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Why Apple Went 64-Bit With the iPhone 5s 512

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says it's not just because Apple likes bragging about being first and because a 64-bit processor sounds cooler than 32-bits that Apple used the 64-bit A7 chip in the new iPhone 5s. A shift from a 32-bit processor to a 64-bit part paves the way for iPhones to be fitted out with 4GB+ of RAM down the line, but more importantly the move brings iOS and OS X apps much closer. The architecture for 64-bit apps on iOS will be almost identical to the architecture for OS X apps, making it easy to create a common code base that runs in both operating systems. 'Apple has slowly been bringing iOS-like features to Mac OS for years now: think of Launchpad and Gatekeeper,' writes Sascha Segan. 'The ultimate prize, of course, would be to bring the million-plus iOS apps to Macs. Apple could do that with an ARM-compatible virtual machine on Mac hardware, but it would want the VM, the OS and the associated apps to play nicely in the much larger memory space available on Macs. That means moving the whole system over to 64 bit.' By unifying iOS and Mac OS with Xcode developer tools in a 64-bit space, Apple could once again leap ahead of Microsoft and Google, says Segan. Microsoft hasn't yet been able to leverage its desktop strengths to achieve success as a mobile OS. The 64-bit chips for Android devices aren't ready, and neither is Android itself."
The Media

Today, Everybody's a Fact Checker 143

Hugh Pickens points out an article by David Zweig at The Atlantic about the rise of fact-checking sites on the internet, and the power they give to journalists and average internet denizens to sniff out fiction parading as truth. Quoting: "Since the beginning of the republic (not the American republic, I'm talking the Greek republic) politicians have resorted to half-truths and bald-faced lies. And while tenacious reporters and informed citizens have tracked these falsehoods over the years, until now they've lacked the interconnectivity and real-time capabilities of the Web to amplify their findings. Sites like the Washington Post's Fact-Check column and, which draws hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month, often provide fodder for public fascination with fact-checking. ... Perhaps the masses don't care about inaccuracies. Many Democrats and Republicans alike will believe what they want and ignore or disregard the truth. ... But there are enough experts within a variety of fields rabidly conversing about errors that content-creators—be they politicians, journalists, or filmmakers—are now forced to be on their toes in a way they never have been before. And that's a good thing.'" Zweig also points out Snopes, Prochronisms, and Photoshop Disasters as useful tools for spotting errors or misrepresentations.

A5 Mystery Solved (Why Siri Won't Run On iPhone 4) 239

Hugh Pickens writes "Anna Leach reports that Siri support has been a contentious issue for owners of earlier iPhones, but a recent filing from Audience shows that Siri won't run on the iPhone 4 because the phone's chip can't handle it. Linley Gwennap of the Linley Group cracked one of the secrets of the new iPhone's A5 chip after working out that it packs some serious audio cleaning power not available on the iPhone 4's A4 chip. Audience has developed technology that removes most or all of the background noise when someone places a cell-phone call from a restaurant, airport, or other noisy location. The iPhone 4S integrates Audience's 'EarSmart' technology directly into the A5 processor, improving its technology to handle 'far-field speech,' which means holding the device at arm's length rather than directly in front of the mouth. Apple has also licensed the Audience technology for a 'new generation of processor IP,' which may mean that the forthcoming A6 processor will appear in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5. 'Why Apple has not simply purchased Audience is unclear. An acquisition would prevent Audience's other major customer, Samsung, from using the technology to compete with Apple,' says Gwennap. 'The company may be hedging its bets, as it could switch to Qualcomm's Fluence noise-reduction technology in the future.'"

Kurzweil: Human-Level Machine Translation By 2029 186

An anonymous reader writes "In a video interview with the Huffington Post, noted futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that machines will reach human levels of translation quality by the year 2029. However, he was quick to highlight that even major technological advances in translation do not replace the need for language learning. 'Even the best translators can't fully translate literature,' he pointed out. 'Some things just can't be expressed in another language.'"

WP7 Predicted To Beat iPhone By 2015 377

WrongSizeGlass writes "InformationWeek is reporting that Windows Phone 7 will overtake Apple's iPhone by 2015 according to IDC. IDC predicts 2015 will bring: Android 45.4%, WP7 & WinMobile 20.9%, iOS 15.3%, RIM 13.7%, Symbian 0.2%, and 'Others' 4.6%. These numbers would move WP7 into 2nd place and leave iOS in 3rd place with a slightly smaller piece of the smart phone pie than they current hold (15.7%). The author of the InformationWeek story isn't buying IDC's forecast, because of WP7's anemic sales to date and Microsoft's recent stumbles with its first two updates. I have to wonder if WP7 will still be Microsoft's smartphone OS in 2015 or if they'll have moved to WP8."

Why Nokia Is Toast 475

CWmike writes "It's hard to remember now, but there was a time when Finland was at the center of the cell phone universe. No more. Nokia is being killed by complexity. Along comes Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, delivering more complexity. My view is that Microsoft doesn't matter, writes Mike Elgan. Although Windows Phone 7 is a way better operating system than Symbian, Nokia's problem isn't Symbian, and the solution isn't Windows Phone 7. Nokia's problem is that it follows the losing strategies of the other losers in the market, and rejects the only two known winning strategies. There are way too many Nokia phones. This causes either choice paralysis, sending buyers screaming to Apple for relief, or buyer's remorse. Nokia should take the advice Steve Jobs gave to Nike CEO Mark Parker: 'Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.'" And maybe Nokia isn't toast at all: reader high_rolla points out an interesting bit of speculation that the Nokia-Microsoft pact is part of a grand plan "to become the exclusive manufacturer of hardware for MS phones and tablets."

Model Says Religiosity Gene Will Dominate Society 729

Hugh Pickens writes writes "PhysOrg reports on a study by Robert Rowthorn, emeritus professor at Cambridge University, that predicts that the genetic components that predispose a person toward religion are currently "hitchhiking" on the back of the religious cultural practice of high fertility rates and that provided the fertility of religious people remains on average higher than that of secular people, the genes that predispose people towards religion will spread. For example, in the past 20 years, the Amish population in the US has doubled, increasing from 123,000 in 1991 to 249,000 in 2010. The huge growth stems almost entirely from the religious culture's high fertility rate, which is about 6 children per woman, on average. Rowthorn says that while fertility is determined by culture, an individual's predisposition toward religion is likely to be influenced by genetics, in addition to their upbringing. In the model, Rowthorn uses a "religiosity gene" to represent the various genetic factors that combine to genetically predispose a person toward religion, whether remaining religious from youth or converting to religion from a secular upbringing. Rowthorn's model predicts that the religious fraction of the population will eventually stabilize at less than 100%, and there will remain a possibly large percentage of secular individuals. But nearly all of the secular population will still carry the religious allele, since high defection rates will spread the religious allele to secular society when defectors have children with a secular partner."

For Mac Developers, Armageddon Comes Tomorrow 429

kdawson writes "David Gewirtz's blog post over at ZDNet warns of an imminent price collapse for traditional Mac applications, starting tomorrow when the Mac App Store opens. The larger questions: what will Mac price plunges of 90%-95% mean for the PC software market? For the Mac's market share? Quoting: 'The Mac software market is about as old-school as you get. Developers have been creating, shipping, and selling products through traditional channels and at traditional price points for decades. ... Mac software has historically been priced on a parity with other desktop software. That means small products are about $20. Utilities run in the $50-60 range. Games in the $50 range. Productivity packages and creative tools in the hundreds, and specialty software — well, the sky's the limit. Tomorrow, the sky will fall. Tomorrow, the iOS developers move in and the traditional Mac developers better stick their heads between their legs and kiss those price points goodbye.'"

The End of the PC Era and Apple's Plan To Survive 549

Hugh Pickens writes "Charlie Stross has written a very interesting essay, ostensibly about the 'real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash,' but really about how Jobs is betting Apple's future on an all-or-nothing push into a new market as Moore's law tapers off and the personal computer industry craters and turns into a profitability wasteland. Stross says that Apple is trying desperately to force the growth of a new ecosystem — one that rivals the 26-year-old Macintosh environment — to maturity in five years flat — the time scale in which they expect the cloud computing revolution to flatten the existing PC industry and turn PC manufacturers into suppliers of commodity equipment assembled on a shoestring budget with negligible profit. 'Any threat to the growth of the app store software platform is going to be resisted, vigorously, at this stage,' writes Stross. 'And he really does not want cross-platform apps that might divert attention and energy away from his application ecosystem.' The long-term goal is to support the long-term migration of Apple from being a hardware company with a software arm into being a cloud computing company with a hardware subsidiary. 'This is why there's a stench of panic hanging over Silicon Valley. This is why Apple have turned into paranoid security Nazis, why HP have just ditched Microsoft from a forthcoming major platform and splurged a billion-plus on buying up a near-failure; it's why everyone is terrified of Google,' writes Stross. 'The PC revolution is almost coming to an end, and everyone's trying to work out a strategy for surviving the aftermath.'"

Does HP + Palm = Facepalm? 236

ChiefMonkeyGrinder submitted a bit of commentary on yesterday's news that Hewlett-Packard was buying Palm. From TFA: "When I first read the news that HP was buying Palm for $1.2 billion, my first reaction was that HP had lost its marbles ('clueless' was how I tweeted it). Why, I wondered, did it need to pay $1.2 billion for a dying platform when it could have used the increasingly popular Android for nothing? (OK, it probably picked up a few useful patents, as well.) I also thought that it didn't have the resources to enter the extremely competitive area of smartphones."

iPad Will Beat Netbooks With "Magic" 1010

entirely_fluffy writes "In a talk intended to woo investors, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said the iPad will win over potential netbook buyers, but not because of specs or features. No, Cook said, the iPad's magical properties will seal the deal. 'The netbook is not an experience people are going to continue wanting to have,' Cook said, according to Macworld. 'When they play with the iPad and experience the magic of using it ... I have a hard time believing they're going to go for a netbook.'" Another thing that would help would be a camera and a $100 discount, but hey Magic is cool too, provided they have enough mana.

Why Flash Is Fundamentally Flawed On Touchscreen Devices 521

An anonymous reader passes along this excerpt from Roughly Drafted: "I'm a full-time Flash developer and I'd love to get paid to make Flash sites for the iPad. I want that to make sense — but it doesn't. Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen — and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about: current Flash sites could never be made to work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware. That's not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It's because of the hover or mouseover problem. ... All that Apple and Adobe could ever do is make current Flash content visible. It would be seen, but very often would not work."
United Kingdom

New Linux-Based Laptop For Computer Newbies 198

Smivs writes "The BBC is carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access. The Newcastle-Based Broadband Computer Company who developed Alex has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. The company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: 'The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux.' Mr. Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. 'People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this,' he said."

Apple Voiding Smokers' Warranties? 1078

Mr2001 writes "Consumerist reports that Apple is refusing to work on computers that have been used in smoking households. 'The Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, [the warranty has been voided] and they refuse to work on the machine "due to health risks of second hand smoke,"' wrote one customer. Another said, 'When I asked for an explanation, she said [the owner of the iMac is] a smoker and it's contaminated with cigarette smoke, which they consider a bio-hazard! I checked my Applecare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker.' Apple claims that honoring the warranty would be an OSHA violation. (Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?)"

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.