Posts tagged What’s

What’s Apple Going To Do With All Its Loose Ends?

Thank goodness Apple didn’t announce more devices. It would’ve ruined everything. 

To judge by its two most recent public events, Apple has three big priorities right now: Its supersized iPhones, the forthcoming Apple Watch and Apple Pay, its new mobile payments system that just launched. If nothing else, that became utterly clear last Thursday when CEO Tim Cook and other executives spent the first 30 minutes of its iPad presentation reiterating announcements they’d already made a month earlier.

Of course, Apple is a company in transition. After more than two years on what looked like autopilot following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple under Cook is branching out in a variety of new directions. It’s perfectly natural that it would focus on its most important efforts. 

But that also leaves a lot of loose ends dangling around the periphery of Apple’s empire. Despite rumors and hopes that the company might announce a new Apple TV, MacBook Air with “retina” display, 12.9-inch iPad and sixth-generation iPod touch, all were conspicuously missing. 

It’s easy to cast them as collateral damage in Apple’s campaign to reinvent itself from mere gadget maker to architect of connected life. But there’s plenty of reason to think the company has grander plans than that. 

Well, for most of them, at least.

Patience, Apple TV

The Apple TV (rear), crowded in by the Roku 2 and Chromecast.

Two years ago, one of the first comments Tim Cook made as a newly minted Apple CEO was about how he loved his Apple TV and hoped to expand on it someday. Now the 7-year-old Apple TV has finally sloughed off its status as hobby and became a money maker, selling 20 million units and funneling more than a billion dollars into the company’s pockets

That’s plenty of incentive for Apple to refresh its only TV gadget. And yet, no new product update came this year, which seems to defy logic. Streaming media has become so hot, channels like HBO and CBS are bypassing cable bundles by offering online-only services. Meanwhile, a new set-top box just hit the scene—from Google, Apple’s main competitor, no less. 

But if Apple has been quiet about the set-top box, that doesn’t mean it has ignored it. 

In 2012, Cook said, “[I] always thought there was something there, and that if we kept following our intuition and kept pulling that string, we might find something larger.” That larger thing appears to be Apple’s new smart home system. Clues in the iOS 8 mobile software (Apple TV is technically an iOS device) point to the streaming box working with HomeKit as a remotely controllable hub.

See also: 5 Things To Consider Before Wiring Up Your Smart Home

Smart home features in the device would require some hardware changes, like antennae for Zigbee or Z-wave, short-range wireless signals often used in connected home products. Changes in the Apple TV’s remote control might also be in order, possibly delaying the device. 

Apple’s Craig Federighi and his spectacular coiff go over a list of HomeKit partners in June, at the Worldwide Developers Conference

A bolstered Apple TV could thus serve as Apple’s Trojan Horse for smuggling smart-home features into people’s homes. If they already have a control console or hub, even skeptics might be inclined to try out a product or two that hooks into it. 

The company could further boost appeal by giving the Apple TV access to an App Store. Currently, users get a few dozen pre-selected streaming channels. But they can’t download Spotify, Pandora or Rdio, much less game apps or alternate streaming services, the way they can on Google or Amazon TV streaming gadgets. 

The thought of Apple opening that up would have been laughable a year ago. But now it has loosened developer restrictions for iPhone apps, making the prospect of it opening up Apple TV apps more credible. I’ve spoken with various developers who told me they couldn’t wait to make iOS apps for the big screen. So if the company is putting some finishing touches on a software developer kit alongside its work on HomeKit integration, plenty of services will be available to tempt customers. 

In other words, this already decent set-top player could be on the verge of becoming awesome. 

No “Retina” MacBook Air For You! (For Now)

After Apple released a marginally better MacBook Air earlier this year, anticipation was high that it was saving the best for last—namely, a new update with a high-resolution “retina” display. After all, the beefier MacBook Pro got one this summer

Instead, the new, more powerful iMacs got Apple’s high-resolution IPS screen—and not just any old retina display, but its next-generation “5K” version, with 5120 x 2880 resolution. Apple also announced some much-needed upgrades for the Mac Mini, including a faster processor, faster Wi-Fi, speedy PCie-based flash storage and a price cut of $100. 

What did the MacBook Air get last week? Bupkis. 

But before hopefuls despair, they should know that Apple is probably holding things up for customers’ own good. These high-resolution retina displays draw a lot of power, so putting them on a laptop hyped for its battery life could potentially be a disaster. 

So if you’re holding out for a MacBook Air with a retina display, take heart: Apple loves to tinker with energy optimization, so the extra time is likely going into slaying that battery dilemma. 

The Monster iPad Cometh

The iPad’s market share has been plummeting recently, in part because people just don’t upgrade their tablets as often as they do phones. Case in point: The 3-year-old iPad 2 is still the most common Apple tablet in use today. 

Source:&nbsp;<a href=”http://info.localytics.com/blog/iphone-5-and-ipad-2-still-dominates”>Localytics</a>

With consumer sales flattening out, the logical course of action is to go after business customers. 

Indeed, the office may be the tablet’s greatest hope. Plenty of workers have already swapped their laptops for iPads, as tablets are more convenient on showroom floors, at construction sites and in other field or travel situations. For more incentive, Apple partnered with IBM a few months ago to offer business apps, cloud services, support and device management. 

The 12.9-inch iPad was supposed to be another carrot to dangle in front of business users, completing a troika of tablet updates. Too bad it never made it to the stage. 

Something’s still missing, no?

Had it joined the updated iPad Air 2 and (very) slightly tweaked iPad mini 3, Apple would have had a three-part strategy locked in: One lightweight, world-mode tablet for globe-hopping executives (potentially as a laptop stand-in), another tiny version fit for the small carry-ons of frequent travelers, and the largest version for folks missing those larger laptop screens. And they will all transition easily between computers and phones, thanks to the newest software.

Ultimately production issues, not lack of faith, may have hampered the biggest iPad of them all. Apple reportedly focused its mighty supply chain on its new larger iPhones, relegating the tablet to a later launch date—probably in early 2015 with the Apple Watch. 

Whither The iPod Touch?

Fall used to be iPod touch season. It was the perfect schedule, as it gave people plenty of time to add the product to their holiday wish lists. 

But not this time around. Apple delivered a minor low-end summer update, but no 6th-generation model. Some think it may still come, only early next year, which makes sense if the iPod touch suffers from the same production issues plaguing the mongo iPad.

But releasing it after the holidays would set it on a strange timetable. To get back on track, Apple would have to skip a year, or launch two new versions in the same year. 

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

The company may be in the midst of figuring out those complexities right now. Or, given its other ambitions, it might have other intentions. Here’s a somewhat depressing thought: The company retired the last of its 3.5-inch displays last month. It also killed its iPod Classic. For now, no one outside of Apple knows if it’s done pruning its product lineup yet. 

Even if it’s not, that doesn’t mean death is imminent for the iPod touch. In fact, it could linger for a while. There’s even a chance that it may get the bigger screens of the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, which would certainly simplify Apple’s manufacturing pipeline. Either way, it may point to the company’s lack of interest in advancing any more handhelds with 4-inch screens. 

One More Thing: Apple Meets The SIMs

One of the most intriguing things to come out of Apple was something else it neglected to mention: The company built its own SIM, a tiny identification card inside phones and some tablets that allows them to work on cellular networks.

Apple’s SIM is its first, notes GigaOm, and it’s going into some of the LTE-equipped versions of its new iPad Air 2. The new tablet supports global LTE bands, plus older 3G, and it appears this card is how it will connect to those networks (starting with the U.S. and the U.K.).

iPad customers usually pick a cellular provider at the time of purchase (unless it’s a Wi-Fi only model), and there they remain. But the Apple SIM can be programmed (and then re-programmed) to work on different networks. This means that people could buy the tablet first, and then choose carriers later. 

There’s speculation that the Apple SIM may be the company’s first step to becoming a cellular operator. That’s pretty far-fetched. Much more likely is that Apple saw adaptable SIM cards appealing to international users and business travelers, Apple’s new target audience for its iPads.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, with so few product announcements last Thursday, Apple’s presentation seemed a bit dull. But it wasn’t a sign of complacence. Far from it. It’s clear that the work is only just beginning. So far, Apple has had a tough time maintaining equilibrium as it figures out what to let go, what to keep and how to establish entirely new product categories—some of which it has never tried before. 

It’s a balancing act, and the company has already been thrown off-kilter a bit. Over the next year, we’ll see how strong its footing in these areas really is. 

Apple images courtesy of Apple; SIM card photo by MIKI Yoshihito; Pie chart courtesy of Localyticsall others by ReadWrite

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The Feds Think It’s OK To Impersonate You On Facebook Using What’s On Your Phone

A special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration impersonated a woman by creating a fake Facebook profile and posting photos from her phone in an attempt to communicate with criminals. That woman, Sondra Arquiett, is now suing the agent and the federal government for at least $750,000.

Arquiett’s court filing, first discovered by BuzzFeed, and related legal documents describe her 2010 arrest following a joint investigation into local drug trafficking by the DEA and other agencies. Investigators seized her phone at the time of her arrest. Arquiett pled guilty to an “intent to distribute” drug charge and received five years of probation.

Soon after her arrest, however, Timothy Sinnigen—the DEA agent and defendant in the lawsuit—set up a fake Facebook profile page using Arquiett’s name and photos taken from her seized cellphone in an apparent attempt to communicate with other members of the alleged drug ring. In her complaint, Arquiett claims the agent used this data from her phone without her knowledge or consent.

In response, the Justice Department claims that Sinnigen set up and used the fake Facebook profile for a “legitimate law enforcement purpose,” though without specifying what that legitimate purpose was. The department denies any wrongdoing. Sinnigen sent and received friend requests while impersonating Arquiett, including one to a wanted fugitive who was evading arrest.

The agency says that while Arquiett did not give explicit consent for the photos to be used on an account impersonating her, she granted access to the information stored in her device to aid in ongoing criminal investigations.

Arguiett charges in her complaint that some of the photos used were “revealing and suggestive,” such as one of her in her bra and panties. Sinnigen also posted photos of Arquiett’s young son and niece. Arquiett claims she didn’t know about the page until a friend showed it to her, since no one ever told her that a federal agent might post her personal photos and other information on a public Facebook profile under her name. She says she suffered “fear and great emotional distress” as a result.

The Justice Department’s response goes on to argue that:

  • Plaintiff does not have a First Amendment Right to Privacy in the photographs contained on her cell phone.
  • Plaintiff relinquished any expectation of privacy she may have had to the photographs contained on her cell phone.
  • Plaintiff consented to the search of her cell phone.
  • Plaintiff consented to use of information contained on her cell phone in ongoing criminal investigations.
  • Plaintiff cannot establish a violation of her substantive due process rights because she has not, and cannot, allege that Defendant Sinnigen’s alleged actions were taken with the absence of a legitimate governmental interest.

A number of law and privacy experts told BuzzFeed the government’s actions are hugely problematic, and that consenting to use the contents of a device does not grant permission to steal someone’s identity. 

Whether or not the Justice Department has a legal right to impersonate Arquiett, Sinnigen’s actions appear to have violated Facebook’s terms of service, which state that, “Pretending to be anything or anyone isn’t allowed.” The fake-Arquiett Facebook page has also apparently vanished from the site.

Lead image by Ryan Lackey

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Bing Shows What’s Playing At The Movies, In Remake Of Google’s Own Film Carousel

Bing has a new way of showing you what’s playing in your local theater, a “carousel” format that lets you browse what’s playing. If you think you’ve seen this before, you have. It’s how Google already does it. The Movie Carousel A search for something like…



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Facebook Releases New App For iOS 8: Here’s What’s New by @mattsouthern

Facebook wasted no time getting a new app out for iOS 8, and they recently published an update on their Newsroom blog explaining what’s new and how it offers an improved experience over iOS 7. For instance, one of the improvements to Facebook for iOS 8 is the ability to share content from other apps to Facebook. Just tap on the share icon and select Facebook, then you can share content from your browser, camera roll, and content from other apps. Facebook is also enhancing the design of its app specifically for new iPhone screens. They explain how they’re creating assets […]

The post Facebook Releases New App For iOS 8: Here’s What’s New by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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What’s the Future of SEO in a Visual World? – MarketingProfs.com (subscription)


MarketingProfs.com (subscription)
What's the Future of SEO in a Visual World?
MarketingProfs.com (subscription)
That shift means that marketers must rethink their approach to search engine optimization (SEO). Today, over a billion images are shared daily, and when people communicate with pictures, they don't use many words. For example, 75% of posts to Tumblr

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Hyungsik and Seo Kang Jun continue their bromance on the set of KBS’s ‘What’s … – allkpop


allkpop
Hyungsik and Seo Kang Jun continue their bromance on the set of KBS's 'What's
allkpop
Still-cuts from KBS 2TV 'What's With This Family' were recently revealed showing off their two most adorable actors, Hyungsik and Seo Kang Jun. ZE:A shared the photos via their official Facebook page, showing a playful Hyungsik with his fellow co-star

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Google May Use What’s On TV As A Ranking Signal, According To New Patent by @mattsouthern

Bill Slawski at SEO By The Sea broke the news this morning that Google has been granted a patent that appears to show they’re working on a method to use information about what’s airing on TV in your area as a ranking signal. The patent says Google may assess what’s on TV in your local area and look for related queries. For example, if someone searches for “Doctor Who” and a new episode of Doctor Who is about to air in your local area, that’s a signal that may influence the search results you receive. Here’s exactly what the patent […]

The post Google May Use What’s On TV As A Ranking Signal, According To New Patent by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Modern SEO Strategies: What I’ve Learned and What’s Changed – Business 2 Community


Business 2 Community
Modern SEO Strategies: What I've Learned and What's Changed
Business 2 Community
We all got off track when we starting thinking of SEO as a list of tasks, when what we should have doing is organically growing our blogs to the right community, writing the best we can, and promoting our work for a larger percentage of our working

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What’s the Deal With Links From M.Biz? Should You Disavow?

Do links from m.biz have a negative SEO impact on your site? Do you need to disavow them to be safe?

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

What’s The Difference Between The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus?

Apple’s big news today was the unveiling of two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. What’s the difference between the two? Here’s a side-by-side breakdown for the 6 and 6 Plus.

Price, With Contract

  • iPhone 6: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 64GB, $399 for 128GB. All with two-year contract. 
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64, $499 for 128GB with two-year contract. 

Price, Unsubsidized

  • iPhone 6: $649 for 16GB, $749 for 64GB, $849 for 128GB
  • iPhone 6 Plus: $749 for 16GB, $849 for 64GB, $949 for 128GB

Color and Material

  • iPhone 6: 4.7-inch screen, with rounded edges and a 6.8mm metal body. Comes in silver, gold, and space gray. The phone’s back is constructed of anodized aluminum and stainless steel, with a front made of something Apple calls “ion-strengthened glass”—a sturdy material that won’t shatter easily.
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 5.5 inch display, with a metallic 7.1 mm body that comes in silver, gold, and space gray. The model has rounded buttons, rounded corners, and a protruding camera. This phone is also made of anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and “ion-strengthened glass.”

See also: iOS 8 Offers Some New Tricks For Big iPhones

Camera

  • iPhone 6: The 8MP camera captures video at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second; slow-mo video can take 240 frames per second. The phone also boasts a true-tone flash, 1.5 micron pixels, an f/2.2 aperture, “focus pixels,” and autofocus that’s twice as fast as the previous generation (that would be the camera in the iPhone 5S). The iPhone 6 also has “digital” image stabilization, cinematic video stabilization, improved face detection, burst selfies, and single shot HDR photos. 
  • iPhone 6 Plus: The Apple-designed image signal processor (ISP) helps with shaking and low lighting. The 8MP camera also has true-tone flash, 1.5 micron pixels and an f/2.2 aperture. New sensors allow for faster autofocus and better face detection. The camera features panorama shots of up to 43 megapixels, optical image stabilization and burst selfie mode. It’ll take 1080p video at 30 or 60 frames per second, with slow motion capture at 240 FPS. It offers “cinematic video stabilization” and continuous autofocus while shooting. 

Technical Specifications

  • iPhone 6: Display is 4.7 inches with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. The phone features a 64-bit A8 chip, 16:9 aspect ratio, M8 chip motion coprocessor, barometer, advanced wireless capabilities, and supports up to 20 LTE bands. The iPhone 6 also features a faster 802.11 AC wifi and the ability to make calls over WiFi. 
  • iPhone 6 Plus: Display is 5.5 inches with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The phone features a new 64-bit A8 processor and claims battery life sufficient for 24 hours of 3G talk time. It also has an M8 “motion coprocessor” and a barometer, supports 20 LTE bands, and supports “voice over LTE” and next-generation Wi-Fi (802.11ac), with Wi-Fi calling built-in.

Image courtesy of Apple

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