The company’s application describes the technology behind what it called in the patent filing “Virtual University,” but is now known as iTunes U. The technology behind Apple’s iTunes U, a repository of educational information for students and teachers, has been outed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
According to Patently Apple, which was first to discover the patent application today, the iPhone maker filed for a patent on the technology that powers iTunes U. Interestingly, the technology in the patent application is called Virtual University, but Apple ostensibly decided it wasn’t the right name for its service.
So, what does Apple’s application describe? The application describes a method by which instruction information is displayed within a graphical user interface. The technology also includes how students can use iTunes U for in-session or self-paced courses, and how users can sift through available courses and document information.
Apple’s iTunes U has been growing in leaps and bounds. Apple in February announced that it now has more than 2,500 public and thousands of private courses from over 1,200 universities and colleges, and 1,200 K-12 schools and districts. It’s also hit 1 billion downloads. Interestingly, Apple’s iTunes U application was filed on October 14, 2011. However, the service was actually announced on May 30, 2007.
Google’s mobile OS scooped up more half of U.S. smartphone sales from mid-November through mid-February, says research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android has grabbed the lead over iOS in the battle for U.S. smartphone buyers, according to a report out yesterday from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. From mid-November through mid-February, Android increased its share of U.S. smartphone sales to 51.2 percent, up from 45 percent during the same three-month period in 2012. Over the same time, Apple’s iOS dropped to second place as its share of U.S. sales fell to 43.5 percent from 47 percent.
Much of the surge in Android can be attributed to Apple arch-rival Samsung. Prices drops on Samsung phones in the last half of 2012 prompted many smartphone and feature phone users to upgrade to a Samsung device, Kantar said. Overall, many people who opted for a Samsung phone last year gravitated toward one of the company’s flagship devices. Among those who purchased a Samsung phone in the last year, 52 percent chose a Galaxy S3, 21 percent a Galaxy S2, and 5 percent a Galaxy Note 2. Samsung buyers cited the cost of the phone and the carrier brand as key drivers for their purchase.
“Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Samsung smartphone, 19 percent had previously owned a Samsung feature phone, 15 percent owned an HTC smartphone, 14 percent owned an LG featurephone, 10 percent owned a Samsung smartphone, and 9 percent owned a BlackBerry,” Kantar analyst Mary-Ann Parlato said in a statement. “It’s apparent that Samsung is successful at capturing users from across the competitor set and not just gaining from their own loyalists, (albeit loyalty towards Samsung has also grown).”
What of the rest of the smartphone world? Microsoft’s Windows Phone saw an increase in sales share, jumping to 4.1 percent from 2.7 percent a year earlier. Beyond Android, Windows Phone was the only platform to see its share of sales increase, according to the report. BlackBerry continued to see its sales fall, accounting for 0.7 percent of sales — down from 3.6 percent in 2012. Nokia’s Symbian was stuck in last place among the top five, ekeing out just 0.1 percent of U.S. sales from its 0.5 percent a year earlier. Kantar derived its data from more than 240,000 interviews of mobile phone users. The report focused on actual sales rather than market share.
Apple will unveil its next iPhone on June 20 and kick off sales in July. At least, that’s the claim from Japanese Mac enthusiast site MacFan. A report from Japanese Web Site MacFan seems the first to suggest a specific date for the launch of the next iPhone.
Marking its 20th anniversary as a Mac-oriented Web site, MacFan suggests that the next-generation iPhone will take the stage at a Apple event on Thursday, June 20. The new iPhone will then go on sale a few weeks later in early July, as reported by Electronista. The report further claims that Apple will launch the much-rumored low-cost iPhone in August and target it as a pre-paid device for developing markets such as China and India. Electronista dubs the rumor plausible but doesn’t indicate where or how MacFan got its information.
A June or July launch timeframe for the iPhone 5S has been proposed by other Apple watchers and even a couple of analysts. Apple did release the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 during the June and July period and only switched to fall for the iPhone 4S and 5.
How does MacFan’s claims stack up with other recent rumors?
- Apple analyst Gene Munster expects the iPhone 5S to launch in late June, followed by the low-cost model in the September quarter.
- KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will announce the next iPhone in June and offer it for sale in July.
- Japanese Apple blog Macotakara said earlier this month that production of the next iPhone had already gotten off the ground.
MacFan’s report does echo those of other sources, though it’s gone farther out on the limb by suggesting a specific launch date. Whatever the date, a summer debut for the next iPhone could be a good strategic move on Apple’s part. Apple launched the iPhone 5 last September in large part to end its September quarter with a bang.
But the company then proceeded to unveil a new iPad, the iPad Mini, a new iPod Touch, and other refreshed products in October. If Apple continues to stack all its product launches in the fall, it leaves the company with little to announce the other three quarters of any given year. Apple could generate even more attention for its new products if it spaces out the launches throughout the year, in essence a return to its older strategy.
The latest iOS update seems to be creating trouble for a number of users chiming in on Apple’s support forums. Another iOS update, another round of complaints. Released last week, Apple’s iOS 6.1.3 was designed to fix a security hole that let someone access the iPhone by sneaking past the lock screen. But the update also seems to have plagued some users with other problems, according to blog site Gotta Be Mobile. The persistent battery drain rears its ugly head again with iOS 6.1.3. Several people posting on Apple’s Support Communities forum say the battery drains faster after installing the new update. Some have tried the usual fixes, such as turning off notifications and restoring the device to factory settings, but say their battery charge still doesn’t last long.
Battery drain seems to be a constant complaint with every new iOS update. Just how pervasive a problem is it? A significant number of people ran into battery drain woes with iOS 5.0, forcing Apple to release several subsequent updates to try to resolve the problem. Even after those updates, several users said they continued to experience battery drain with each new update. Another iOS 6.1.3 glitch affecting some users is Wi-Fi connectivity. Several Apple forum commenters say their Wi-Fi connections are grayed out or inoperative. This particular issue has been around since iOS 6.0. Some say the problem was fixed with iOS 6.1.2 but came back with 6.1.3, while some say it was resolved with 6.1.3. Apple has acknowledged the problem in the past and offers a support page with suggestions on resolving it. Still one more issue affecting a few people is a battery drain that occurs when connecting to Microsoft Exchange — another problem that’s been around awhile. This one was supposedly fixed with iOS 6.1.2 but still seems to trouble a certain number of people.
Apple has won a patent on a method of controlling a touchscreen when the display isn’t even on — with clear applications for a wrist-based gadget like therumoured iWatch. The patent, granted yesterday by the US Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by AppleInsider, describes a series of gestures and taps you could make to control any smart device without looking at the screen or pressing a button.
Not only would it save time, it’d save battery power and even the need for having those extra buttons — crucial considerations for a tiny device like a smart watch. You’re effectively using the watch’s screen as one big button to wirelessly control your music. The gestures themselves have a cunning simplicity, and all relate to audio controls. Tap the screen once to pause your music, twice to skip forward or three times to skip back. Double tap and hold to fast forward within your current track, or hold after a triple tap to rewind. My personal favourite: make a clockwise circle and the volume will go up, anticlockwise and it’ll get quieter.
“To provide a consistent user interface with the device, some of the particular touch gestures can match other inputs provided using a button, for example a button integrated on a wired headset,” the patent says. “In such an embodiment, the same combination of tapping and holding a touch input and pressing and holding a button can control the same electronic device operations.” But if your screen doesn’t have to be on, how will it know whether you really meant to touch it or not? Accidentally knocking a device that’s strapped to your wrist is actually less of a problem than one you keep in your bag or pocket, and because it’s a capacitive screen, you have to touch it with something that can complete the circuit (ideally your finger), so your cuff wouldn’t do anything.
The graphics shown in the patent look like a recent model of the iPod nano, which you can click into a watch strap. An Apple patent for a watch-like device appeared last month, and boss Tim Cook said the company was “looking at new categories” of device. The news sparked a rash of rumours of other gadget makers apparently working on smart watches, with Samsung the most concrete of them. The craze was originally started by Kickstarter success story Pebble, which works with both iPhones and Android devices. Would you bother learning a bunch of touch controls so you didn’t have to look at your watch? Would you buy an Apple watch or one that works with a bunch of different systems like the Pebble? Flex your wrists in the comments below, or cast a watchful eye on our Facebook page.
The next-generation iPhone should start shipping by the end of June, followed by a low-cost iPhone in the September quarter, says analyst Gene Munster. Apple will likely bring out its next iPhone in late June, projects Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Assuming that forecast comes true, Munster believes Apple will sell 4 million units of the new phone before the month and the quarter are over. That estimate compares with the 5 million iPhone 5 handsets sold during that model’s opening weekend.
The analyst expects Apple to sell 30 million iPhones over the June quarter, a 15 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. What will the iPhone 5S offer over its predecessor? Like most analysts and Apple watchers, Munster expects the phone to include a faster processor, better camera, and new software features tied into the hardware. He thinks there’s an “outside chance” the 5S may come with an NFC (near-field communications) chip to open the door for mobile payments.
Apple’s purchase last year of security technology provider AuthenTec could lead to a biometric security feature, aka fingerprint reader, for the 5S. But the analyst thinks such a feature is more likely to debut with the iPhone 6.
A follow-up act from Apple will come in the September quarter when the analyst expects to see the launch of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone. Targeted for emerging markets, a budget iPhone would help Apple tap into a market for low-cost smartphones that would be valued at around $135 billion in total. Munster pegs the unlocked price of a low-cost iPhone at $250.
Finally, Apple could announce its new television sometime in the December quarter, according to Munster, ultimately followed by the announcement of a smartwatch. The analyst doesn’t think either product would generate substantial revenue. But they would show that Apple is still capable of cooking up innovative products, something that would benefit the company and its stock price.
“We believe investors have wondered if Apple can put out new and innovating products without Steve Jobs,” Munster said in an investors note released today. “We believe that ultimately, if Apple is viewed as a company that can innovate, the multiple will improve.”
The startup’s product lets smartphones pinpoint their location using ambient Wi-Fi signals already present in buildings. Apple has acquired WiFiSlam, a company that makes an app that lets smartphones locate themselves indoors using ambient Wi-Fi signals that already exist in buildings.
The deal was reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, which said Apple confirmed the acquisition but had no further comment other than to say that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” Digits said Apple paid $20 million for WiFiSlam. The WiFiSlam page on AngelList describes the company’s product like so:
Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient Wi-Fi signals that are already present in buildings.
We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking.
Digits notes that Google currently offers indoor mapping in airports, shopping centers, sports stadiums, and other locations. It’s not known if WiFiSlam’s technology will somehow be incorporated into Apple’s Maps app. Apple, of course, tossed Google Maps as the default mapping service in iOS and launched its own mapping app, which, on its debut last September, was lambasted for its shortcomings.
Since then, Apple has stayed relatively quiet on improvements to its Maps app. When asked about progress on the software during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had already made “a number of improvements”including improved satellite and flyover imagery as well as local information for businesses.
Google released its own, standalone maps app for iOS in December. That software wasupdated for the first time in early March, with a quick search tool and integration with Google’s contacts service. WiFiSlam was co-founded by a former Google software engineering intern, Joseph Huang, Digits noted.
In 2010, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the iPad mini was just a rumor and that the whole 7-inch tablet industry would be “dead on arrival.” Little did he know that 7-inch tablets, and the iPad mini specifically, would blow the doors off the market. Today, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt tried to put the tablet market back three years by saying that the iPad mini is “too small.”
Before the iPad mini hit store shelves, there was a lot of discussion about whether the smaller tablet would even make a dent in the industry. By the beginning of this month, Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet was on par to oversell its larger counterpart by the end of 2013.
It seems strange that Schmidt would be quoted as saying the iPad mini is too small when Google has its own 7-inch tablet that, technically is smaller than Apple’s tablet. If you take into account the slimmer bezel on the iPad mini, the active screen is larger than any other tablet in the small-sized market.
Maybe Schmidt is on to something. When Apple launches the fifth-generation iPad, it will definitely regenerate interest in the larger-screened tablet. Maybe it will push the mini to the back seat where it will go the way of the dinosaur.
[Via: Guardian UK]
Apple now allows Apple ID users to use two-step verification. We walk through the setup process. Apple took a big step in helping Apple ID users in securing their accounts this week with offering two-step verification. Two-step verification (or authentication as it’s commonly referred to) adds an additional barrier of security between would-be hackers and your account. The extra barrier comes in the form of a four-digit code, which will be sent to a device of your choosing via the Find My iPhone app or SMS, after you’ve entered your password.
Step one: To add the extra layer of security to your account you’ll need to visit the Apple ID settings page on your computer and click on “Manage your Apple ID.” Log in to the account for which you wish to enable two-step verification.
Step two: Click on the “Password and Security” option on the left side of the screen. Then you should see a “get started” link to enable two-step verification for your account. You’ve probably already clicked on the link, but just in case you haven’t, go ahead — click on it.
Step three: After clicking on the link, Apple will take you through a couple of Web pages explaining exactly what two-step verification means to you and your account. Some things to note:
- Your security questions will no longer exist.
- You will be the only person able to request a password reset.
- You need to keep your Recovery Key in a safe place.
Step four: Once you acknowledge you’ve read through the guidelines, you’ll need to add a device (or devices) to your account, granting permission to receive the four-digit code required to gain access to your account. If you use one Apple ID for App Store purchases, and another to access iCloud services, you’ll need to set up the App Store account to be SMS only. The iCloud-only account will be able to use both Find My iPhone and SMS to receive the four-digit code. Thankfully, you can link the same phone number to more than one Apple ID.
Step five: You’ll then be given your Recovery Key. This is a key piece of information when it comes to keeping your account secure. Write it down, print it out, and take a screenshot of it to ensure you don’t misplace it. Should you ever forget your password, or lose a registered device, your Recovery Key will grant you access to your account.
To drive home how important it is you write the key down and store it somewhere safe, after showing you your Recovery Key, Apple makes you type it in to verify you have the right key recorded. And no, you can’t copy and paste the key from the previous step.
Step six: The final step of the process is once again agreeing to the implications of enabling two-step verification on your account.
Two-step authentication is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand. Should you ever sell, replace, or lose one of your registered devices, make sure tovisit this page to remove it as soon as possible. The process only takes a few minutes of your time and is worth setting up. The additional layer of security all but eliminates any risk you have of your account being compromised. Should you have any questions about Apple’s two-step verification, be sure to look over its FAQ page. Or if you’re looking to enable the same service on your Google account, you can follow the step inMatt Elliot’s post here.
Apple will supply the Pentagon with iOS devices as part of a new contract, a new report says. The U.S. Department of Defense plans to purchase more than half a million iOS devices, according to a new report. Citing “well-placed sources,” Electronista says the government plans to purchase 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod Touches, and 210,000 iPhones as part of an effort to update and mobilize its technologies.
As for the timing of such a deal, Electronista suggests it would happen following the current sequestration. Apple declined to comment on the report, and the Defense Department did not immediately return a request for comment. Last month the Department of Defense announced that it was dropping its exclusive contract with handset maker BlackBerry and opening up its communications networks to others, like Apple and Google.
The Department uses more than 600,000 mobile devices already — 470,000 of which are BlackBerry — with another 41,000 made by Apple and 8,700 running Google’s Androidplatform. Last October the organization said that it plans to ramp that up to 8 million devices. The move, which remains unconfirmed, comes on the heels of the UK government’s electronics clearance unit deeming Blackberry 10 to be not as secure as previous versions of the platform – a blow for the Canadian device maker that first released the software in late January after delays.