being sold to Disney 20 years later for $7.4 billion.