Google Acquires Popular Mac and iOS Mail Client – Sparrow

Sparrow, possibly the best email client available for Mac and iOS, have just announced that they have been acquired by Google. The company’s CEO announced that they are “joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision.”

Below is Sparrow’s CEO, Dom Leca’s full statement about the acquisition -:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

The acquisition by Google does not mean that Sparrow will be dis-continued. The developers will continue to provide support to its users. Google had earlier acquired a popular IM client earlier, Meebo, and with Sparrow’s acquisition, it looks like the big G is finally working hard on merging Gmail with its chat (Talk/Hangout/Messenger) services. Considering how talented the Sparrow team is, it will be really interesting to see what new features they bring to Gmail, and perhaps to the email?

iOS and Mac AppStore Deals: Tons Of Popular Games and Apps Go on Sale!

If you own an iOS running device, consider this to be your lucky day. Thanks to Independence Day, all iOS developers have put their games and application on sales. This includes all the gaming titles from EA, and other popular games like Real Racing 2 etc.

Here is a list of quite a few popular games for iPad that are up for sale. Their iPhone versions of the games also up for sale, so head over to the App Store to download them.

There are tons of other games that are also up for sale. Use an application like AppZapper HD to track deals on these apps. Apart from the iOS AppStore, quite a few applications have gone for sale on the Mac App Store or are even available for free. Two lesser known RSS apps – Monotomy & Moka – are now available as a free download, while Fantastical, an outstanding calendar app for the Mac, is available for only $9.99 compared to its usual price of $19.99.

For Mac gamers out there, Call Of Duty Modern Warfare is also up for grabs for only $19.99 instead of its usual price of $39.99.

Orbitz Showing More Expensive Hotels to Mac Users

The Wall Street Journal reports that the travel shopping site  Orbitz is displaying more expensive hotels to Mac users because the company found that Mac users prefer more luxurious rooms. The travel site company said that it was not showing different prices for the same room to different users, but was presenting pricier hotels more often to Mac users than those using Windows. On Orbitz’s website, users can rank hotel options by price and get the same listings no matter what platform they are using.

The report also notes that the average household income for adult owners of Macs is $98,560, according to Forrester Research, versus $74,452 for a PC owner. It also notes that some high-end hotels see bookings from Mac users hugely out of proportion with their user share on Orbitz.

Apparently, these targeting efforts are part of Orbitz’s “predictive analytics” efforts — using gathered data to offer more accurate results to shoppers in order to generate more revenue. Sounds like a great way to create a PR nightmare, though.

Apple’s Back to School Promotion Begins

With the announcement of new Macs, Apple has introduced their back to school promotion for the 2012 school year. This year, eligible customers receive a $100 iTunes gift card with the purchase of a new Mac, and $50 with a new iPad.

Customers are required to purchase a Mac or iPad for college between June 11th and September 21st in order to qualify for the Back to School gift card offer. The gift card can be used on apps, books, music, and movies. Also, students and faculty can purchase their Mac with Apple Education Pricing to save money on the hardware.

In order to qualify for the offer, customers must be a college student, a student accepted to a college, a parent buying for a college student, or a faculty or staff member from any grade level.

Customers can buy a qualifying Mac or iPad from the Apple Online Store for Education, the Apple Retail Store, or an Apple Authorized Campus Store. With their purchase, they will receive a back to school gift card. The gift card can be used in the iOS and Mac App Stores, the iBookstore, or iTunes.

New Part Numbers Reveal Apple to Refresh Most of Mac Lineup at WWDC

It seems that ahead of WWDC 2012, information regarding the new Macs just don’t stop leaking. Today, AppleInsider has posted a  full list of 27 new part numbers said to be on their way to resellers in Australia. 13 of those numbers are listed as “standalone kits”, which would suggest that they are accessories. The 14 other numbers listed on the list would suggest that they are new Mac models.

9to5Mac has posted a full list of parts and prices along with their speculation on new models matching up with the parts. MacRumors speculates that part number MC414 appears to be priced under AU$1000. The next batch of part numbers includes a pair of “D2″ machines with prices above AU$2000 and AU$3000, and these parts may represent new 15-inch MacBook Pro models. Recent rumors have suggested that the MacBook Pro will receive a significant upgrade, with a slimmer form factor.

Also, the two pairs of model numbers at J30 and J31 maybe update iMacs, with the three lowest models being priced in the AU$1000-AU$1999 range and the top end model coming in above AU$2000. iMacs have also been rumored to receive the Retina display.



Apple Pulls Mac Pro Inventory from Most Retail Stores Ahead of WWDC 2012

Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple will update nearly the entire Mac lineup at WWDC 2012. Today, MacRumors has discovered that after doing an inventory check with around 100 U.S. Apple retail stores, the availability for the entry-level stock Mac Pro appears out of stock for in-store pickup. This would further suggest that new Mac Pros will be revealed next week.

In fact, even flagship stores like the one in New York’s Grand Central Station are supposedly out of stock of all Mac Pro models.  The same location will have the Server version of the tower in stock by June 9 while all others will be ready for pickup on June 12, AppleInsider reports.

Projected availability dates for orders placed today also vary. Some stores show availability on  June 8 or 9 while others would not be able to offer a Mac Pro for pickup until June 12 or 13. Apple’s WWDC 2012 keynote will occur on next Monday, June 11th.

Bottom line is that if you are looking to purchase a new Mac, you should wait until the announcements are made on June 11th.

Rumor: Apple to Update Nearly Entire Mac Lineup at WWDC 2012

It seems that 9to5Mac has somehow been able to get their hands on the announcements for next week. Even though they may turn out to be true, it should be noted that it is all *speculation* until Apple confirms it. Now, 9to5Mac reports that Apple will update nearly all of its Mac products at next weeks Worldwide Developers Conference. The report suggests that Apple will update “at least four” out the company’s five Mac families.

Recent rumors have suggested that the MacBook Pro will receive a significant upgrade, with a slimmer form factor. Apple’s iMac lineup and MacBook Air lineup are also probably going to receive an update. The report also suggests that the MacBook Airs and MacBook Pro will offer the Retina display. iMacs have also been rumored to receive the Retina display.

9to5Mac also says that the Mac Mini will also receive an update and possibly the Mac Pro too. The report also suggests that Apple may also introduce new and updated accessories along with the new Macs.

Sounds like next week is going to be expensive.

Apple’s Mac App Store Hits 10,000 apps

Apple’s Mac App Store has hit 10,000 applications, reports French Apple site MacGeneration, which uses its own tracking system to analyze App Store content. According to their report, the milestone was reached, although Apple has not publicly announced it.

In 2011, Apple introduced the Mac App Store with more than 1,000 applications, including Apple’s iWork and iLife suite of software. Apple also released OS X 10.7 Lion, its latest Mac OS exclusively via the Mac App Store.

To date, Lion is the most popular and highest paid application available on the Mac App Store. The next version of Mac OS X, Mountain Lion, will also be made available in the Mac App Store.

Last December, Apple’s Mac App Store passed 100 million downloads, making it the “largest and fastest growing PC software store in the world”.

Apple Releases Java Update to Remove Flashback Trojan

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple is working on their own software to detect and remove the flashback trojan which has infected 600,000 Macs. Last week, a Java update was released to fix the security flaw that the virus was attacking. Now, Apple has released  Java for OS X 2012-003, an update to the Java implementation in OS X.

Java OS X Lion update

This update removes “the most common variants of the Flashback malware.” Also, the update disables the automatic execution of Java applets, and, if automatic execution is re-enabled, will again disable it if no applets have been run for “an extended period of time”.

The update can be downloaded via Software Update. A separate Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8 is available for users on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

Internet Explorer 9 Is The Fastest Browser On Windows

According to a study conducted by New Relic which measures browser speeds on both mobile and desktop platforms, Internet Explorer 9 takes the cake for the fastest browsing experience on Windows with load times of around 3 seconds, while Firefox 14.0 and Chrome 17 tied at 3.5. Safari for Windows 5.1 took 4 seconds to load the same page.

On the Mac side, Chrome is the winner with Chrome 13 reporting load times of 2.4. Chrome 19 on the other time has load times of around 2.7, tying it with Safari 5.1. In the survey, a total of 7 Chrome versions were tested. Firefox 11 for Mac took 2.8 seconds.

The mobile browser speed results are quite interesting. Apparently, Blackberries are in fact good for one thing; BlackBerry Opera Mini 6.5 took around 2.6 seconds to load pages, compared to Safari (iPad) 5.1’s load time of 5 seconds, and Safari (iPhone) 5.0’s load time of 6.2 seconds. The load time for Safari (iPhone) 5.1 was around 6.6 seconds. Opera Mobile 12 for Android’s load time was around 7.3 seconds.

The study was conducted in March 2012 over the course of one week, in which New Relic surveyed and measured the speed of 5 billion global page loads across PC and mobile browsers.

In conclusion, here’s a statistical tidbit: This year’s average page load is 5.5 seconds, compared to last year’s time of 6 seconds.