First Looks at the Stunning New iPad2 [Gallery]

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Ready for iPad2. Photo Credit: Coldjerky
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Ready for iPad2. Photo Credit: Coldjerky

Don’t be fooled by the photo above — it was drizzling and bleary Wednesday as the Apple universe converged on San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where Steve Jobs announced the imminent arrival of iPad2.

Based on the design enhancements and new specs of the latest magical device out of Cupertino, Apple, Inc. ought to enjoy sunny days and clear skies as far as the eye can see.

Finer Threads Coming to Mac Mail with Lion OS

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OS X Lion will usher in a new look for the Mac’s native email client, with the company promising even better organization of email threads into what it calls “conversations.”

The new Mail will automatically group messages from the same conversation — even if the subject changes along the way. Clicking a “conversation” in the inbox will reveal a streamlined feed of individual messages in chronological order, which can be easily filed or deleted individually or by an entire conversation.

Users of Mail in iOS will already be familiar with the functionality, which is presumably being brought to the desktop with improved file coordination on the developer side.

Shareholder Group, Labor Advocates Back Call for CEO Succession Plan at Apple

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An Apple shareholders' proposal presses for CEO succession plan transparency.
An Apple shareholders' proposal presses for CEO succession plan transparency.

Institutional Shareholders Service, an independent proxy-advising service, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America have endorsed a shareholders’ proposal to require Apple, Inc. to disclose a succession plan for Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, according to a report Thursday at Bloomberg’s Businessweek.

Apple shareholders will consider the proposal, which would mandate Apple’s board disclose a CEO succession plan annually, at the next shareholders’ meeting on February 23.

Jobs announced his most recent medical leave of absence from the company on January 17, which led to new rounds of speculation in the media and blogosphere as to the Apple CEO’s health and his long-term prospects for continuing to lead the giant technology enterprise.

Tim Cook, Apple’sChief Operating Officer, has taken over responsibility for day-to-day operations in Jobs’ absence, but the board has offered no guidance as to who might take over in the event Jobs is unable to return to work.

The Daily: Not Much Bang for Murdoch’s Buck

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The Daily's tech bells and whistles can't save if from empty-calorie content.
The Daily's tech bells and whistles can't save it from empty-calorie content.

The Daily, the made-for-iPad product from Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., made a much-anticipated world debut Wednesday at the Guggenheim in New York. News Corp marketing promised “a package that’s smart, attractive and entertaining.”

Too bad it delivers an experience that’s pedestrian, plain and vaguely creepy. Not to mention prone to crashing.

Al Jazeera English Live – Today’s iOS App Download Recommendation

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The one news network that can be counted upon for on-the-ground reporting in the ever-volatile Middle East is Al Jazeera — the Arabic language’s answer to FOX, CNN and the BBC.

Fortunately, for those who do not speak or understand Arabic, the preeminent Middle Eastern news network funds a team of English speaking journalists who broadcast under the network’s imprimatur, and whose content is available to Apple iOS device users via the free app, Al Jazeera English Live.

More than a million people could march in Egypt Tuesday, a response to calls dating back two weeks, when young dissidents posted a protest event on Facebook in the wake of the ousting of Tunisia’s authoritarian strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

As the situation in Egypt began to heat up seriously Monday, with the government systematically shutting down ISP and mobile communications services, as the country’s military refused to fire upon the citizenry protesting dictator Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year rule, and his Vice President indicated a willingness to “speak” with the opposition — there’s no time like the present to try and keep abreast of events as they unfold.

UPDATE: this post has been edited from it’s original text to reflect a more accurate depiction of Al Jazeera’s English-language broadcasting.

Macworld Presenter Had to Jailbreak iPad for Supersession Talk

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Macworld staffers Christopher Breen and Ben Long wowed attendees at iPad Supersessions during Macworld 2011 last week, illustrating their talks with pristine images projected directly from their iPad’s screen interface.

Breen revealed their dirty how-to secret, which had been the subject of some oblique chatter in the Expo’s Media Center after their talk, in a post Monday on the Macworld website: they used a jailbroken iPad and “illicit” software to accomplish the feat.

In his web posting Breen wrote “only Apple [has] the secret for projecting an [iPad’s] entire interface,” suggesting there may be a method for projecting images from an iOS device using “display out” data transmitted to a standard projector without jailbreaking. But so far as anyone interested knows, Apple treats that as proprietary information.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, however, and into the breach, as usual, goes Cydia and redsn0w.

Digital Art at Macworld – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly [Macworld 2011]

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Given the explosion of visual art inspired by mobile devices running Mac iOS and apps developed to help artists create work on them, it came as a bit of a surprise to see the way Macworld organizers chose to display digital art at the 2011 Conference and Expo.

The Expo’s art was placed in “digital art galleries” displayed on 27″ Samsung wide-screen TVs housed in unobtrusive kiosks, dispersed in the cavernous hallways of the 2nd and 3rd floors, where only a portion of the conference’s attendees — media personnel and those who purchased something other than Expo Only tickets — was likely to see it.

This is curious in the light of recent attention given to the digital creations of artists producing work on the Mac platform, which in years past could be seen framed, on brightly-lit wall space, in the middle of well-trafficked concourses.

Click on images in the gallery above to see artist and title information, as well as the curious distortion effects rendered in iPhone photographs of art (made, in many cases, ON iPhones) displayed in a digital TV slideshow.

Why Macworld Is Better Without Apple [Macworld 2011]

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Macworld is still crowded, fun, despite Apple's absence.
Macworld is still crowded and fun, despite Apple's absence.

SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Two years ago, when Apple announced the company would skip the Macworld Conference and Expo after 2009, some took the news like a punch to the gut — and many wondered if the twenty-five year-old event would survive.

But without Apple totally dominating the event, the show has become what it was always supposed to be — a place for the wider Apple community to meet and mingle.

Hello Dolly! Put Time Machine Backups in the Cloud with Dolly Drive

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Dolly Drive, a new cloud-based storage solution specially tailored to Mac specifications, launched Thursday from the Indie Spotlight at Macworld in San Francisco and looks to be one of the smartest plays — and best values — to come out of this year’s show.

Remote storage accessible from anywhere, any time, Dolly Drive is designed to work exclusively and specifically with Apple’s Time Machine, giving Mac users an inexpensive, seamless method for creating secure, redundant (in some cases, perhaps, primary) backups that can be accessed to restore digital files from any location with an Internet connection.

With tri-level security including authentication encryption, data transmission over secure tunnel and multi-leveled, complex authentication protocols for third-party access to data at Dolly data centers, a Mac user can feel confident in the security of data stored for as little as $10 per month for 250GB. Other pricing plans prove Dolly Drive is serious about delivering value for a service that should be attractive to computer users of any sophistication level.

No other remote storage solution we’re aware of is engineered to work directly through Time Machine, nor is any so dedicated to serving Mac users.

This is definitely one of the nicest finds we’ve seen at Macworld 2011 and well worth further exploration.

Sinbad Pulls a Huge Crowd to Macworld Keynote [Macworld 2011]

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Here’s a panoramic pic of the huge crowd that just went into the main auditorium at San Francisco’s Moscone Center West to hear what the comedian Sinbad has to say about, well, Macs presumably.

As much as I wish I could be inside getting the benefit of the big guy’s wisdom and a few yuucks beside, I’m trying to gather info on a few of the pretty interesting products we’re seeing at Macworld this year.

So I’ll have to leave it to others of my colleagues to fill readers in on what Sinbad had to allow at his keynote today.

But I thought you’d be pleased to know he can still draw a crowd.

Win $1000 at Macworld with Ask Local, iMacworld Apps [Macworld 2011]

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — If you’re goin’ to San Francisco, flowers in your hair are always a nice touch but this week the iMacworld app on your Apple mobile device could win you $1000.

The free app, available on the iTunes App Store, will not only help you get around the giant Conference and Expo happening Thursday – Saturday at San Francisco’s sprawling Moscone West convention center, but it also has interesting tips and information valuable to locals and visitors alike.

Through a promotional tie-in to another free app called AskLocal — one lucky user is going to win $1000 in a cleverly designed Treasure hunt.

Familiarity with Ask Local will be an advantage to anyone hoping to win the prize, according to a message that greets visitors to the Community button on the iMacworld main page, so if you’re headed to Macworld, you’ve got more to learn about than you thought.

Apple Products Are a Fine Fit for Enterprise, Says IT Guru [Macworld 2011]

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Despite the demise of the xServe, Apple products can be and are a good fit in the enterprise, according to John Welch of the Zimmerman Agency, who spoke on Apple in the Enterprise at the Macworld Industry Forum Wednesday at Macworld 2011.

First of all Apple is not an enterprise company — it is not Microsoft, not Cisco, not IBM.

But Apple doesn’t need to be an enterprise company to be a source of solid products that work well in the Enterprise, said Welch, who spoke from 20 years of experience deploying Apple products in business.

Macworld Editor’s “Secrets” for Making Predictions About Apple

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 –There’s no great secret to understanding what Apple has up its sleeves, according to Jason Snell, editor-in-chief of Macworld magazine, who spoke to attendees about “How Apple Does It” at the Macworld Conference and Expo Industry Forum Wednesday morning.

Anyone who makes a habit of keeping up with technology news understands one of the longest running games in the business involves predicting what Apple will do next.

Despite its reputation as an obsessively secret company that consistently produces products no one ever thought they needed until Steve Jobs invented them, Snell described Apple as a consistent, rational company that doesn’t do anything unexpected — and doesn’t rely on crazy mind control to achieve its success.

From the company’s very founding, the roles Jobs & his cofounder Steve Wozniak played suggested Apple’s future: Jobs understood marketing and Woz was technically brilliant at making complex technology work. One of them understood products and the other understood technology; the way they worked together would become Apple’s greatest strength and one day set their company apart from all others in American business.

DIY iPad Mount Takes Artist for a Ride [Gallery]

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The Artsfish iPad Exercycle

You don’t have to be an artist to create one of the coolest DIY Apple accessories around, but if you want to use your iPad while working out on your exercycle, stairmaster or treadmill at home it couldn’t hurt.

Of course, you could drop a lot of dough on a commercial device that may or may not perform up to expectations in the real world, or even import top gear that looks like something out of a sci-fi fantasy.

But why not look around the house for a few simple materials that, with a bit of creative ingenuity, you can employ to do the job just as well?

Hugh Hefner Tweets Uncensored Playboy Coming to iPad

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Hugh Hefner, founder of the Grandaddy of all girlie mags, Playboy, tweeted Tuesday evening that an “uncensored” Playboy is coming to iPad.

Given that the Playboy website’s metadata “description” reads: “Nude girls, hot girls, naked women and sexy pics with nude girls as well as videos of hot girls posing nude or in sexy positions celebrating girls and women …” — Hef’s tweet would appear to be in direct contradiction of Apple’s prohibition against sexually provocative material in apps designed to run on iOS devices.

Maybe Hef knows something we don’t know; perhaps he’s just hoping to take advantage of Steve Jobs being on medical leave. Or maybe Hef is just a little more hip to the buzz generating capabilities of Twitter than an 84 year-old guy ought to be.

European Publishers Squawking Over Apple Pickpocket Rules

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UPDATE: The scheduled launch of News Corp.’s iPad app The Daily, referred to in the post below, has been put off — “for weeks, not months” — according to a report by All Things Digital, the Wall Street Journal‘s tech blog, which is owned by News Corp. The launch delay may be related to issues with the recurring subscription functionality of iOS 4.3 (referred to in the post), according to the All Things Digital report.

Apple may be trying to pickpocket subscription revenue from European publishers, according to separate reports issued Friday.

Under new rules regarding publishers’ apps running on iPad, print subscribers to European newspapers will no longer have access to iOS apps allowing them to read content for free on their iPads, according to the reports. By offering free apps to print subscribers, newspapers avoid giving Apple 30% of the revenue they would earn by requiring subscribers to pay for access to content through apps sold in the App Store.

The supposed restrictions come amid speculation over the kinds of subscription functionality the next iteration of iOS firmware may support. The iOS 4.3 beta was seeded to developers this week.

Some believe the next iOS build will permit recurring App Store software subscriptions, a prototype for which could be the rumored joint venture between Apple and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., The Daily , which could be the topic of an event scheduled Jan. 19, at which rumors have Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs appearing together.

Thus far, no similar complaints have issued from US publishers and it seems strange, at best, Apple would feel entitled either to a cut of publishers’ print subscription revenue or to dictate whether publishers’ had to charge for apps developed for the App Store.

[AppleInsider]

AmpliTube Morphs into Fender-centric Rig for iOS Devices

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IK Multimedia, makers of the highly-acclaimed tone-modeling app AmpliTube, have released new iOS software bringing legendary Fender sound to musicians playing and recording with Apple mobile devices.

Available as a standalone tone solution or as in-app add-ons to current AmpliTube users, AmpliTube Fender lets iOS mobile rockers dial up tones modeled on a roster of classic pre-CBS amplifiers including the ’59 Bassman LTD and the 1965 Deluxe Reverb and Twin Reverb, as well as the Super-Sonic, and the Pro Junior.

Players can practice using the built-in SpeedTrainer, which allows up to 50 backing tracks — importable directly from the iPod library on the iOS device or from a computer — to be slowed down to half-time or speeded up to double-time with no loss in pitch fidelity. 36 tone presets can be named, saved and called up on the fly, and each step in the tone chain — from stompbox to amp head to cabinet to mic — is individually selectable, with fully operational controls making for a tweaker’s paradise.

Registration Discounts Ending as MacTech Boot Camp Nears Sellout

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Early registration discounts expire Monday for MacTech Boot Camp, the one day immersive event for Mac consultants and uber-geeks held at the start of the MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco on January 26.

With seminars covering topics such as:

  • Marketing in a Community
  • Client Documentation, Passwords and Records
  • Troubleshooting Hardware
  • Networking Basics and Troubleshooting
  • Printing Setup and Troubleshooting (Wifi, USB, Bluetooth, and Wired)
  • iOS Support
  • Windows on the Mac Options
  • Viruses and Security

and more, MacTech Boot Camp offers a rich vein of resources designed to enhance the credentials of any Mac IT consultant offering services to the home, SOHO (small office home office) and SMB markets.

Those looking to obtain Apple certification may also sign up for a study session and exam prior to the Boot Camp on January 25.

For additional details and a full program listing see the Boot Camp website and use the phrase “pre-registration” to take advantage of the $100 registration discount.

T-Mobile Comes After Verizon, at&t With New Ad

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Details may remain sketchy on the special event T-Mobile has scheduled for sometime in the coming weeks but the #4 carrier in the US wasted no time cranking up a new ad that riffs on the old “upstarts are cool – Big Guys are stodgy” meme that Apple has used for years to poke fun at Microsoft.

The ad should start running on US television networks next week, according to a report at TechCrunch.

Sprint, T-Mobile Jump on Special Event Bandwagon

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Sprint and T-Mobile each announced Wednesday special media events set to take place in New York in coming weeks. Neither carrier is expected to announce anything related to Apple or its mobile devices, though the Sprint invitation sent to some tech industry journalists did allude to an “industry first” up its sleeve.

Sprint’s event is scheduled for February 7, while details on the T-Mobile announcement were unavailable at press time.

With the same uncanny knack for odd timing that led to the launch of the much-ballyhooed “iPhone killer” Palm Pre being completely overshadowed by Apple’s release of iPhone 3G in June 2009, Sprint’s event comes both well in the wake of Tuesday’s big Verizon iPhone announcement and just days before its widely-anticipated launch on the #1 carrier in the US.

Speculation as to which bright and shiny things Sprint might use to draw attention away from iPhone and its two largest competitors seems centered on potential new webOS devices such as the Pixi 2 or Topaz tablet, but which “industry first” either of those devices would bring to the table is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps the star of Sprint’s show, illusionist David Blaine will transform the company’s stock chart into something that hasn’t flat-lined after doing a Dive of Death.

Verizon-ready iPhone Cases Available Before Feb 10 Launch

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Come launch day on February 10, Verizon’s iPhone customers needn’t worry about the 3rd party accessory market being ready to wrest a few dollars more from them in the name of style and security.

iLuv a premier provider of accessories for the Apple smartphone, is all set to launch a new line of stylish cases and protective films for the CDMA iPhone 4, the dearest of which will set consumers back almost $50. Nine cases and two kinds of protective films should be available at leading retailers and iLuv’s online store by late January.

And if you can’t wait that long, be sure to check out the Impactband from BaseOneLabs. They were prescient enough to design their case with 3mm of extra room above and below the volume and rocker switch, which allows plenty of room for access to the CDMA version’s moved left-side buttons.

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10 Years After – iTunes Then and Now – The Only Game in Town

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Steve Jobs introduced iTunes ten years ago this week, on January 10, 2001 at the MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, where he proclaimed a belief in the “revolution” of “digital music on computers.”

At the time, Macs still ran on OS 9 and iTunes was all about “ripping audio CDs onto your computer disk;” tens of billions of dollars in digital music sales were yet a glimmer in Jobs’ eye.

At the time, iTunes launched as a competitor to existing products from companies such as Real Networks and Microsoft, and Jobs admitted at MacWorld that his company was “late to the game.”

iTunes, of course, quickly became the only game in town, as Apple soon launched OS X and seamlessly integrated its music software with iPod, the line of portable music players that “changed everything” and helped Apple become the tech industry powerhouse it is today.

The VeriPhone – It’s Good Enough for Woz

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While many tech pundits equivocate over the Verizon iPhone now that it’s finally almost here, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has no qualms about plunking down for another device on a new network.

“I’m definitely going to get one,” Wozniak said. “I always have at least one Verizon phone on me at all times, just in case I’m in one of those bad areas. You can find those areas where Veriozn doesn’t work and AT&T does, but in truth, it’s usually the opposite.”

“And I also love the mobile hotspot,” Wozniak added. “I hope it’s the standard $30 a month. I wish it was free like the Palm Pre, because that made the Pre a cheaper Mi-Fi. Anyway so I’m expecting that it’s no big new iPhone, not even a new color. It’s just going to be on the Verizon network.”

Wozniak is not your average cell phone user, however. Aside from being far more fabulously wealthy than 99% of the people in the US, his Verizon iPhone will bring the number in his phone holster up to four.

“I’ll have three activated AT&T iPhones, so if the battery runs down I have a spare,” Wozniak said. “And I’m in Europe a lot of times, so maybe one of them will be Verizon, one of them will be AT&T. So I’ll have two AT&T, one AT&T with the international plan, and one Verizon if I need it. Although the tethering’s only to a computer. Although maybe I can give one number up and give it to Verizon. And I’ll keep the Droid X. And I’ll probably give up the Palm Pre, because I now have another Mi-Fi.”

It’s nice to be a man with options, eh?

[PC Magazine]

Verizon’s iPhone: Some Things to Think About Before February 10

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The day millions have waited for finally arrived Tuesday when Verizon announced it would begin offering customers Apple’s iPhone.

Well, perhaps more accurately, the day millions have waited for will finally arrive on February 10, when Apple iPhone users in the US get their first opportunity to sample the services of a network other than at&t, which has enjoyed the longest reign of exclusivity on the planet as the sole US carrier for iPhone since its launch in the summer of 2007.

Some say pent-up demand for iPhone on Verizon could “demolish” at&t’s business.

“I can tell you that the number one question I’ve gotten is ‘when will the iPhone work on Verizon’,” Apple COO Tim Cook said Tuesday at the launch announcement in New York — and some have predicted the boon to Verizon’s bottom line from iPhone sales will be massive.