Apple Planning to Add Bluetooth Support for AirPlay

AirPlay logo

You know Apple’s AirPlay? That magical technology everybody loves? Well guess what, it is about to get even better! A Japanese blog Macotakar  (via  AppleInsider)  reports that Apple held a MFI conference in Shezen, China earlier this week. “MFI” is Apple’s    Made for iPod / iPhone / iPad  certification program for accessory manufacturers.

Apparently, during the talk, Apple reportedly revealed that they would be release a new certification chip for  MFi devices that will allow future AirPlay products to connect via Bluetooth 4.0. As of right now, Apple’s AirPlay can only be used via a WiFi network, but the new chip will allow access to iOS devices over AirPlay, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The  current program  seems to be limited to physical dock accessories and specific AirPlay vendors.

In fact, the low power consumption of Bluetooth 4.0 makes it an attractive data transfer  option to WiFi for battery operated devices. MacRumors has a fantastic profile on the possibilities for Bluetooth Low Energy.

Currently,  only the iPhone 4S, Mac Mini and MacBook Air offer  Bluetooth 4.0, while remaining Bluetooth-capable Apple products have chips using version 2.1 of the protocol. Back in June, Apple, the world’s most valuable tech company,  was nominated  to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group board of directors; the organization oversees the development and standards of the wireless technology.

Massive Crowd Shows Up for Apple Store Grand Central Opening

Earlier this year, it was  confirmed  that Apple is opening a new store in New York’s Grand Central soon, which looks absolutely  stunning. A couple of days before the grand opening, Apple took down the tarps covering the front of its soon-to-open Grand Central Terminal Store, which revealed the entrance to one of the company’s largest retail location in the world. Yesterday, the grand opening for the store happened and the number of people that showed up was mind blowing. “A lot of people” or “massive” would be an understatement.  Apple’s massive new  retail store  in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal opened to the public yesterday at 10:00 AM.

The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet and it is also  to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined. With the type of crowd seen in the video below, there’s no doubt it won’t if not more. Fortune noted that  main concourse of the terminal was filled with hundreds of people waiting for the store to open as hundreds more red-shirted Apple employees prepared to welcome them. You know those wannabe Microsoft Stores? Yeah, those ones. When was the last time you saw these many lined up outside a Microsoft Store grand opening for a Microsoft product? Instead, majority of the time they are just waiting in line for free concert tickets

Apple also handed out store-specific t-shirts to early visitors.  Fortune  reported that Apple had prepared to hand out 4,000 T-shirts for yesterday’s opening.

Apple Accuses Samsung Lawyers of Stalling in Court

Apple vs. Samsung

It seems that every day there’s news about the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits, it gets more interesting. Just yesterday, it was reported that Samsung’s request to ban the iPhone 4S had been denied. Then, a day after, it was reported that copy-cat Samsung had won against Apple in Australia,  and unfortunately is now free to import and sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.

Today, according to Florian Mueller’s  FOSS Patents  Apple is preparing a move against Samsung to  present more evidence in its case in a California court. Apple’s legal counsel believes that their efforts for an expedited trial in their patent infringement lawsuit are being held up by Samsung’s uncooperative attorneys. Well, they do need time to think of a good cover up, right? NOT.

Apparently, Samsung’s lead counsel, Charles Verhoeven, is in Washington D.C. representing Motorola at a hearing at the International Trade Commission against Apple, and will be involved in hearings until Dec. 16. By the time Verhoeven returns, it will be too late for Apple to have its motion against Samsung to be heard by the end of 2011.  It seems that things aren’t in favor for Apple this year.

“If Apple does not receive production of the core design, marketing, and technical documents sought in the motion to compel well before January 2012, Apple’s ability to conduct meaningful depositions and properly defend its own witnesses in depositions will be unduly compromised.”

AppleInsider notes that in August,  the court granted  Apple’s wish  for an expedited trial. The trial is scheduled to start on July 30,2012, but that date could be pushed back if the case isn’t trial ready. In addition,  Apple noted that Samsung has produced very little evidence of late. Apple said Samsung has only produced 71 documents totaling 241 pages since Oct. 13, while Apple has provided over one million pages to the court. Holy heck! If Samsung wasn’t copying Apple, shouldn’t they be able to provide more evidence than Apple or are they just having a hard time making nonsense up?

 

French Court Denies Samsung’s Request to Ban iPhone 4S

Apple vs Samsung

News regarding the Apple vs. Samsung case is all over the place – from copy-cat Samsung suing Apple and Apple and vice-a-versa. Recently, Apple has been looking to ban sales of the revised Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 N. In addition, there is also a lawsuit between Apple and Motorola happening right now too. Today, more news about a particular lawsuit between Apple and Samsung has been revealed.

A French patent litigation has rejected Samsung’s attempt to ban the iPhone 4S, because ya’ know, Samsung is totally not copying Apple. Apparently, Samsung claims that the iPhone 4S may be infringing a few key 3G patents, which may cause Apple to see a world wide failure. This decision is a huge blow to Samsung’s patent arguments, according to Florian Mueller’s FOSS Patents.

Samsung copying Apple

The the ruling implies that the basis for Samsung’s arguments  against the iPhone 4S, so-called FRAND patents, have been exhausted. Apparently, these fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) patents have been a part of Samsung’s cases worldwide.  Originally, Samsung licensed the industry-essential patents to Qualcomm, which supplies the baseband chip in the iPhone 4S, but claims it terminated the agreement with regards to Apple’s use of the intellectual property.

Samsung’s litigation strategy has also been  under investigation  by the European Commission to determine whether it violates anti-competition laws.

Microsoft Releases Xbox LIVE app for iOS

Oh boy, what do we have here? Good news for iOS devices owners who also own a Xbox. First it was OneNote for iOS, now they have released an official Xbox LIVE app (free) in Apple’s App Store. This release comes just a day after the launch of a new Dashboard update to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console.

Xbox Live iOS

The new app brings a Windows 8 feel to it, which is nice, but it just doesn’t feel like an iOS app in my opinion. Xbox LIVE for iOS brings some of the functionality found on the Xbox 360 consoles besides gameplay. The app allows users to access friends lists, game data, and messages through three main menus: “Home,” “Social” and “Games.”  In addition, the user interface is a blend of iOS swipe functionality with the tiled UI from Windows Phone 7. Icons and UI animations fade in and out like Windows Phone and is smooth with transitions.

Read and send messages to friends
Manage your friends list, invite new friends
Read and Edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto)
Change your avatar features/items with the avatar closet
View and compare your achievement progress with friends

Microsoft’s new app is also optimized for the iPad, and uses a similar layout. The iPad app shows more content and detail. While Google releases crappy WebView apps for iOS, Microsoft releases polished apps for iOS. Just sayin’…

Grand Central Apple Store Revealed for Press Ahead of Friday’s Opening

Earlier this year, it was  confirmed  that Apple is opening a new store in New York’s Grand Central soon, and it  looks absolutely  stunning.  The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet (crazy!). It is also expected to  generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined.  That is assuming those stores generate any revenue. In fact, Microsoft has yet to reveal retail store numbers.  Last week, it was  reported    that store is to open soon, then, just a few days after it was confirmed that the store will open this Friday.

Apple Grand Central Store front
Main entrance (Source: Business Insider)
Apple Grand Central Inside
Genius Bar and display tables (Source: Business Insider)

Today, Business Insider reports that Apple has taken down the tarps covering the front of its soon-to-open Grand Central Terminal Store, which reveals the entrance to one of the company’s largest retail location in the world. The company also had its media preview of the store today and released a press release. Apple’s exterior signs for the store’s main entrance consists of lighted Apple logos mounted on glass panel  on each of the two landings for the main stairway, with a third lighted Apple logo mounted above the top of the stairs. Beautiful would be an understatement.

The Apple Store ® Grand Central, Apple’s fifth store in Manhattan, will open Friday, December 9, at 10 a.m., just in time for the holidays. This one-of-a-kind Apple retail store overlooks the historic Main Concourse from the East and North East balconies of the world-famous Grand Central Terminal, and has two Genius Bars for free tech support and advice.

Beyond the balcony overlooking the expansive Main Concourse, the Apple Store Grand Central offers rooms dedicated to some of our most popular services, including the largest area in the world dedicated to Personal Setup.

Fortune has also posted a video walkthrough of the new store. The interior photos of the store show that Apple has placed its stock on the sales floor, filling the many tables with Apple hardware for customers to try out. Free Wi-Fi courtesy of Apple is also provided. If a Microsoft Store is ever this beautiful and well planned out, color me surprised.

Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store will open to the public at 10:00 AM on Friday.

Apple Submits Revised Renderings for Apple’s New Campus

Apple's Spaceship campus comparisonOriginal rendering, left; Updated rendering, right. (image via AppleInsider)

Earlier this year, Steve Jobs  revealed  Apple’s plans for a massive new campus in Cupertino, CA known as the Spaceship. Then, a new report suggested that  the new campus is larger than the U.S. Pentagon and New York City’s Empire State Building (amazing). Yesterday, Apple submitted new renderings for the proposed spaceship. The new renderings reveal a brand new roof (which consists of a new dark-grey material), a jogging path, and changes to its fitness center.

Apple Spaceship Rendering

The City of Cupertino published  an update to the company’s “Apple Campus 2 Project”. Most of the new renderings are of higher quality and are better lit, but  some of the images also appear to show a darker color for the structure’s roof. In addition, minor changes have also been made. The revised application calls for an addition of parking plans for the corporate auditorium. Also, drawings for a private jogging path and a proposed expansion of the corporate fitness center from the original proposal of 25,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet have been made. Not only has Apple made requests for new additions, but has also removed a floor from the fitness center. The proposed new height for the fitness center is 18 ft versus the original 30 ft.

Apple’s new “Spaceship” campus will have an area of be 2.8 million square-foot  and house 13,000 employees. Back in June, Steve Jobs described the campus as follows:

It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.

If everything goes as per plan, the company plans to break ground on the project next year and open the facility in 2015. Don’t know about you, but I would love to work at this future campus.

Steve Jobs Biography is Amazon’s Best Selling Book of 2011

Steve Jobs bio cover

Just last month Steve Jobs’s official biography was released, and it has been a massive hit since then. Data complied in November  revealed that  Walter Isaacson’s book, entitled Steve Jobs,sold a total of 379,000 copies in its first week in America. The biography outsold the next-best selling title,  The Litigatorsby John Grisham, by more than three to one.  In addition to being a top seller in hardcover  at Amazon, it has also been the No. 1 title on the company’s  Kindle platform, and on  Apple’s iBooks.

Today, MacRumors reports that  the biography has moved to the top of Amazon’s list of best sellers in 2011 this week. When “Steve Jobs” first debuted, it quickly rose to #13. By mid-November  the title had risen to #2 on the list, setting the stage for the top spot. This milestone is remarkable considering that the book did not debut until late October.

In addition,  Sony Pictures has  acquired the movie rights  to the authorized biography, and Aaron Sorkin is  “strongly considering”  writing the screenplay for the film. I’m not sure how I feel about a movie on Steve Jobs though.

Apple’s Secret iOS Code Names Inspired by Ski Resorts

Apple logo

Apple is known to be an extremely secretive company. However, sometimes tidbits from others regarding the company do get revealed somehow. The company has a habit of giving code names to its projects. For example, its rumored Oregon data center project is code named “Maverick.” Also, unlike with new builds of Mac OS X, where Apple makes the OS’s code name part of its branding, the approach for iOS is completely different. Apple uses a numeric approach to name its new iOS builds.

Turns out, the full list of iOS names has been published on TiPb after developer Steve Troughton-Smith, who we interviewed last month, tweeted the code names on Twitter. Apparently, the code names are named after ski resorts.  They begin with the first version of iOS in 2007, when version 1.0 was known as “Alpine,” in reference to California’s Alpine Meadows.

iOS 2.0 is internally known as “Big Bear,” in connection with Big Bear Lake, Calif. Another California resort, Kirkwood Mountain, also inspired the codename for iOS 3.0 and so forth. The entire list of iOS code names can be found below:

  • 1.0: Alpine
  • 1.1: Little Bear
  • 2.0: Big Bear
  • 2.1: Sugarbowl
  • 2.2: Timberline
  • 3.0: Kirkwood
  • 3.1: Northstar
  • 3.2: Wildcat
  • 4.0: Apex
  • 4.1: Baker
  • 4.2: Jasper
  • 4.3: Durango
  • 5.0: Telluride
  • 5.1: Hoodoo
Much better than being named after desserts, don’t you think? ;-)

Review: LunaTik

LunaTik Black

Recently, I purchased Apple’s iPod nano, but not for the usual purpose; music player. I bought it to use as a watch (aka: iWatch). Just days after the 6th generation iPod nano was announced, many companies started to realize that it would make a perfect watch. LunaTik is a watchband for your iPod nano. It is probably the best one I have seen to date. The LunaTik comes in a simple, but very well designed packaging showing the product on the front and a larger view of it on the back. Inside LunaTik’s box, you will find two Allen wrenches for installation of the iPod nano.

The LunaTik’s band is very thick and is made out of high quality silicone with plenty of adjustment holes to allow a precise fit. The finish of the hinge pins and buckle is stainless steel with a brushed finish, which makes it look and feel really nice. LunaTik’s body is made out of aluminum with a matte finish. The Nano is installed inside it by using the included Allen wrenches to take the case apart and slide the iPod nano inside. Installation was simple and the fit is secure. In addition, the LunaTik allows the dock connector and headphone jack to be positioned either to the right of left. In the end, the result is an elegant looking iWatch.The only con with the LunaTik is that it isn’t easy to remove your iPod nano from the case if needed. This is because Allen wrenches are needed to unscrew the screws, which takes a while.

iWatch

At first, I thought that wearing an iPod nano on my wrist would be an impractical idea, but in use my opinion quickly changed. My iWatch’sbattery lasted for 18 days, which is pretty amazing. The combination of a touchscreen iPod with a wristband is genius and has a futuristic feel to it! It seems to catch a lot of people’s attention everywhere I go. The LunaTik is available for purchase in many colors and costs $79.95.