Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Utah’s Startup Scene Is Almost as Spectacular as Its Fall Scenery

October 11, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This week, I’ve been in Park City, Utah, attending the Venture Capital in the Rockies Fall conference . Basically it’s a gathering of VCs based in the intermountain west and early-stage startup companies on the hunt for investors. As you can see from the image I snapped with my iPhone on the day of my arrival, the fall foliage makes for a pretty awesome view, and the cold crisp air — it even snowed briefly yesterday — has an infectious quality to it. But there’s more to the place than pretty pictures. There’s a fairly active tech startup scene here. I sat through several presentations yesterday from some companies with cool ideas that are just getting off the ground. Here’s a few that caught my attention. Storyvine: This two-person startup based in Boulder, Colo. aims to make producing high-quality videos easier and cheaper than ever before. It walks you through the process of shooting and editing a video in a way that comes out more polished and thoughtful. Computing giant IBM is an early client. Founder Kyle Shannon started the interactive marketing firm back in the 1990s, took it public and later sold it to Omnicom. Monique Elwell is longtime Wall Street analyst. Cypher: If you’ve ever tried to take a call on your mobile phone in a noisy environment, like a restaurant or on a busy street, you’re going to want Cypher technology on your phone. It has developed a technology to isolate the sound of your voice, mute the background noise you don’t want to hear. The result is a clearer call.

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Best Buy Confirms $100 Smartphone Trade-In Promotion for Customers Buying Latest iPhones

October 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Aiming to get a greater share of iPhone buyers, Best Buy is planning another promotion, this time guaranteeing at least $100 credit with the trade-in of any working smartphone. That makes the base-model iPhone 5c free with any trade-in, and the 16 gigabyte iPhone 5s available for $99 (though customers may still owe sales tax on the new phone, and are responsible for any activation fees). And, of course, customers have to be eligible for an upgrade to get those iPhone prices. It’s the latest in a series of offers from Best Buy and other retailers looking to convince would-be iPhone buyers to go with their store. The promotion will run Oct. 13-19, a Best Buy representative told AllThingsD . Best Buy Mobile stores, though, will start offering the promotion on the 5c starting today. If the iPhone model a customer is looking for is not in stock, they can get a rain check. Word of the Best Buy offer leaked out on Wednesday , though the company did not confirm it until today.

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Apple Will Hold Fall iPad Event on October 22

October 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple has a couple more new products to announce before the year is out, and it plans to unveil them in a few weeks time. People familiar with Apple’s plans tell AllThingsD that the company will hold its next invitation-only event on Tuesday October 22. The focal point of the gathering will be the latest updates to the company’s iPad line, but the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks will likely get some stage time as well, I’m told. The fifth generation iPad is expected to feature a thinner, lighter design akin to the iPad mini’s and an improved camera. It will run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip. The second-generation iPad mini will be upgraded with a retina display and also see the A7 incorporated into its innards. It’s not clear whether Apple’s new iPads will feature the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that recently debuted on the iPhone 5s, though that has been rumored. Sources declined to specify where the event is to be held, and I’ve not been able to confirm a location. My understanding is that it will not be held at the California Theatre in San Jose, the site of the iPad mini’s unveiling in 2012

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Reflects on Second Anniversary of Steve Jobs’ Passing

October 5, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs . Today his successor, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter that he’ll mark the day be taking a long hike and reflecting on their friendship. Cook also marked the occasion in an email to Apple employees. As first reported by 9 to 5 Mac and since independently confirmed as authentic, by AllThingsD . Here’s the Tweet. Second anniversary of Steve's death. Going on a long hike today and reflecting on his friendship and all the dents he made in the universe. — Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 5, 2013 Apple’s journey as a company since that day has been a complicated one marked by a decline in the company’s share price , and persistent questions over whether it still has same ability to innovate without Jobs as it did with him, Cook assured employees that Jobs “would be proud of all of you.” Here’s the email: Team- Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place. I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership. He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you. Best, Tim And if you’re interested spending a little more time reflecting on Steve Jobs yourself, your might read Walt Mossberg’s essay of personal remembrances about him. There’s also this collection of Jobs’ six appearances at the D: All Things Digital conference over the years.

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Ahead of New Show Debut, PBS Revamps Its Kids’ Site to Be More Mobile-Friendly

October 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In designing its PBS Kids website , the public broadcaster pays attention to all the ways kids are different from adults — making the buttons bigger, the characters more prominent, and the content a mix of play and learning. “Our goal is to engage them, make sure they are having fun, but teach,” said PBS VP Sara DeWitt. With 11 million unique visitors per month, DeWitt said, her team knows their site is often a child’s first experience with the Internet, and they take that opportunity seriously. The video player on the redesigned PBS Kids Web site But in its latest redesign, the company had to grapple with an issue facing adults and kids alike. More visits are coming from mobile devices. That meant the site needed to adapt easily to multiple screen sizes and drop Adobe Flash in favor of HTML5. Video is an especially important component, with PBS Kids serving 200 million streams per month. “Almost three-quarters of our video streaming traffic comes from mobile at this point,” DeWitt said in an interview. Though not a huge change, visually, the revamp was a major commitment, involving 12 of the PBS Kids’ 20 digital staffers working since May. The influence for the redesign was the company’s existing mobile apps. The new design comes as PBS prepares to debut its newest show next week — “ Peg+Cat .” With “Peg+Cat,” PBS is also doing a new tablet app that plays on the math and music themes of the show to provide an interactive way for kids to play with the characters on the show while also learning some additional concepts. The app features both a structured “Big Gig” area that uses songs from the show and a free-play “Sound Check” zone, where kids can have a more open-ended experience. The heavily Flash-based PBS Kids site, prior to this recent redesign. As important as the apps and websites, DeWitt said, is coming up with things parents can do apart from the computer or tablet to build on the show’s lessons. The educational space is a crowded one, DeWitt said, with tons of apps teaching counting and the ABCs

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Leaking iPhone Research to Big Clients Costs Citigroup $30 Million

October 3, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Citigroup has been slapped with a $30 million fine for slipping unpublished research on Apple to a handful of institutional clients ahead of other investors. According to a consent order from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Citigroup analyst Kevin Chang emailed research describing significant iPhone production cuts to SAC, T. Rowe Price, Citadel and GLG Partners ahead of official publication. Three of the four (SAC Capital, T. Rowe Price and Citadel) acted on that information, selling off shares between the time they received it and the time Citigroup released it to the broader market. And by doing so, they saved themselves quite a bit of money; Apple’s share price fell 5.2 percent on December 14, the day Chang’s research was published. “It seems that the concept that investors are to be presented with a level playing field when it comes to the product of research analysts is a lesson that must be learned over and over again,” Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said in a statement. “But it’s important that it should be taught as often as necessary.” An unfortunate stumble for Citigroup, which last year paid a $2 million fine to settle a complaint that one of its analysts improperly disclosed confidential information ahead of Facebook’s IPO. The company, which has since sacked Chang, said it’s pleased to have the matter resolved.

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New Spin on Video Chats Brings More to the Party

October 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

[ See post to watch video ] Holding video chats on your mobile devices can be a great thing. But many of the common video chat apps only allow two-party calls, at least for free, or require you to have an account with a large service or social network. Now, there’s a new video-chatting service for mobile devices and it’s free. It allows up to 10 parties in a single chat session and it doesn’t require an account to participate in a chat. This new service, called Spin, also allows you to share photos and videos with others during a chat. And it’s built for touch so you can swipe or flick in and out of chats, which it calls “gatherings.” Or you can pinch and zoom to enlarge the whole gathering, or just the small tile representing an individual in that group. Spin launched Tuesday evening for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. An Android version is in the works for the first quarter of 2014. The app comes from a San Francisco company called Net Power & Light, which produces apps for education. A gathering in action, with participants shown in tiles I’ve been testing Spin in recent days on two iPads and an iPhone, and found it to be a nice way to communicate. It has a dash of whimsy, and good video and audio quality. But Spin is so different from traditional video-chatting apps that it can be a bit confusing at first, something the company says it recognizes and promises to take steps to ameliorate. In one test that included six people on a Saturday, some of us were at home, one was at a sidewalk cafe and one was in a vineyard. Photos and YouTube videos were shared and anyone could flick through the pictures, or advance or reverse the videos, for all to see.

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Fingerprint Confidential

September 25, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Q: I want to buy an iPhone 5S, but how can I disable the fingerprint-recognition feature so it doesn’t send my prints over the Internet where somebody might steal them? A: First of all, the fingerprint-recognition feature, which allows you to unlock your phone with just a touch instead of a password, is off by default. Unless you turn it on and then train it to recognize your fingers, it doesn’t operate and you can just keep typing in a password, or use no lock method at all. Secondly, Apple says the fingerprint data never leaves your phone, never goes onto the Internet and never even is backed up to the cloud. Instead, Apple says, it is stored in a secure area of the phone’s processor chip, and the scanner checks with this stored data—not with any online database—to decide whether your finger matches the stored parameters. Q: I notice that on the new iPhone operating system, the phone downloads many more emails at one time, making it much more difficult to mark them as read. Is there a way around this? A: Yes.

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What Does Prem Watsa See in BlackBerry?

September 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Chris Hughes | © University of Waterloo, Graphics, Photo/Imaging With the announcement of its proposed $4.7 billion takeover bid, Fairfax Financial Holdings and its chairman, Prem Watsa, answered the long-running question, “Who would ever buy BlackBerry?” But in doing so it posed a new one as well: Why? And that’s not a particularly easy question to answer either. Just what does Watsa see in the collapsing smartphone pioneer, which just days ago announced a nearly $1 billion shortfall in second-fiscal-quarter earnings and plans to sack 40 percent of its workforce? Something that few others seem to be able to visualize — a long-term play in which BlackBerry successfully reinvents itself? Or is this bid simply a last ditch effort to put a floor beneath BlackBerry’s tumbling share price in the hopes of enticing other potential buyers and saving Fairfax’s investment in the company? In a Monday statement announcing Fairfax’s offer, Watsa said it was the former, describing the move as one that “will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry.” In that sense, the deal is simply the latest manifestation of Watsa’s faith in what he once described as “Canada’s greatest technology company.” As Watsa wrote in a March letter to Fairfax Financial shareholders , “The brand name, a security system second to none, a distribution network across 650 telecom carriers worldwide, a 79 million subscriber base, enterprise customers accounting for 90 percent of the Fortune 500, almost exclusive usage by governments in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., a huge original patent portfolio, an outstanding new operating system developed by QNX and $2.9 billion in cash with no debt, are all formidable strengths as BlackBerry makes its comeback!” But that was more than six months ago, and in the time since, BlackBerry has slipped deep into the mud that’s been sucking at its boots since it first dismissed the iPhone and Android as credible threats to its business. Sure, the company does have some potentially valuable assets in its patent portfolio and secure messaging platform, BlackBerry Messenger. And there’s a few billion in cash and investments as well. But BlackBerry is hardly a company poised for a comeback. These days, it’s a sadly diminished pioneer sliding inexorably toward irrelevance. So, again, does Watsa really believe he can take BlackBerry private and recapture some of its former glory? Certainly possible — if he continues to hold the same long-term view of the company he’s always had. “Is [BlackBerry] going to turn around in three months, six months, nine months? No,” he said last year. “But if you’re looking four, five years. … We make investments over four or five years.” Maybe that’s Watsa’s game here as well, assuming Fairfax can actually secure the financing it needs to acquire BlackBerry. Or maybe he’s planning to sell it for parts at some point down the line

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Joins Twitter, Tweets About iPhone Launch

September 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple CEO Tim Cook posted his first tweet on Friday after visiting the Palo Alto Apple Store to witness the launch of the new iPhones. “Visited Retail Stores in Palo Alto today,” Cook tweeted. “Seeing so many happy customers reminds us of why we do what we do.” Cook quickly amassed more than 14,000 followers for his @tim_cook account. So far, Cook is following about a dozen accounts, including the Auburn student newspaper, the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights, CNN host Anderson Cooper, and Apple colleagues Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue.

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