What to get the person who has everything but doesn't listen to OMT
We've been checking our lists twice, chiefly because of syncing issues, and you know how it is. Christmas expands to fill the space you have and nature abhors a news vacuum so in what continues to be a quiet week, One More Thing decks some halls. Wait, is that Christmas or Thanksgiving? It's some holiday or other and we're after celebrating all of them because it's a Grade A excuse to discuss some of the finest technology around.
Apple picks up second femtocell-related patent
Apple has been granted a further patent on Femtocell technology which is typically used in network base stations that use low-power cellular connections and are designed to be operated in homes and smaller businesses. This new patent, number 9,191,839, has been issued regarding methods of configuring Femtocells and it follows an August patent regarding access to wireless signals using the technology.
The unimaginably useful yet unimaginably under-used news service
There's an argument that this year is the 20th anniversary of RSS. Strictly speaking, the first technology called RSS was launched in March 1999, but it uses ideas from 1995, at least according to Wikipedia. Whether it's 16 or 20 years, though, it still hasn't caught on -- and yet I and the rest of the MacNN staff are fans who use it daily, very often hourly.
Apple to appeal decision, maintains patent is over-broad and invalid
Following a guilty verdict against Apple in a case that claimed the iPhone maker incorporated technology in its A7, A8, and A8X chips covered by a patent held by the University of Wisconsin's Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), a Wisconsin jury has decided that Apple owes the foundation $234 million in damages for its infringement. The award is just over half the among sought by WARF, and considerably less than the $862.4 million it could have faced, but the jury disagreed with a finding of willful infringement.
Notably larger power supply, heat sink powers dual-core A8 processor
Repair site iFixit has gotten ahold of the new Apple TV and remote and posted its usual teardown and report on the device, noting that the touchscreen controller in the remote is the same one used for the iPhone 5s and 5c line, made by Broadcom, and that it includes both IR technology (for controlling volume and power on TVs) and a Qualcomm Bluetooth radio so that the device does not have to be pointed directly at the TV to use Siri.
From ooooh to oh, come on
It's been available for a few weeks now, but today we used Apple Pay on the Tube, London's Underground train network. We did it using our Apple Watches, and we will never do it any other way again. Well, not until the next previously-unimaginable technology comes along. For now, though, that's it: try it once, and never go back. It is as simple and as obvious as that.
The devices, company, challenges change, but mission remains the same
Cast your mind back to 1996. Apple was making the PowerBook 1400, and a lot of Performas, while MacNN was starting out as a serious journal covering Mac technology. Nothing has changed since then, and yet everything has changed: Apple is now a cultural force, it's shaping new industries, and it's even making some money now, we hear. It's transformed, even as its very DNA remains the same -- in fact, it has transformed specifically because its DNA is so strongly the same as it ever was. MacNN has been on a similar journey, that has seen it maintain its comprehensive technology coverage and yet -- well, take a look for yourself inside.
Requires vents to release small amount of water vapor, runs for a week
Users of smartphones are always complaining -- despite huge advancements in battery technology over the past few years -- about the need to recharge devices frequently. A new form factor from British firm Intelligent Energy could potentially change this to only having to recharge a phone on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. The company has placed a hydrogen fuel-cell battery into an iPhone 6 as a proof-of-concept, with only tiny changes to the casing for the device.
Mobile payment tech loved by users, but not being adopted rapidly
Ask anyone who uses Apple Pay, and you will get a familiar refrain: they love it, they use it everywhere they can, they actively seek out and give their business to merchants who support it, it is the future. However, a new study suggests that growth of use of the feature is declining, mostly due to a lack of rapid uptake by businesses, who lack the technology to offer support. That is slowly changing, however, with Asian restaurant chain Pei Wei and St. Louis grocery stores now supporting Apple Pay as an option.
Allegedly the start of a new series
Yeah, right. "We should do an occasional column where we each admit to huge technology problems that were entirely our own doing," MacNN management said. "Maybe readers could learn from our mistakes, perhaps they can avoid doing similar things, and certainly we'll all have a good laugh," they said. "You go first."
May be part of rumored Maps revamp, offer AR options to street-level views
Apple has bought out the assets and technology of Volkswagen-created augmented reality (AR) firm Metaio, which developed AR-enhanced business and product-oriented interactive software for websites and companies. The acquisition is not the first of Apple's buyouts of AR firms, which use live video from cameras and overlay graphics or information to supplement what can be seen -- from instantly translating a sign into one's native language to noting the business hours and ratings of a business.
Former battery tech company went bust after key employees left for Apple
A battery technology company that suffered an exodus of key employees to Apple has now told a court that it and Apple are in the final stages of working out a settlement. A123 Systems filed suit against Apple in February after the iPhone maker recruited A123's former chief technical officer, Mujeeb Ijaz, who then allegedly led a poaching effort that persuaded a handful of very key scientists and engineers to jump ship to Apple as well -- leading A123 to halt several research projects due to the brain drain.
Specifically the late 2012 iMac 27in
One problem with having ever written about technology is that when you come to buy your own computer, you want the latest and the very greatest -- even if you really do not need it. However, the good side of the same issue is that when you do spend all that cash, you get a machine that lasts you a very, very long time. At least, it does if you buy a Mac.
Company continues to expand presence in country with latest acquisition
CNBC is reporting that Apple has acquired camera technology company LinX, which creates camera sensors utilizing multi-aperture imaging alongside image processing tech to improve general performance in cameras, including low-light capture, color fidelity and more. The Israel-based firm has been successful at creating sensors that can pack more information into images (allowing for some refocusing, similar to the technology used in Lytro's "light field imaging") in smaller cameras.
Anti-terror legislation seen as license to spy, would have driven western companies away
A proposal that would have mandated that high-tech hardware and software have "backdoors" installed that would be accessible by the government, as well as forcing companies to provide keys for any encryption schemes used on the devices or in programs, has been suspended from proceeding through the legislative process. In addition, the proposal would have mandated all data created by Chinese users would have been required to remain in China, requiring hundreds of western services to build data centers in the country.
Storage on Watch limited to 2GB for music, 75MB for photos
Some further details on Apple's new Watch device have come out that were not mentioned during the public presentation on Monday, one of which is a detail that further points out how unlike most technology devices the Apple Watch really is: the device actually has very little room for standalone storage. As we reported prior to the event, the Apple Watch (all versions) has just 8GB of independent storage, with only 2GB available for music and just 75MB allocated for photos. The rest, presumably, is for the operating system and apps.
Not necessarily related to rumored Apple 'iCar,' but with eye on collaboration
Two major auto manufacturers are said to be in talks with Apple about a variety of possible partnerships, from Continental's hopes that it could participate in any rumored Apple Car creation to BMW's desire to collaborate with the iPhone maker about bringing some its existing and future car technology to its auto lineup. BMW went out if its way, however, to specifically deny that its talks with Apple have anything do with developing or building a car.
Apple Watch, abilities will expand over time, replace car keys as well
In a new interview with the UK newspaper the Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed a few new tidbits about the forthcoming Apple Watch, as well as some of the larger vision behind such innovations as the watch, and Apple Pay, and Touch ID -- an all-out attempt to reduce the ephemera people need to carry with them, from wallets to car keys. In the same report, Cook also confirmed that Apple will "tweak" its retail look to accommodate Apple Watch buyers, who are likely to be even more upscale than average Apple customers.
Top battery-tech workers defect, may have violated anti-compete agreements
According to a new lawsuit filed against Apple, the iPhone maker has been poaching employees from a vehicle-oriented "advanced energy" technology company called A123 Systems over the past eight months for a new, unannounced battery division at the iPhone maker. The latter company says that Apple and its former employees may have violated anti-compete agreements, and have left A123 without qualified leaders for key projects.
Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
PC, mobile and Mac expert retires after more than 17 years to take unnamed position
On Saturday night, well-regarded technology analyst and reviewer Anand Lal Shimpi, creator and owner of AnandTech, surprised readers with an announcement that he was retiring from the site and the tech publishing world. On Sunday, Apple confirmed that it had hired Shimpi, though it did not reveal what is job there would be. Shimpi, 32, originally started the site that became AnandTech on Geocities when he was 14 years old, and said that the site would continue without him.
Company credits need for innovation in technology for some recent products
At Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle this weekend, Intel took to the stage during the "Future of PC Gaming" panel to outline some of the ways that the company is bolstering its support of PC gaming. During the panel, Vice President and General Manager of Desktop Lisa Graff outlined some of the changes the company has made with gamers in mind, as well as where future technology will drive the market.
Company to join Google Cloud Platform team, visual effects rendering services to continue
Google's cloud offerings are growing to include services aimed at the movie industry today, thanks to the addition of a rendering technology that utilizes the elasticity of cloud computing. The search giant posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog announcing that it acquired Zync Render, a company that specializes in flexible tools that use the cloud to store and render visual effects for films.
RFID sensors added to shoulder pads allow position, speed tracking in 17 stadiums
The National Football League (NFL) is embracing additional technology in the upcoming season, with a deal that allows real-time player statistics reporting. The data, which is being called "Next Gen Stats," is made possible by an agreement with Zebra Technologies. Through the Zebra MotionWorks system, fans, players and coaches will have future access to data generated from location measurements during play.
Bi-partisan group gave advice on technology, science developments
At the end of last week, the US House voted on a bill to restore the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), an office of the United States Congress to provide Congressional members and committees with objective and authoritative analysis of the complex scientific and technical issues. It was struck down by a majority of 248 to 164, with 78 percent of Democrats voting to reinstate the department. Republicans led the charge to defeat the proposal, with 94 percent voting to not restore the group.
May hint at more camera design coming in-house, leveraging PrimeSense tech
In an unusual move, Apple has greatly expanded its call for specialists and engineers connected to camera, lens, sensor and other aspects of digital imaging in recent job postings. The iPhone maker has added 15 want ads related to camera and digital imaging over the past two weeks, joining nine other listings posted last month. Camera technology has been a major selling point in Apple's mobile devices but is also a key part of its desktop and notebook offerings.
Not profits, not marketshare: 'to put technology in the hands of the people'
[Update: added "behind the scenes" video] It is hard to imagine anymore, but for a long time prior to the twin developments of the home computer and the modern Internet, technology that allowed creative professionals to thrive was rare, expensive and in the hands of a very few. As part of its ongoing celebration of the Mac's 30th anniversary, Apple has now posted a 90-second movie shot entirely with iPhones, spanning five continents and illustrating the reach of creative and professional technology today.
Black Friday sales on tablets, laptops, desktops and more from OfficeMax
Officemax, a office supply retailer, currently has its own Black Friday sale promoting a variety of office-related products, but with a focus on technology. Tablets, laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, scanners, and portable file storage systems are included in the promotion.
RingMeMaybe app's disposable phone numbers ideal for dating, Craigslist
Mobile developers yourVirtualSIM has announced the release of its app RingMeMaybe, a program able to generate disposable US phone numbers for iOS devices. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, users can access unlimited numbers for anonymous communication, removing the need to publicly reveal primary phone numbers. Utilizing VoIP technology, anyone requiring temporary numbers -- such as those who may be casually dating, or buying and selling on Craigslist -- can do so for a flat rate of 99 cents per virtual number (the equivalent of '10 credits'). Each number can be generated within seconds, and remains attached to your primary number for one week, but can be extended with the addition of more credits. RingMeMaybe's VoIP feature also provides unlimited calling service for no additional fee. Users receive 20 free credits with their download, equating to two virtual phone numbers. RingMeMaybe is available from the App Store as a free download.
Jean-François Mulé now Engineering Director, hired in September
On Tuesday, cable industry veteran and technology development architect Jean-François Mulé revealed on his LinkedIn biography that he had been hired by Apple in September, and was the Engineering Director for a unnamed project, and described his role as "challenged, inspired and part of something big." The disclosure has re-fueled speculation that Apple may indeed produce a branded HDTV set of some kind, or at least be working on a serious revamping of the Apple TV set-top box.
Could indicate an interest in solar power or super-thin conducive materials
Apple has posted a job listing on its website for a "thin films" engineer with experience in the solar industry to join the company's Mobile Devices group and "assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronics systems." While many outlets have assumed that the listing may hint at the company's use of solar power in future products, it is also possible that Apple seeks to apply the thin-film technology used in solar panels to be applied in other areas, including display and touch technologies.
Passcode still required as fallback, used if finger not ID'd within 48 hours
More details have emerged about Apple's Touch ID system, built into the home button of the forthcoming iPhone 5s. The company has confirmed that the devices doesn't store an actual image of the user's fingerprints, for example, and further revealed that a basic passcode is required to be set up as a fallback before users can set up one or more fingerprints that can be used to unlock the iPhone 5s or make iTunes Store purchases. The ID data, as the company said on Tuesday, remains locally-stored and encrypted.
Mechanical engineer listing requires skill associated with glass alloy
A job listing from Apple describing the need for a mechanical engineer with a wide knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes -- and some specific experience in skills required for dealing with the bulk-metallic glass alloy known as Liquidmetal -- has fuelled speculation that Apple's investment in the technology may be finally bearing more fruit. The technology is already used for specialized parts such as the SIM card ejector pin in older iPhone models, but very little has been seen of it thus far.
Voice recognition first to benefit
Google will be using a neural network to work in its products. After creating software that can learn without the need for human guidance, Technology Review reports that the company will put its virtual brain "to work making Google's products smarter," with speech recognition to be the first to use it.
Younger people getting entertainment online
A small survey interviewing 158 students across eight colleges and universities has concluded that students are spending less on technology compared to last year, and bringing their electronic arsenal with them to school -- but leaving TVs at home, in a dramatic drop from last year. Computer sales were up slightly with the student group, with Apple's share of the purchases in the last three months jumping up sharply from last year, reports Fortune.
Tech improves efficiency of microbial fuel cells
Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England have reportedly made a significant breakthrough in microbial fuel-cell technology. A team of scientists have discovered the molecular structure which allow bacteria to transfer electrical charge. The findings are said to open the door for further research that will likely improve the efficiency of the fuel cells referred to as biological batteries.
Sony hybrid fuel cell
Sony showed off a tiny fuel cell at the Smart Fuel Cells 2008 exhibition that ends today, which combines a fuel cell, Li-polymer battery and control circuit for the first time. In testing conducted in Japan, Sony found a 1Seg video broadcast can play for 14 hours on 10mL of methanol. Use of a refined technology using the fuel cell could significantly boost the run times of today's consumer electronics, specifically laptop and cellphone batteries.