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Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone 252

theodp writes "Good artists copy, great artists steal," Steve Jobs used to say. Having launched a perfectly-timed attack against Samsung and phablets with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Leonid Bershidsky suggests that the next big thing from Apple will be a tablet-laptop a la Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. "Before yesterday's Apple [iPad] event," writes Bershidsky, "rumors were strong of an upcoming giant iPad, to be called iPad Pro or iPad Plus. There were even leaked pictures of a device with a 12.9-inch screen, bigger than the Surface Pro's 12-inch one. It didn't come this time, but it will. I've been expecting a touch-screen Apple laptop for a few years now, and keep being wrong.

Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple 408 writes Medium reports that although many startups want to design something that mimics the fit and finish of an Apple product, it's a good way to go out of business. "What happened when Apple wanted to CNC machine a million MacBook bodies a year? They bought 10k CNC machines to do it. How about when they wanted to laser drill holes in MacBook Pros for the sleep light but only one company made a machine that could drill those 20 m holes in aluminum? It bought the company that made the machines and took all the inventory. And that time when they needed batteries to fit into a tiny machined housing but no manufacturer was willing to make batteries so thin? Apple made their own battery cells. From scratch." Other things that Apple often does that can cause problems for a startup include white plastic (which is the most difficult color to mold), CNC machining at scale (too expensive), Laser drilled holes (far more difficult than it may seem), molded plastic packaging (recycled cardboard is your friend), and 4-color, double-walled, matte boxes + HD foam inserts (It's not unusual for them to cost upwards of $12/unit at scale. And then they get thrown away.). "If you see a feature on an Apple device you want to copy, try to find it on another company's product. If you do, it's probably okay to design into your product. Otherwise, lower your expectations. I assure you it'll be better for your startup."

Apple Now the World's Most Valuable Brand, Knocks Off Coca-Cola 208

cagraham writes "According to consultancy firm Interbrand's latest 'Best Global Brands' report, Apple is now the world's most valuable brand, with an estimated worth of $98.4 billion. Since Interbrand began issuing the report in 2001, Coca-Cola has previously always claimed the top spot, but fell to third place this year, behind both Apple and Google. Tech companies now make up six of the top ten brands, but only 12 of the top 200. The report comes a week after Apple reported record sales numbers, moving 9 million iPhone 5s and 5Cs during their opening weekend."

Apple Sells Nine Million iPhones Over Weekend 432

Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple managed to sell nine million iPhones over the weekend, with the company claiming its initial supply of high-end iPhone 5S units completely sold out. Apple didn't sell out of the new iPhone 5C, its plastic-cased (and cheaper) alternative to the iPhone 5S; models are still available for shipment within 24 hours from Apple's online store. And the iPhone 5S selling out is no surprise: in the weeks ahead of the new iPhones' launch, rumors persisted that the initial production run of the device was relatively small in scope, which would make it far easier for Apple to sell out of its first batch. But how many iPhone 5C units did Apple actually manage to sell? In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple would produce just over 5 million iPhone 5S units ahead of the device's launch weekend; if that number's accurate, and Apple sold every single one, it would mean Apple sold roughly 4 million iPhone 5C units in order to reach that 9-million-sold figure for both models. That's an impressive figure for any smartphone, of course, and it could quiet some of the naysayers who have spent the past several months suggesting that Apple's best years are behind it."

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."

Students At Lynn University Get iPad Minis Instead of Textbooks 192

Dave_Minsky writes "About 600 students will enter Lynn University's freshman class this year, the largest since 2007, and they will all be using iPad Minis instead of textbooks. The iPads will cost $475, saving students up to 50% of what a semester's worth of textbooks would cost, estimates Lynn. Students will be able to access core curriculum classes on their iPads that are 'enhanced with custom multimedia content,' and will come with 'at least 30 education, productivity, social and news-related iOS apps — some free and some paid for by the university.' This seems to be the beginning of a new era for American colleges. The Boca Raton university is not the first to give iPads to students instead of textbooks. Back in 2010, New Jersey-based Seton Hill University announced it would give students the tablets rather than books."

Apple Said To Be Working On a 'Watch-Like Device' 291

The WSJ reports that Apple is "experimenting with designs for a watch-like device that would perform some functions of a smartphone, according to people briefed on the effort." An excerpt: The company has discussed such a device with its major manufacturing partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., one of these people said, as part of explorations of potentially large product categories beyond the smartphone and tablet. Apple's efforts come as companies have introduced various kinds of wearable gadgets, mainly designed to measure physical activity. More sophisticated devices face big technical challenges, but also are attracting investments from large technology companies. Foxconn, as Hon Hai is also known, has been working on a spate of technologies that could be used in wearable devices, one of these people said. In particular, the Taiwan-based company has been working to address the challenges of making displays more power-efficient and working with chip manufacturers to strip down their products."

Apple's App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads; Generates $7 Billion For Developers 177

An anonymous reader writes "With the eyes of the tech world fixed on CES this week, Apple this morning conveniently decided to issue a press release announcing that the iTunes App Store has now topped over 40 billion downloads. That's an incredible feat, to be sure, but even more incredible is that nearly half of those downloads occurred in 2012. In December alone, iOS users downloaded over 2 billion applications, setting a monthly record in the process."

iPad Mini Could Retail For $250, Delete iPad 2 211

Nerval's Lobster writes "If the Apple rumor mill proves correct, the unveiling of the iPad Mini this week could mean sayonara for the iPad 2. At least, that's the prediction of Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra, who wrote in a recent note to investors that he believes Apple will remove the iPad 2 from its lineup to make room for a smaller tablet. Apple insider excerpted parts of Cihra's note Oct. 19. Of course, that's just one analyst speculating about the future plans of a company known for playing things close to the proverbial vest: Apple's Oct. 23 event in California could feature all sorts of surprises. So what do we know about the iPad Mini? First, that it might not be called the iPad Mini — that's a moniker dreamed up by the press. Second, a cheaper and smaller iPad could impact the market for e-readers and 'price-sensitive users,' according to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, which in turn could mean a challenging future for Amazon, Google, and other IT vendors marketing cheaper tablets. Third, the media—driven by unnamed sources and blurry spy photos—seems to have collectively settled on a 7.85-inch screen without a high-resolution Retina Display."

Apple iPad Mini Could Complicate Things For Windows 8 Tablets 200

Nerval's Lobster writes "Current rumor suggests that Apple is gearing up to unveil its iPad Mini Oct. 17, with invitations to media arriving Oct. 10. That's according to Fortune, which obtained the information from an unnamed Apple investor who, in turn, heard those dates from other unnamed sources. While that attribution might prove a bit too vaporous for some people, it does align with earlier reports from AllThingsD that Apple is planning to reveal a smaller iPad sometime in October. If those rumors prove accurate, the unveiling of an iPad Mini in that timeframe could prove very bad news for the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. (Gizmodo offers a pretty complete rumor rundown on the iPad Mini's possible features here.) Unlike the traditional PC market, Microsoft doesn't dominate the market for mobile-device operating systems. Windows 7 tablets never gained much of a toehold among tablet users, who prefer iPads and Android-based devices by wide margins. When it comes to Windows 8 (and Windows RT, the version of next-generation Windows for ARM architecture), Microsoft is starting out as the underdog."

Thoughts On the iPad Mini 214

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a thoughtful piece about the design of Apple's smaller iPad, which the company is expected to announce on September 12. Simply shrinking the current iPad's dimensions to a new form factor is unlikely, he says, and the bezel surrounding the display is more likely to be a cross between an iPad and an iPhone. He also discusses evidence of Apple's PR team getting the rumor mill going immediately after the announcement of Google's Nexus 7, and how Apple has probably bet on having a thinner and lighter tablet than Google, rather than worrying about a better display. Quoting: "Apple product designs are true to themselves. Each thing has proportions suited to its own nature. Consider how the iPad doesn’t look like a blown up iPhone. They share a few similar design elements — a family resemblance, if you will — but the proportions are different. The iPad has a thick bezel surrounding all four sides of the display; the iPhone does not. Why? Because you need a place to rest your thumbs while holding an iPad. ... Should not the iPad Mini fall somewhere in between? Not as close to the aspect ratio of its display as the iPad-as-we-know-it, but also not as far away from its display aspect ratio as the iPhone. You might need more thumb-rest room on the sides than you do on the iPhone, but not nearly as much as you do on the full-size iPad. If that assumption is right, the proportions of a 7.85-inch 4:3-aspect-ratio display iPad Mini are likely not the same as the proportions of the 9.7-inch 4:3-aspect-ratio display iPad."

DOJ Says iPhone Is So Secure They Can't Crack It 454

zacharye writes "In the five years since Apple launched the iPhone, the popular device has gone from a malicious hacker's dream to law enforcement's worst nightmare. As recounted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review blog, a Justice Department official recently took the stage at the DFRWS computer forensics conference in Washington, D.C. and told attendees that the beefed up security in iOS is now so good that it has become a nightmare for law enforcement."

How Will Amazon, Barnes & Noble Survive the iPad Mini? 354

redletterdave writes "For about a year, and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first 'iPad Mini' next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?"

Objective-C Comes of Age 437

New submitter IdleThoughts writes "Sometimes it takes a long time to spark a revolution. Long the ugly duckling of programming languages, iOS' Objective-C passed C# in the 'TIOBE Programming Community Index this month and seems on a trajectory to overtake C++ in the next few. It was invented in the early 1980s by Brad Cox and Tom Love, with the idea of creating 'Software Integrated Circuits' and heavily influenced by Smalltalk — yet another legacy from Xerox PARC, along with desktop GUIs, ethernet and laser printers. It was adopted early on by Steve Jobs' NeXTStep, the grand-daddy of all that is now OS X. It had to wait, however, for the mobile device revolution to have its day, being ideally suited to the limited resources on portable devices. It's still being actively developed by Apple and others, sporting the new automatic reference counting and static analysis in the Clang compiler. It turns out it has supported dynamic patching of code in applications all along. What more surprises does this venerable language have up its sleeve?"

Running Great Britain? There's an App For That! 165

judgecorp writes "Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron will get a personalised iPad app to help him run the country. The 'government dashboard' will include health waiting list figures, crime statistics, economic statistics and a real-time news feed. Cameron is a committed Apple user — but British members of Parliament have only been allowed iPads in the House of Commons since March 2011."

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