Friday, April 29, 2011

White iPhone 4 Thicker than Black, Case Issues Imminent

white iPhone 4So, everybody is going bonkers over the iPhone 4, especially since it made the transition from being AT&T exclusive to also being provided on Verizon. And now people are having even more cause to celebrate as Apple has finally released a white version of the Apple smartphone to give customers a nice alternative to the standard black that everyone is carrying around these days. However, with a white iPhone come a few problems that may irritate some and cause others to not buy the phone at all.

What am I talking about? Oh, nothing much, just that the white iPhone 4 is a tiny bit thicker than the original black version. That's it? That's the big problem you all need to hear about? Yeah, it is, especially if you are an iPhone user who just loves buying cases to house your precious iPhone in.

For example, an Incase slider that lovingly fits your black iPhone 4 with ease has to be forced into place on the white iPhone. What is interesting, and unfortunate, is that the white iPhone 4 spec page that Apple is displaying to everybody does not reflect a change in thickness from the black model to the white model. The spec page shows the white iPhone 4 as measuring 9.3mm, the same as the black model. However, it actually measures 9.5mm. There is a tiny disclaimer on the page that says "Actual size and weight may vary by configuration and manufacturing process."

This will undoubtedly cause confusion among consumers as they enter the endless debate of "will my case fit or not?" So why is the white iPhone 4 thicker? Phil Schiller of Apple mentioned that the company needed to add extra UV protection in addition to some other tweaks and that this was done in an attempt to reduce the "unexpected interactions" between the new white cover and the internal components.

This essentially means that Apple needed to sacrifice the slimness of the device in order to have a better functioning white iPhone 4. With this new thickness it seems that we now have four different sized button configurations that need to be taken into consideration before purchasing a shrink-wrapped case for your white iPhone 4, black iPhone 4, white Verizon iPhone 4 and black Verizon iPhone 4. Have fun, Apple junkies. I'll stick with my Android device.

Source: Engadget - White iPhone 4 thickness created issue for case makers, owners

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Monday, April 25, 2011

iPad Sales Slipping

Surprisingly and certainly unexpectedly, Apple’s iPad sales are slipping. They’re slipping enough that iSuppli has gone ahead and readjusted the predicted numbers of iPads that it believed Apple would sell in 2011. That’s a pretty quick decision. Is it really that bad?

At an earnings call on Wednesday, April 20 Apple reported that it had sold 4.69 million iPads in the first quarter. That seems like a ton, doesn’t it? Well, in the fourth quarter of 2010, Apple sold more than 7.33 million iPads, although you have to consider that this number includes the holiday sales.

Originally, iSuppli was predicting that Apple would sell 43.7 million iPad units in 2011, but due to the decline, AppleInsider is saying that they have dropped that forecast to 39.7 million. Before the earnings call, there were a variety of different iPad sale predictions ranging from 45 to 60 million, but I think that those numbers will be dropping very soon.

So why is it that the sales aren't meeting the expectations? One of the biggest issues seems to be that Apple simply cannot keep up with the incredible demand for the device. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, said that Apple is dealing with “the mother of all backlogs.”

"I wish that we could have made a lot more iPad 2s because there were a lot of people waiting for them," Cook added.

The new and improved version of the device was released on March 11 in the United States, and it has been incredibly popular. It was reported that Apple sold almost a half a million iPad 2s during the first week that it was in stores, although there was a five week wait period for the device. Reports also stated that they sold out overseas just as quickly.

iSuppli said that some of the slowdown surrounding the iPad 2 was due to the quality of the touch screen LCD panels and the production shortages of the advanced speakers that went into the device. It simply was more difficult to crank out these higher quality parts. There are also rumors that Apple ran into a few manufacturing glitches that slowed down the process as well.

“When we looked at the manufacturing numbers, they must have run into some manufacturing issues, some quality issues in terms of turning those products around, because we didn't see the volume manufactured that we expected to see in the first quarter," said Rhoda Alexander, the director of monitor research at iSuppli.

Some might question whether or not the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan could have caused some production delays as well, but Apple claims that this had no effect on the manufacturing of the device. It was rumored that Apple was being forced to pay extra to ensure smooth shipping of the iPad 2 parts that they received from their Japanese suppliers, but Cook claimed that the disastrous event did not have any kind of impact on supply or cost for Apple.

Although iSuppli has decreased its prediction of sales in 2011, the 2012 predictions have gone up. Previously, it was forecasting that 61.6 million units would be sold in 2012, but they have now increased that number to 62.6 million.

It’s interesting that although there has been a decline in iPad sales, Apple is reporting record earnings. They recently reported profits of $5.99 billion, which is a 95 percent increase over the same time period last year.

It doesn't matter if iPad sales do continue to slip; I think that it is safe to say that Apple will somehow make it through.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

T-Mobile Offering $100 Off the G-Slate

T-Mobile G-SlateThere's a revolution coming and its name is tablet. Tablets are blowing up the tech industry right now with all the biggest names in technology, like Apple, Samsung, T-Mobile, Acer and others, pumping out tablets like there is no tomorrow. People who continuously find themselves working on the go have really taken a liking to the new rage of tablet technology, with many business professionals taking them on the road instead of a laptop.

Now there are a lot of tablets out there and most people have probably only ever heard of the iPad. Well, ladies and gentlemen, there are actually a whole slew of different tablets out there aside from the iPad, and some of them are actually really good.

One such device is the G-Slate from T-Mobile. The G-Slate is T-mobile's first 4g Android 3.0 tablet and if you act now, you can get a pretty sweet deal on one. Want to know a secret? Of course you do! T-Mobile didn't really plan on this getting out to the public, but when was the last time a technology company was able to keep anything a secret? If you call up T-Mobile right now, you can take the price of the G-Slate and slice off a nice $100.

This $100 discount wasn't offered to the public, it was only offered to those people who signed up for a special promotion offer that T-Mobile recently teased. But once the internet found out, it was all downhill from there because that little "select" promotion is now open to everybody!

That's right, all you have to do is reference the promotional code GSLATE100 and you can grab yourself a brand new, 4G Honeycomb tablet for a pretty $430. That is, of course, if you have an existing voice plan or you decide to sign up for one and are willing to commit to a two-year data contract on top of all of that. Did I mention the $100 off is a mail-in rebate?

If all that red tape doesn't phase you, then congratulations! You will soon be the new owner of a discounted T-Mobile G-Slate tablet! But if you decide to do it, then you had better do it fast because the offer ends on April 27th.

Source: Engadget - T-Mobile willing to knock $100 off G-Slate if you ask nicely

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

1&1 Online Storage App Makes Working on the Go More Efficient

1&1 Online Storage AppMobile technology is taking off faster than probably anybody anticipated with millions of people just in America alone using mobile devices and smartphones to do a number of things including logging onto the internet. Well, in response to that, 1&1 Internet Incorporated has developed a new app that is specially designed to be beneficial for businesses and business professionals utilizing mobile technology. This new application, known as the 1&1 Online Storage app, provides you with access to important documents without ever using a computer and can even be achieved with a mobile internet connection. Business professionals who are constantly traveling can can utilize this app to edit and manage documents more efficiently while on the go. The only thing you need is a 1&1 Online Office account which you get for free with most 1&1 hosting packages. The actual app is available to download for free to your iPhone, iPad or even your iPod Touch and any mobile phone running the Android operating system. According to CEO of 1&1 Internet Incorporated Oliver Mauss, "With the increased demand for mobile Web connections, 1&1 has been working hard to provide our customers with the tools necessary to manage their business from any type of internet connection. Mobile applications have become a dominant force in communication and information management and we welcome the challenge to continue providing customers with tools that support their efforts to effectively conduct business on the go." The 1&1 Online Storage app is simple to download and once it is downloaded, you can enter the email address and password associated with your 1&1 account. This login will provide you with access to 1&1's Online Storage from anywhere you can get internet service. A plethora of document types, including DOC, XLS, PDF, PPT and JPG, can be viewed, edited, filed and saved directly from a mobile device. In addition to that, each account is automatically given 2 GB of free space. If you need more than that, you can increase your storage capacity for an additional cost. All of the data and information is stored on 1&1's servers located in the company's state-of-the-art, high performance data center in Lenexa, Kansas. By storing your documents in Online Storage, you can ensure that only the most recent file versions are available and eliminate the chance of outdated information being referenced. Source: SFGate - 1&1 App Improves Efficiency for Working On-The-Go

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wi-Fi-Only Samsung Galaxy Tab Available Soon

On Wednesday, April 6 Samsung announced that it will be releasing a Wi-Fi-only version of its Galaxy Tab in the United States. It will be available on Sunday, April 10 and will be selling for $349.99. The original 7-inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab was released seven months ago in September. When it first was released, the only mobile carrier that offered the tablet was Sprint. They originally offered it for $399.99, but the company required that users commit to a two-year data plan that would cost $29.99 at least. Since the Galaxy Tab launched, it has become available on all of the major U.S. mobile carriers. "We are excited to have the WiFi version of the Galaxy Tab join our growing portfolio of Galaxy-branded devices," said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile, in a statement. "The 7-inch Galaxy Tab is the first truly mobile tablet on the market, allowing users to comfortably hold the device in one hand while typing or navigating the Web with the other." The Galaxy Tab features an Android 2.2 operating system, a 7-inch TFT display with 1,024 by 600 resolution, weighs 13 ounces, and is 12 millimeters thin. It comes standard with 16GB of internal storage, but if that isn’t enough room for you, it offers microSD expansion that will allow for up to 32GB of additional storage.

Samsung made another announcement recently. Sometime in the near future there will be a 10.1-inch and an 8.9-inch version of the Galaxy Tab. There will also be 5-inch and 4-inch Galaxy Player models that will be available.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Pandora Caught Sending Personal User Information to Ad Servers

Pandora AppIf you are constantly working on the go, you definitely value your breaks. One thing a lot of people like to have with them when they are always on the go is music and no other service is quite as popular as Pandora. Now we all know that the Pandora app sends a ton of personal information to third party developers according to an analysis by Veracode. Well, Veracode decided to do a follow-up on their news that Pandora, as well as a lot of other mobile app makers, was being investigated by a federal grand jury and found that information, such as birth date, gender, Android ID and GPS information, was being sent to a plethora of advertising companies. Pandora recently revealed that they had been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury to produce documents about their user data collection practices on Android and iOS devices. Pandora also stated that they believe the subpoena is part of an industry-wide investigation into popular applications on Android and iOS devices. The Wall Street Journal didn't waste any time following up on this news and reported that the purpose of the investigation is to find out whether or not app makers fully describe to users the kinds of information they obtain from them and exactly why they need it. Veracode decided to dig deeply into the Pandora Android app to see just what data might be transmitted. Veracode's analysis stated that Pandora's app seems to be integrated with five separate ad libraries that included AdMarvel, AdMob, comScore (SecureStudies), Google.Ads and Medialets. Veracode verified that the AdMob library accessed a user's GPS information as well as various other data about the application itself like package name and version info. That is all pretty low level but Veracode said that there are other references which appear to transmit your birthday, gender and postal code. In addition to that, the app also appears to send your Android ID and seems to continually access your GPS location for updates. According to a blog post by Veracode, "The analysis into the remaining libraries resulted in even more of the same.The SecureStudies library accesses the android_id and directly sends a hash of the data to while the Medialets library accesses the device's GPS location, bearing, altitude, android_id, connection status, network information, device brand, model, release revision and current IP address." Pandora has argued that they need this type of user information in order to continue delivering personalized music streams. However, the analysis from Veracode shows that Pandora is not simply collecting that information for itself. They are also using it for advertising purposes. If the grand jury comes to the same conclusion as Veracode, then Pandora, as well as a whole host of other app makers, could be facing some pretty serious legal difficulties. "Your personal information is being transmitted to advertising agencies in mass quantities," according to Veracode. "In isolation some of this data is uninteresting, but when compiled into a single unifying picture, it can provide significant insight into a person's life... When all that is placed into a single basket, it's pretty easy to determine who someone is, what they do for a living, who they associate with and any number of other traits about them. I don't know about you, but that feels a little Orwellian to me." If all this is true then Pandora and other app makers will have some serious explaining to do. I, for one, do not want any kind of personal information like that being slung around carelessly to advertisers. Who knows, if advertisers can get it that easily, then what stops an identity thief from getting it? Source: ars technica - Pandora sends users' GPS, sex, birthdate, other data to ad servers

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is the iPad a Necessary Business Tool?

What do you think? Is the iPad a bad business tool? According to Dell and HP, it is. This week, both of these technology giants criticized Apple’s enterprise strategy. "Apple is great if you've got a lot of money and live on an island. It's not so great if you have to exist in a diverse, open, connected enterprise; simple things become quite complex," said Dell’s global marketing chief Andy Lark. In an interview with CRN Stephen DeWitt, senior vice president of HP Americas Solution Partners Organization, said "Apple's relationship with partners is transactional, completely. Apple doesn't have an inclusive philosophy of partner capabilities, and that's just absurd."

On Thursday, March 31 there was a sort of rebuttal against these criticisms when SmithBucklin, a global company that deals with managing anything from the basic logistics to event promotion of trade shows, took on the role as the first company to place an entire order for iPad 2s. So, why did SmithBucklin choose the iPad 2?

They say that one of the main reasons for choosing the iPad 2 over a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, etc. was because they wanted to boost the use of social media among their employees. "We wanted to make sure our employees were actually walking the walk and not just talking the talk," Mike Nikolich, SmithBucklin's chief marketing officer, said. "We advise our clients all the time on managing blogs, commenting, updating Facebook pages, etc.” "Ultimately we see the iPad 2 as a productivity tool. It's a lot easier to bring the tablet on the train or out of town for work, and lots of people here already use them during meetings."

Nikolich went on to say that most of the 600 employees at SmithBucklin will receive an iPad 2. He also said that almost half of the office already owns an original iPad, but when given the opportunity to have the new iPad 2, 95 percent of the employees chose the upgraded tablet. "It's so new, there's still the 'wow' factor," he said. He also said that his company’s interaction with Apple was minimal because there was very little integration work needed. "Honestly, direct contact with Apple did not have an impact in our decision."

So again I pose the question…what do you think? Do you feel that the iPad 2 is a useful business tool? It’s a very expensive tool. I know that for sure. I think that it can definitely be useful tool, but there are many other things that can do the same job. Yes, it’s convenient access to social media outlets, but can’t laptops and computers and even smartphones do the same thing? If your business has plenty of money to spend on things like iPads, then by all means, go for it, but I don’t think that the average corporation is going to be sending Apple orders for iPads for all of their employees. Maybe someday in the future, when iPads are cheaper, this could be a possibility, but for now, I think most companies will be waiting.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Most Carriers Getting Windows Phone 7 Updates Soon, AT&T Not One of Them

Windows Phone 7 seriesMicrosoft released last week their highly anticipated "NoDo" patch for Windows Phone 7 handsets. This patch finally brings things like copy and paste and a lot of other improvements to the world of Windows Phone 7. However, there is one problem with the NoDo update, the carriers. Microsoft began rolling out the update to unbranded smartphones in Europe last week over-the-air with no problems. However, in America things were a little different. In the U.S. it was up to the discretion of the carriers whether or not their phones would be receiving the update to the mobile operating system. Apparently this is common here in the states whereas a majority of phones run operating systems that have been bought off the shelf. Apple, Research in Motion and Nokia (until recently) were some of the few providers who were in charge of their own software updates and who were the ones that would take responsibility for an update if it failed on a phone. When a mobile phone is made by one person and its operating system is made by another, both companies can put the blame on each other if something goes wrong. This ultimately leaves the carriers as the ones taking the blame on a failed patch. That is why, in America at least, carriers test patches before they roll them out. It is also the reason updates for phones running Android or Windows Phone 7 can be delayed for so long. When this update was released last week, Microsoft had just posted a public chart showing where domestic carriers were in the deployment phase of the NoDo for Windows Phone 7. The good news today is that nearly all of the networks are rolling out the update to their handsets. But there is some bad news. The bad news is that AT&T is still testing their update and they expect it to be completed by early April. This is a huge delay for some users who have already waited six months for basic copy and paste functionality. It is so bad that even Microsoft is apologizing. Microsoft's Eric Hautala wrote, "I know many of you are disappointed, even angry. You certainly have the right to be. We've fallen far short of your expectations and our own, and for that I'm truly sorry. We didn't set out to let you down. But it's clear we did. Whether you're someone who has followed our progress from the start or are new to Windows Phone, you deserve the updates we've promised. My job is to get us on the right path and deliver them." While the apology is nice, many people would prefer seeing a plan on how Microsoft plans on fixing the patching process, or even if they plan on doing so at all. Source: - Windows Phone 7 updates rolling out to most carriers soon... except AT&T

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