Choice has requested the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigate whether Microsoft “unreasonably” advertised two models of the tablet as having 32 GB and 64 GB of space.
Choice found only 16 GB of usable space on the 32 GB model and 45 GB of usable space on the 64 GB variant of the device. Choice noted that Microsoft publishes the usable space figures on its website.
It compared the Surface to two competing products — the 32 GB Google Nexus 7, which offered 27.33 GB of available space, and the 16 GB Apple iPad 2, which has 13.34 GB of space available for the end user.
For the July to December 2012 period, 584 requests were made “for disclosure of user data from Google accounts or services” Google Transparency Report shows
For 2012, Australian governmental authorities made a total of 1107 requests for user data and 1552 for account details.
Australia’s governments are the seventh most frequent requester of user data in the world, and number nine for account details
If it is possible and legal to do so, Google notifies users whose data and account details have been requested by government agencies.
The Surface Pro will be on sale in the United States and Canada from February 9, 2013. It will be available in 64GB and 128GB models, starting from $US899 ($A850).
Australia was one of several countries to get the Surface RT on release day but Australia has been left out of the first round of shipments.
Surface Pro iis expected in Harvey Norman stores soon after launch.
Pirate Party Australia hopes to field candidates in every state and territory after the party won the right to contest its first ever Australian election.
We’re looking at hopefully two [candidates] for each of the Eastern states, and at least one in each of the territories, Party president David Campbell said
The problem we have right now is the Labor Government continues to push policies of censorship and surveillance,” Campbell said.
“We need to push back against that.”
Microsoft is set to end promotional pricing for its Windows 8 operating system at the end of the month, raising prices substantially from February 1.
Presently, users can download a copy of Windows 8 Pro for $39.99, with a limit of one upgrade per PC and a maximum limit of five licenses per customer.
Dotcom denies revenge with new site launch
his new “cyberlocker” was not revenge on US. authorities who planned a raid on his home, closed Megaupload and charged him with online piracy for which he faces jail if found guilty.
Dotcom said his new offering, Mega.co.nz, DOWN launched yesterday even as he and three colleagues await extradition from New Zealand to the United States, complied with the law and warned that attempts to take it down would be futile.
“This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood,” Dotcom said.
A sophisticated encryption system will allow users to encode their files before they upload them on to the site’s servers, which Dotcom said were located in New Zealand and overseas.
Each file will then be issued a unique, sophisticated decryption key which only the file holder will control, allowing them to share the file as they choose.
As a result, the site’s operators would have no access to the files, which they say would strip them from any possible liability for knowingly enabling users to distribute copyright-infringing content, which Washington says is illegal.
“Even if we wanted to, we can’t go into your file and snoop and see what you have in there,” the burly Dotcom said.
The Motion Pictures Association of America said encrypting files alone would not protect Dotcom from liability.
“We’ll reserve final judgment until we have a chance to analyse the new project,” a spokesman said. “But given Kim Dotcom’s history, count us as sceptical.”
NBN Co is finalising construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Blacktown, with fibre optic cable hauled into completed fibre pits off Blacktown Road.
It is the first NBN fibre optic cable to be installed in metropolitan Sydney.
Select homes and businesses in Blacktown are expected to be connected to the NBN as early as July 2013.
Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, attended the rollout alongside Blacktown City council members. Rowland said the need for high-speed broadband in the Blacktown area was particularly strong.
Four more areas across Australia can now switch on to the National Broadband Network (NBN), with around 9000 premises now able to sign up for NBN services.
The areas include Coffs Harbour (NSW); Toowoomba (Queensland); Hobart (Tasmania); and Gungahlin (ACT).
NBN Co has started construction in 10 new locations around Australia, including:
• Frankston, Footscray and Keysborough (Victoria)
• Ashmore (Queensland)
• Gawler (SA)
• Northam (WA)
• Claremont and South Launceston (Tasmania)
• Civic (ACT)
Original Batmobile sold for $4.2m at US auction
The Batmobile used by actor Adam West in the original TV series of Batman has sold for $4.2m (£2.6m) at a US auction.
The car was bought by Rick Champagne, a logistics company owner from Phoenix, Arizona.
Australia web speeds ranking dwindles to 40th place globally
AUSTRALIA continued to slide down the list of speediest internet-connected countries last year, with few internet users enjoying downloads fast enough to stream high-definition movies.
The Akamai Technologies State of the Internet report, released overnight, puts Australia in 40th place for average net connection speeds, down from 39th spot in the second quarter of 2012, and beaten by five countries in the region.
Rodney Gedda, senior analyst for telecommunications firm, Telsyte told news.com.au that the drop could have been the result of our regional neighbours getting broadband at a faster rate than we are.
“It’s probably not such a bad drop considering out speeds are getting slower, though there was a decline in average megabytes per second from 4.9 to 4.3,” Mr Gedda said.
South Korea again claimed the top spot for average internet connection speeds, while Hong Kong beat the world for top average peak speed.
In a small pre-Australia Day win, however, Australia claimed internet speed superiority over Oceania rival New Zealand, which languished in 46th place.
Year-on-year Australia also experienced a 19 per cent increase in average connection speeds.
The study, which looked at more than 8.8 million Australian internet connections, found just 4.1 per cent of Aussie internet users were downloading content at speeds greater than 10 megabits per second – the speed required to stream 720p high-definition movies.
Only 38 per cent of Australians were connected at speeds higher than 4Mbps.
By comparison, 86 per cent of net-connected South Koreans enjoyed speeds over 4Mbps and more than half were connected at speeds higher than 10Mbps.
Australia’s average peak internet connection speed of 22.8Mbps won the country 34th place, putting it sixth in the Asia Pacific region but well below the 54.1Mbps of world leader Hong Kong where users could download high-definition feature films in minutes rather than hours.
It was also enough to beat New Zealand, which registered an average connection speed of 3.9Mbps and average peak of 17.8Mbps.
It’s not all bad, though.
“It doesn’t mean we’re going to be left in the lurch,” Mr Gedda said.
“We’ve still got copper networks and ISPs are making advances in ADSL technology, and people have the option of upgrading from standard ADSL to ADSL2+.”
The analyst said that Australia’s land-mass is also overlooked when it comes to discussing the country’s comparative internet speeds.
“We are fortunate in the sense that we have a national broadband program but unfortunate in the sense we have such a large landmass to cover, it is often overlooked in broadband arguments,” he said,
“There’s a lot of debate about comparing it to Korea and Singapore and Japan and it’s not really a fair argument because those countries are a lot smaller and very densely populated.”
Earlier this month, NBN Co announced the company had completed or commenced connections at more than 758,000 premises by the end of 2012 and chief executive Mike Quigley said another 286,000 premises were expected to be “passed” by June this year.
The National Broadband Network promises to deliver download speeds of up to 100Mbps.
A spokesperson for Minister Stephen Conroy told News.com.au that the Gillard Government “understands the importance of improving Australia’s download speeds, both for now and the future. This is the essential infrastructure for the 21st century.
“By connecting 93 per cent of Australian homes and businesses to an optic fibre network, the National Broadband Network will deliver speeds that are equal to the best in the world,” the spokesperson said.
“The Coalition spent eleven years in government doing nothing on broadband and Mr Abbott is promising more of the same.
“On 29 October he wrote in the Australian Financial Review that he would still leave the delivery of broadband to the competitive market. That market has failed us, which is why the Government is making the investment in the National Broadband Network that will deliver reliable high speed broadband to all Australians at affordable prices, so that we can compete effectively with the rest of the world.”
GLOBAL AVERAGE INTERNET SPEEDS
1. South Korea: 14.7 Mbps
2. Japan: 10.5 Mbps
3. Hong Kong: 9 Mbps
4. Switzerland: 8.7 Mbps
5. Latvia: 8.7 Mbps
6. Netherlands: 8.5 Mbps
7. Czech Republic: 7.6 Mbps
8. Denmark: 7.2Mbps
9. United States: 7.2 Mbps
10. Finland: 6.8 Mbps
40. Australia: 4.3 Mbps
46. New Zealand: 3.9 Mbps
… and the country with the slowest average connection speeds was Libya, recording a web speed of 0.05 megabytes per second.
Source: Akamai Technologies, third quarter 2012
Bad Apple: Steve Jobs threatened to sue competitor Palm for poaching employees
MORE proof that Steve Jobs was a bit of a tyrant – documents have surfaced showing that he had threatened to sue smartphone manufacturer Palm, if it didn’t stop poaching Apple employees.
In a sworn testimony to the United States district court of California, dated August 7th 2012, former Palm CEO Edward Colligan claimed that Jobs had called him the previous year “expressing concern about employees being hired away from Apple by Palm.”
“As a solution, Mr Jobs proposed an arrangement between Palm and Apple which neither company would hire the other’s employees, including high tech employees,” Colligan said.
“Mr Jobs also suggested that if Palm did not agree to such an arrangement, Palm could face lawsuits alleging infringements of Apple’s many patents.”
Colligan replied to Jobs’ phone call by email, stating that any agreement of the kind he was suggesting was likely illegal and said Palm could use patents of its own to sue Apple for copyright violation.
Jobs replied stating that this was “not satisfactory to Apple”.
“It is not just a matter of our employees deciding they want to join Palm,” Jobs wrote.
“I’m sure you realise the asymmetry in the financial resources of our respective companies when you say: ‘We will both just end up paying a lot of lawyers a lot of money,” adding “My advice is to look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here.”
Palm was not the only company that was the subject of Jobs’ wrath.
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt also received an email from Jobs requesting that its new “cell phone software group” stop “relentlessly recruiting” people out of Apple’s iPod team.
But it seems as though Google heeded the warning.
An email exchange shows that a former senior staffing strategist told Eric Schmidt that one of their recruiters “would be terminated within the hour” for trying to hire an Apple employee.
Schmidt replied that he would prefer the employee be issued a verbal firing “since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?” [sic].
The documents are just the latest evidence of the kind of informal hiring agreements made between the tech giants of Silicone Valley.
Apple, Intel and Google are currently the subject of a civil class action lawsuit where five employees are fighting for compensation for lost wages due to the “gentlemen’s agreements” the company had in place. If the defendants are successful it could cost the companies millions of dollars.
Apple Stock Down 10% in After Hours Trading Amidst Concerns of Flat Growth
Wednesday January 23, 2013 5:45 pm PST by Husain Sumra
After reporting record-breaking quarterly revenue and profit earlier today, Apple’s stock has taken a 10% tumble in after hours trading. Apple posted a $13.1 billion profit for the quarter this year compared to a $13.06 billion profit in the same quarter of last year, yielding flat growth year over year.
The flat growth, as pointed out by Apple, is largely because manufacturing costs have risen, even as revenue has risen 18%. The New York Times notes that analysts were worried that about Apple’s profit margins, even after Apple warned that a significant overhaul of its product line would mean high manufacturing costs in the early lives of the products.
The results arrived with an unusual level of anticipation, even for a company as high-profile as Apple, because of anxiety among some investors about Apple’s ability to sustain its growth and create new hit products. Apple’s stock has lost about a quarter of its value since September, erasing more than $170 billion of its market value.
Business Insider notes that even though Apple’s holiday quarter in 2012 had a week less than it did in 2011 that sales growth still wouldn’t be at the point that it was.
Apple’s 10% stock decline gives it a current market cap of $463.49 billion and a loss of nearly $50 billion in market capitalization from worried investors. Despite analysts’ and investors’ worries of year-over-year growth, The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara notes that Apple’s losses in market cap today were roughly equal the value of two Research in Motions and two Nokias.
Apple Sees Highest Growth in China, Revenue Up 67%
During today’s quarterly results call for the first fiscal quarter of 2013, Peter Oppenheimer mentioned that the company focused on establishing a new operating segment of Greater China, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
“We have established a new operating segment for China, given the contribution of that region to our business,” said Oppenheimer.
The company has adjusted how it reports revenue for separate geographic regions because of the significant sales of both hardware and software in China during the last couple of years.
China was responsible for $6.8 billion of Apple’s revenue during the last quarter. Overall revenue in China is up 67%.
While Apple experienced strong iPhone growth overall, selling 47 million iPhones compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter, it saw the most significant growth in China, which is up more than 100% year over year. Despite a late launch of the iPad, it was also noted to be successful in the country.
In terms of the geographic distribution, we saw our highest growth in China. It was into the triple digits, which was higher than the market there. We’re extremely pleased.
It is clear that China is our second largest region. And there is a lot of potential there.
Apple opened four new stores in the Greater China area during 2012, and when asked about China during the question and answer section, Cook reiterated plans to continue to expand on the 11 stores that it has in the country, saying that Apple had “many more” stores to open.
Tim Cook spent a portion of January in China, meeting with both government officials and representatives from China Mobile, the country’s largest mobile carrier. During the visit, Cook was interviewed by Sina Technology, where he emphasized Apple’s efforts to raise its profile in the country.
Stanford Again Offering iPhone App Development Course Free on iTunes U
Wednesday January 23, 2013 12:31 pm PST by Jordan Golson
Stanford University is again offering the iOS 6 edition of Paul Hegarty’s well-regarded iPhone and iPad application development course free on iTunes U. This year, Stanford is running the course on Stanford’s Piazza collaboration platform — the same social learning service that Stanford students use — as well as iTunes U.
This setup allows students to assist each other and get more from the class.
Developing Apps for iPhone and iPad will run from January 22 through March 28. Interested students need to sign up on Piazza by February 1, and should subscribe to classroom videos on iTunes U as well.
Updated for iOS 6. Tools and APIs required to build applications for the iPhone and iPad platform using the iOS SDK. User interface designs for mobile devices and unique user interactions using multi-touch technologies. Object-oriented design using model-view-controller paradigm, memory management, Objective-C programming language.
Other topics include: object-oriented database API, animation, multi-threading and performance considerations.
Stanford’s most celebrated iTunes U course includes peer collaboration, so you can learn alongside fellow mobile developers from around the world. If you’ve tried it alone and gotten stuck, now there will be people to help.
If you’ve taken it before and aced it, now you can sharpen your knowledge by helping others. And if you’ve been meaning to learn Developing Apps for iPhone & iPad, there may never be a better time.
We call this experiment Coding Together. It’s free, and it’s going on from January 22 through March 28. We think it will be fun, and you’re invited to join.
Coding Together uses Piazza, the same social learning platform that Stanford students use in the on-campus version of the class. You’ll follow along with Professor Hegarty’s lectures and complete the assignments in time with the class. Got a question? Ask on Piazza and one of your peers will help — probably within minutes.
Apple has just announced it’s best quarter EVER, but the stock is taking a pounding on Wall Street.
Apple announced earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2013: $54.5 billion and a net profit of $13.1 billion. But the stock is down more than 4% in after-hours trading because Wall Street is worried that Apple’s phenomenal growth is slowing. Don’t you love how a record-breaking quarter is still considered an “ouch?”
Apple was expected to report decent numbers despite the public’s perception that Apple’s streak of runaway sales of iPhones and iPads is plateauing. AAPL has been falling due to a number of factors, including analysts’ low predictions for the next March 2013 quarter. Apple is printing money, but not fast enough for Wall Street.
There have also been reports that Apple has cut back supply orders for the iPhone due to weakening demand, but iPhone sales are still up from 30 million last quarter.
Here are some of the key points from Apple’s Q1:
- $54.5 billion in revenue is a new company record. The next best quarter was set in Q1 2012 with $46.33 billion. So Apple beat its own holiday sales from last year with about 17.6% year-on-year growth.
- 15.43 million iPads — A 111% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. iPad sales more than doubled this last quarter. You can thank the iPad mini. 22.9 million iPads is a big jump from 15.4 million sold this time last year.
- 47.8 million iPhones — iPhone sales were up from 37 million this time last year. That’s good, but watchers were expecting more than a 10-million-unit bump.
- 4.1 million Macs — Mac sales were down 1 million units from this time last year. iPod sales were also down a few million units (12.7 million, compared to 15.4 million last year).
Here’s Apple’s full press release:
Apple today announced financial results for its 13-week fiscal 2013 first quarter ended December 29, 2012. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share.
These results compare to revenue of $46.3 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, in the 14-week year-ago quarter.
Gross margin was 38.6 percent compared to 44.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue.
Average weekly revenue was $4.2 billion in the quarter compared to $3.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.
The Company sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
The Company sold 4.1 million Macs, compared to 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 12.7 million iPods in the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on February 14, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 11, 2013.
“We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.”
“We’re pleased to have generated over $23 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “We established new all-time quarterly records for iPhone and iPad sales, significantly broadened our ecosystem, and generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever.”
Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2013 second quarter:
• revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion
• gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent
• operating expenses between $3.8 billion and $3.9 billion
• other income/(expense) of $350 million
• tax rate of 26%
- Source Apple
Carly’s Law, named after murdered teen Carly Ryan, will catch online liars
PREDATORS who lie online about their age to meet children would be caught faster and jailed for longer under proposed federal laws.
At present, prosecutors must prove that an alleged offender lied about their age for the purpose of committing a sexual offence.
Under “Carly’s Law”, lying to organise a face-to-face meeting would be sufficient to warrant a maximum eight-year jail term.
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said the law would allow police to stop predators before children were physically or emotionally injured. “We, as adults, have the power to protect our kids,” she said.
Carly, 15, was murdered by Garry Francis Newman, 52, in 2007.
He pretended to be a 20-year-old “emo guitarist” named Brandon Kane.
“Carly’s Law” will be introduced by SA Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who has been trying since 2010 to have lying online to children declared a crime.
MySpace accused of stealing artists’ music
MySpace has been accused of using the music of its artists without their permission.
UK agency, Merlin who owns music labels that represent bands like Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, claims that it used to have a deal with MySpace but that it expired more than a year ago.
MySpace told The New York Times that any Merlin music existing on its service was “likely” uploaded by users.
But Mr Caldas replied saying that he didn’t “see ignorance as a justification for piracy”.
“If you’re offering music, without permission, that belongs to a copyright holder in a commercial environment, the onus is on you, the business, to make sure those rights are cleared,” he said.
Australia’s new wave is surfing at home
According to new research that suggests Australia is turning into a nation of nerds, albeit ones with more spare time on our hands.
Analysis by IbisWorld of the past decade of cultural and social trends has found that Australians are turning their backs on traditional forms of outdoor leisure and surfing the internet instead.
The average Aussie will have more than 78 hours a week at leisure this year, up more than 90 minutes compared with 2000.And we’re expected to have even more spare time over the next 12 years – an estimated 78.5 hours a week of it by 2025.
Rumour: Apple to launch three iPhones including 4.8-inch iPhone math
Apple could be working on three new iPhones for launch this year, including an iPhone 6, an iPhone with a 12-megapixel camera, and a bigger, 4.8-inch iPhone, which the latest rumours are calling the ‘iPhone math. Yes, really.
A report from the China Times this week, translated by BrightWire, cites upstream supply chain sources who claim that Apple will launch three new smartphones in 2013. The first to be unveiled will be the next-generation 4in iPhone, dubbed iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S, and the second will be a ‘phablet’ device with a 4.8in display, say the sources.
A third model of iPhone with a 12-megapixel camera will launch before the end of the year, but no other details of the alleged device are known at this time, the report claims.
Jobs’ house burglar gets seven-year sentence
The man who broke into the Palo Alto, California, home of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs and stole laptops, iPads and other possessions has been sentenced to seven years in a California state prison.
Kariem McFarlin, 35, was arrested in August last year by officers from the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, a Silicon Valley-based high-tech crime unit formed by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
McFarlin admitted to the burglary under questioning by Palo Alto police and said he had stolen from other homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, including two homes in Marin County, four homes in San Francisco County and one home in Alameda County.