Episode 320 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Kogan’s telco push shrouded in mystery
Kogan this week launched pre-paid mobile services but no wholesale providers have been willing to come forward as Kogan’s supplier.

  • Telstra Wholesale publicly distanced itself from the offering
  • Kogan similarly declined to provide details on how it connects the services to the Telstra network
  • Telstra wholesaler ISPOne is currently the only Telstra reseller to offer Telstra-supplied pre-paid 3G services. and delined to comment.
  • Kogan’s pre-paid plans range from $29 to $299 for up to 365 days, with unlimited calls and SMS and 6GB data per month.  

At Kogan Mobile, we don’t think you should need a degree in financial analysis to understand a mobile phone offer. We see beauty in simplicity:

  • Unlimited calls, unlimited text, a massive 6GB of monthly data using part of the Telstra’s Mobile Network
  • You pay based on how long you want your access period to last: 30, 90 or 365 days. The longer your access period the lower the cost per day
  • Lowest possible prices
  • No lock-in contracts

might be good for the 3g ipads – The company also offers a $9.99 per month data only plan (2GB) for devices like Apple’s iPad and other 3G capable tablets.

The new network will use Telstra’s wholesale 3G network, which is capped below the regular speeds of Telstra’s ‘Next G’ network. It covers 97 percent of the Australian population over 960,000 square kilometres and offers typical download speeds of between 550 kilobits per second (Kbps) and 3 megabits per second (Mbps).

Typical Telstra ‘Next G’ download speeds range from a faster 1.1Mbps to 20Mbps and cover 99 per cent of the Australian population. Most other low cost mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in Australia, such as Red Bull Mobile, Amaysim and Live Connected, use either the Optus or Vodafone networks.


Google Maps back on iOS
Apple’s Maps app forced Victorian Police to warn motorists against using the software after two people searching for the city of Mildura got lost in the wilderness.

Google Maps is available through iTunes for free download now. It offers functions such as search, turn-by-turn navigation, directions, street view and imagery. Its public transport feature is not available in Australia.
“People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here,” Google said in a statement.
“It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier. “

Microsoft fixes Surface wi-fi issues

  • seven bulletins this month, five of which are rated as critical. The patches include updates for Internet Explorer, Word, as well as several for Windows RT on the Surface.
  • addressed security issues around the mobile OS on Office 2013 RT, and also improved wi-fi reliability for the Surface. The Surface updates involve providing support for wi-fi access point names that include non-standard characters – addressing complains of “limited” wi-fi by users.


Surface hits JB HIfi & Harvey Norman stores

  • Harvey Norman will begin retailing Microsoft’s Surface RT this Friday, almost two months after the tablet became available solely through Microsoft’s online store.
  • The Surface RT will be in Harvey Norman metropolitan stores and eastern seaboard stores this Friday
  • the 32GB model for $559, the 32GB model bundled with the black Touch Cover accessory for $679, and the bundled 64GB model for $789.
  • It will also retail the Touch and Type cover accessories separately, for $139.99 and $149.99 respectively.
  • Microsoft has indicated it will go the same route and retail the product directly but is yet to confirm its sales strategy.

Apple to make Macs in US
After more than decade of producing its popular line of Mac computers in China, Apple has revealed it plans to shift some of that production back to the US in 2013
Cook didn’t say which specific Mac lines will be moved to the US, or where the new production facilities while be hosted. He did say, however, that Apple’s US-based operations will involve more than just final Mac assembly, and that the shift back to the US will run Apple $US100 million.

“I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job,” Cook said. “But I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs.”

NRL fans to get live match streaming on mobile, tablets from 2013

Telstra has signed a five-year digital media deal with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC). The telco will acquire exclusive broadcast rights of all NRL matches and exclusive post game access/press conferences for mobile and tablet devices.

In addition, Telstra will operate the NRL website, related team websites and the official NRL iPhone and Android app.

  • matches live on their mobile phones and tablets, regardless of their carrier.

Five matches per round live and three as per Nine Network broadcast times

Microsoft puts SkyDrive app on Xbox360
A new SkyDrive app for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 allows users to upload content to Microsoft’s cloud storage service from PCs and mobile devices, and then view it on the game console.

The application allows users to view images, videos and documents on the TV that is connected to the Xbox,

The storage service is also compatible with non-Microsoft products such as Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as smartphones based on Android.


Woman battles telco over $148,000 global roaming fee, Telecommun​ication Industry Ombudsman reveals
A WOMAN slapped with a monster mobile phone bill of almost $148,000 after a European holiday has battled with her telco to wipe the bill.  The customer’s carrier reduced the $147,908 global roaming fee to $1147 after her nine-week trip – but only after a complaint to the industry watchdog and despite requesting a special plan to make calls while abroad before she left.  The sky-high charge, revealed in a summary of the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman’s latest complaints, is among $8 million worth of disputed global roaming charges from July last year to September 30.  A TIO quarterly report, released today, also reveals customers claim billing blunders are destroying their businesses and credit ratings.  One self-employed truck driver said he was forced to close his business after a rejected loan for vehicle repairs because of an incorrect $102 phone debt listed on his credit rating.  Ombudsman Simon Cohen said the potential for disputes over roaming charges had increased as more Australians travelled overseas with devices to stay in touch with family, friends and business contacts.  The Australian Communications and Media Authority is developing an industry standard to combat bill shock for international travellers.  The TIO’s recommendations are that companies get proper consent before activating global roaming; supply clear cost details and be allowed to restrict access to roaming when charges are rapidly building.

Google eyes Evernote challenge with Drive features
Google launched a Drive feature that may indicate that it’s ready to challenge Evernote.
In a Google+ post, the search giant said that it is launching a “save to Drive” extension to its Chrome browser. The general idea is that you can grab content from around the Web and store it. Images and links can also go to Drive.  The feature sounds a lot like Evernote to some degree. Evernote stores notes, pictures and other items to its cloud. Now that Drive is offering a clip service to go with its Docs, Google appears to be at least pondering a challenge to Evernote.
What remains to be seen is whether Google can become a viable threat to Evernote. There’s something to be said for focus. For instance, multiple companies are eyeing challenges to Dropbox and Box, but both of those services keep plugging along. In the Evernote case, one key perk is that it works on multiple platforms. For now, Save to Google Drive is limited to Chrome.

Microsoft confirms Surfaces coming to non-Micros​oft retail outlets
mber.As rumored last week, Microsoft is expanding distribution of its Surface tablets beyond Microsoft’s own brick-and-mortar and online stores, starting as of mid-December.  The company also is making some of its holiday popups permanent stores, according to a December 11 announcement.  The U.S. and Australia will be first to get more retail stores carrying the Surface RT. “Additional availability will be added in a number of countries in the coming months,” according to a Microsoft press release.  Microsoft officials are claiming the expanded retail presence was planned after the first of 2013, but that retailer interest in the Surface RT is leading to the company offering it to retailers even sooner. There is, predictably, no mention in Microsoft’s press release of the expansion of distribution being the result of rumored slow Surface RT uptake.  Windows SuperSite’s Paul Thurrott said his sources told him a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft planned to make the Surfaces available via Best Buy and Staples in the U.S.  I’ve asked Microsoft for a list of retail chains that will offer the devices, as well a list of the other countries where distribution will be expanded. No word back so far on either query.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson said the company is not commenting on which countries or stores will get Surfaces, beyond Australia and the U.S. Microsoft also is not commenting on which Microsoft pop-up stores will become permanent. I have heard from my sources that the Times Square New York may be one of them.
Update No. 2: Staples is confirming it will be carrying Surface RTs starting December 12.
Update No. 3: @WP_DownUnder is hearing Harvey Norman and JB-HiFi are likely the first retailers to get the Surfaces in Australia.
Update No. 4: Best Buy also is selling the Surface RT, according to its own Web site.

Facebook reveals Australia’​s favourite places to check in
(Australian locations checked into by all/global Facebook users)
1. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
2. Darling Harbour
3. ANZ Stadium
4. Rod Laver Arena
5. Bondi Beach
6. Sydney Opera House
7. Chadstone Shopping Centre
8. Star City Casino
9. Suncorp Stadium
10. Crown Casino Melbourne

(discussed by Australian Facebook users on Facebook)
1. One Direction
2. Big Brother
3. The Voice
4. London 2012 Olympics
5. The Hunger Games
6. Fifty Shades of Grey
7. Sydney Swans
8. The Avengers
9. Gangnam Style
10. Kony 2012

(listened to by Australian Facebook users via the Spotify app on Facebook)
1. Skinny Love – Bon Iver
2. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
3. Payphone – Maroon 5
4. Somebody That I Used To Know – feat. Kimbra – Gotye
5. We Are Young – feat. Janelle Monae – Fun
6. Whistle – Flo Rida
7. Some Nights – Fun
8. One More Night – Maroon 5
9. Starships – Nicki Minaj
10. Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

HTC unveils the Butterfly smartphone as a rival to the iPhone 5
TAIWAN’S HTC has unveiled a new smartphone boasting a higher resolution display than Apple’s iPhone 5 just days before its rival’s latest handset goes on sale on the island.  The HTC Butterfly features a 5-inch screen with a pixel density of 440 ppi (pixels per inch) and full 1080P HD resolution, compared to the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen at 326 ppi at a lower resolution.  “We are confident that HTC Butterfly will set a new example for high-end smartphones,” chief executive Peter Chou said at the launch in Taipei.  HTC sells its own smartphones and also makes handsets for a number of leading US companies, including Google’s Nexus One.  The company has recently unveiled a new series of smartphones as it faces intense competition from Apple and South Korea’s Samsung and seen its third quarter profit tumble 79.1 per cent year-on-year.  HTC and Apple were locked in more than 20 patent lawsuits worldwide until the two firms reached a global patent settlement last month. The world’s leading technology firms have routinely pounded each other with patent suits.

Announcing Dropbox Links – The best way to share your stuff, ever.
This was sent to me via email not a news article.

Microsoft no longer bothering to deny Office on iPad
Microsoft officials have stopped bothering to deny that there will be some kind of Office support on the iPad. But the Softies still aren’t sharing when this support will arrive or in what form.
Reports that Microsoft was developing Office for iPad began circulating, courtesy of The Daily, earlier this year. Reporters at The Daily claimed a Microsoft representative demonstrated privately to them Word, Excel and PowerPoint running on the iPad. Microsoft officials, at that time, tried to throw cold water on The Daily’s claims.  In subsequent appearances, Microsoft officials danced around questions as to when and whether Microsoft would deliver Office for iPad.  The latest non-answer to the “when is Office coming to iPad” question came last week from Bill Koefoed, who is now the Chief Financial Officer of the Skype unit at Microsoft. Speaking at the December 4 NAS DAQ OMX Investor Program, this was Koefoed’s reponse to a queestion about how Microsoft is thinking time- and unit-continuum-wise about moving Office to the iPad:
BILL KOEFOED: There are some of the Office services that are available on the iPad. We have OneNote available on the iPad. I know we have Lync available on the iPad. And so as you look, we obviously think that Office is a differentiator on the Surface and you should obviously watch the Office momentum that we have with the Office 2013 release, and they’ll have more to say on the products and how it lights up the different devices. (Emphasis mine)
As first noticed by bloggers over at the Mac4ever site, there also are references popping up in Microsoft’s support pages to Office Mobile apps for the iPad. Again, there are no specifics as to specific capabilities, pricing or packaging. But based on recent leaks, it could be the case that Office Mobile for iPad and Android, as well, will require an Office 365 subscription.  Among the rumored release dates for Office Mobile for iPad are “early 2013” (The Verge) and May 2013 (various reseller and other sources).  Again, if you think of Microsoft’s new desire to be a “devices and services” company, a subscription-based offer of Office on non-Microsoft devices makes sense….

‘Tap and go’ payment system makes credit card fraud easier, police warn
POLICE have warned “tap and go” contactless payment technology has given credit card thieves a new opportunity to steal other people’s money.  Known as Mastercard PayPass or Visa payWave, the technology being rolled out by major banks allows the card holder to make a purchase under $100 by waving their card within 4cm of the card reader at the checkout.
The technology is used globally and no signature or PIN is required. Trials began in Australia in 2009, and major retailers now have tap-and-go card readers.  Detective Sergeant Natasha Leaman of Tasmania Police’s fraud and e-crime division told The Mercury while the new cards had the same secure chip technology as regular cards, payWave had opened a new fraud window.  “We had a case just recently where an elderly man had his card stolen, he didn’t realise for five days and the offender was able to use that card at stores where the payWave facility was available. It was a lot easier for him to use the card,” Det-Sgt Leaman said.
Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said while new technology to increase consumers’ payment options was welcome, there had not been sufficient public awareness raised about payWave before it was rolled out.  “One of the frustrations for consumers was they weren’t given the option to opt out,” she said.  Australian Bankers’ Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg said PayPass and payWave saved consumers time and removed the need for a card to be handed over to a cashier.  Mr Munchenberg said consumers could identify a payWave-enabled card because all cards carry the Mastercard PayPass or Visa payWave logo. He said consumers still had the option of swiping.

Amazon to sell new Kindle Fire tablets in GameStop stores
Big-box retail chains have been bailing out of selling Amazon Kindle products, owing to the razor-thin margins and the fact that Amazon is trying to crush those same retailers everywhere else. Both Target and Walmart have stopped selling the tablets, leading to speculation that Amazon could even open Kindle-based brick-and-mortar stores of its own.  Struggling retailers like GameStop could serve the same purpose, so it should come as no surprise that the two companies have joined forces to put new Kindle Fire tablets on sale at the gaming chain’s physical locations. This will provide potential valuable foot traffic to GameStop, which has been hurting due to the emergence of online game purchases, while letting consumers see and handle the Kindle tablets in person before buying.  Amazon has resisted budging on sale pricing for its slates — save for a Black Friday deal on its own site — so GameStop will borrow a tactic from other stores and entice buyers with a free $25 Amazon gift card if they buy a Kindle Fire from it. You can also trade in a previous Kindle Fire and receive up to $100 in store credit to help you upgrade to a new version.  While GameStop is best known as a prime loitering spot for kids sampling new games before buying them, it’s made a half-pivot into selling refurbished Apple iPads and iPhones and other gadgets in order to combat lost revenue related to changes in video game buying habits, whether through big-box stores selling titles for less or  more gamers purchasing online. Whether the Amazon deal will boost GameStop’s bottom line is debatable, but there seems little to lose for either side in the arrangement.

This Week In Tech History

Dec. 12, 1896: Marconi Demos Radio — Dec. 12, 1901: Marconi Transmits Across Atlantic

Dec. 11, 1910: Neon Lights the City of Light

Dec. 10, 1944: Web Visionary Passes Into Obscurity

Dec. 7, 1999: RIAA Sues Napster

Dec. 6, 1850: The Eyes Have It, Thanks to the Ophthalmoscope





Apple Testing Television Set Prototypes, ‘Isn’t a Formal Project Yet’

Wednesday December 12, 2012 5:43 am PST by Eric Slivka

Continuing the flurry of Apple television rumors in recent days following CEO Tim Cook’s brief comments on the topic as part of an interview on Rock Center last week, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is indeed testing designs for future television set products. The report adds little to existing rumors, but does indicate that work is continuing and keeps the topic fresh in the public’s mind.
Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been working on testing a few designs for a large-screen high-resolution TV.

Two people said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which assembles the iPhone and iPad, has been collaborating with Japan’s Sharp Corp. on the design of the new television.

“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” said one of the people.

The report notes that Apple has been testing television set prototypes for a number of years and that the company tests many different prototype products that never come to market, making clear that a launch is not imminent and that Apple could ultimately scrap its plans.                                         

WSJ: Apple testing ‘several’ HDTV designs with Asian manufacturers

By AppleInsider Staff
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday became the latest publication to chime in on the much-rumored Apple television, saying the company’s most recent efforts have focused on a collaboration with struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp.

According to the Journal’s supply chain sources, Apple has been testing “a few designs” for a large format HDTV, though the publication warns that the Cupertino, Calif., company may not actually build the device.

“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” said one source.

Apple has reportedly been working on prototype designs for years, but the recent collaboration with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known by its trade name Foxconn, and Sharp may signal that the TV is edging closer to production.

The rumors are in line with previous reports regarding Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou’s investment in Sharp’s Sakai LCD plant, which netted Hon Hai a 37.6 percent stake in the facility’s operator. In November, Apple too was said to have invested some $2.3 billion to keep Sharp alive as the firm is a key supplier of displays used in iDevices and other products.

In an interview with Brian Williams of NBC’s Rock Center, Apple chief executive Tim Cook stoked the “iTV” fire when he was asked about the company’s next big thing.

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Hints of an Apple-built TV have been circulating for years, and reports have claimed inside knowledge that the final product will be anything from a full-fledged HDTV to a revolutionary set-top cloud-enabled cable box, but sources have yet to offer tangible evidence in support of their claims.      

Official Google Maps iOS app released for iPhone and iPad

By Mikey Campbell
Just hours after reports surfaced that Google would be releasing a standalone iOS app powered by its expansive mapping service, the official Google Maps app made its way to the App Store and is available for download now.

The wait for Google’s official Google Maps app is over as the company released the free app late Wednesday night, complete with turn-by-turn navigation, Street View and transit information.

Many have been awaiting the standalone app’s release after the erstwhile Google Maps-powered software previously found in iOS was removed in iOS 6. With the most recent operating system, Apple replaced the Google Maps-powered Maps app with a proprietary solution that leverages location data from TomTom, among other navigation companies.

Longtime iOS users will feel at home with Google’s new mapping app, as the overall look is much the same as the legacy Maps and the Google Maps web client. However, the user interface is completely redesigned and takes on cues from other Google iOS apps like YouTube and Gmail. Multi-touch gestures are supported with all features available with the swipe of a thumb.

Making a comeback to the native iOS app is Street View, the lack of which was the source of complaints heard from a number of iDevice users. In place of the Google-built feature, Apple implemented a 3D tool dubbed Flyover, which provides a bird’s-eye view of certain large metropolitan areas around the world. While not as comprehensive as Street View, Flyover does offer a unique and detailed look at a supported city with fairly quick load times compared to other competing services.

Chinese iPhone 5 preorders soar past 300,000 ahead of Friday launch

By Mikey Campbell
Just days before the iPhone 5 is set to go on sale in China, the nation’s second largest carrier announced on Monday that preorders for the device have reached over 300,000 units less than a week after initiating reservations.

Source: China Unicom

In a post to its official Sina Weibo microblog (via MacWorld), China Unicom said pre-sale orders for Apple’s newest handset now stand at over 300,000, meaning the telecom added some 200,000 reservations to the 100,000 recorded a day after reservations went live.

The 16 GB is the predominant favorite among preorder customers with 85 percent opting for the most economical model, while the 32 GB and 64 GB versions accounted for 12 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Distribution of orders saw Beijing racking up the most orders, followed by Guangdong, Shandong, Shanghai and Liaoning.

A further breakdown of orders shows some 74 percent of reservations come from males, with the provider suggesting that many will be given as gifts to girlfriends. As for purchases by age, the 20-year old to 30-year old demographic accounts for the bulk of preorders with 52 percent, followed by those aged 30-years old to 40-years old with 34 percent.

China Unicom is Apple’s largest partner carrier in the country, with China Telecom coming in second. Both telecoms are readying to start sales on Dec. 14 as part of the fastest rollout in Apple’s history.      

Google, Microsoft ‘challenged’ vs. Apple, says Goldman Sachs

Google and Microsoft will face an increasingly dominant Apple in the coming years, a Goldman Sachs study says.
by Brooke Crothers
December 12, 2012 11:39 PM PST
The iPad 4, iPad Mini, and iPhone 5. Loyalty to Apple is increasing in the age of ‘multiple device ownership’ says Goldman Sachs.
(Credit: CNET)
Google and Microsoft will struggle to vend off Apple’s smartphone-tablet juggernaut, according to a recent study by Goldman Sachs.
Titled “Clash of the titans,” the 75-page study depicts Google and Microsoft as “challenged” in their bids to compete with Apple.
Some salient points made by Goldman Sachs, which based many of their findings on internal survey results:

  • Well positioned v. challenged: In the “context of platform adoption,” companies that are defined as “well positioned” include Apple, Facebook, Samsung. Amazon is “straddling the line.” Google and Microsoft are “challenged” in platform adoption.
  • Google: “Tablet share loss leads to smartphone share defection.” Android tablet share (excluding the Kindle Fire) will drop to 21 percent next year from 33 percent this year. Android smartphone share will decline next year to 53 percent from 55 percent this year. “We ultimately see Google as trying to find a way to stay just as relevant in the new compute paradigm as it was during Web 1.0 and 2.0.”
  • Microsoft: Market share of “total consumer compute” has fallen from 93 percent in 2000 to an expected 20 percent in 2012 due to smartphones and, more recently, tablets. Though Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets will help the company “reclaim some share in coming years,” the consumer PC market will be flat in 2013 and Microsoft “would have to sell roughly 5 Windows Phones or roughly two Windows 8 RT tablets to offset the loss of one traditional Windows PC sale.”

Apple comes across in the report as a technological juggernaut that will be hard to stop.
Spending on complements (products or services that sit on top of the platform) is rising and Apple continues to lead, Goldman said.
“We believe loyalty to the company’s ecosystem is only increasing and this should translate into continued growth going forward…In particular, we see the potential for Apple to capture additional growth as existing iOS users move to multiple device ownership.”
With new devices such as the iPad mini and lower priced iPhones, Apple’s market share in phones “has room to rise much further, and that its dominant tablet market share appears to be more resilient than most expect.”

N.Y. silicon corridor fuels more Apple made-in-U.S.A. rumors

Apple says it plans to make Macs in the U.S. next year, spurring speculation about chip companies setting up shop here to make Apple silicon.
by Brooke Crothers
December 12, 2012 5:22 PM PST
More chip factories coming to the U.S. to cater to Apple?
(Credit: Intel)
New York state has emerged as a chipmaking hot spot — hot enough to fuel the latest speculation about Apple’s plans to push for more U.S.-based manufacturing.
In a story on Tuesday, the Albany Times Union speculated that Apple may be behind a push to set up a chipmaking facility in upstate New York.

Related story


An “undisclosed company searching for a site for a chip [plant] could be a major supplier to Apple for its popular iPhone and iPad devices,” Larry Rulison of the Times Union wrote.
And that undisclosed company? Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) — the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world.
But let’s keep a few things in mind.
• Getting TSMC to set up shop in New York would take years: So, any U.S.-based Apple-related production would be in the distant future — if at all.
• GlobalFoundries is already there: The chipmaker recently started up a massive multibillion-dollar chip factory in Malta, N.Y. that aims to make the same kind of chips that Apple wants — that is, advanced processors based on the ARM design. While it may not be ready to make those advanced chips today, it could be in the future.
• Samsung too: Despite the legal wrangling with Apple, Samsung does a pretty good job of making chips for Apple’s iPad and iPhone at its U.S.-based plant in Austin, Texas. And that plant was put in the U.S. originally to cater — at least in part — to Apple.
• Don’t forget Intel: And then there’s Intel. Apple could always turn to the world’s premier chipmaker, which has more than a few plants in the U.S. Any deal with Intel would potentially be big enough to preclude TSMC.

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