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четвер, 15 грудня 2011 р.

Employees rate Apple 10th best company to work for

Apple has cracked the top 10 list of the best companies to work for, alongside fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, according to a new employee survey.

Glassdoor.com released the results of its annual 2012 Employees' Choice awards, with Apple garnering a "Satisfied" rating of 3.9 out of 5, as pointed out by MacNN. Apple placed 20th in last year's survey with a score of 3.7 and came in 22nd in 2010.

Consulting firm Bain & Company took top honors, followed by McKinsey & Company. Facebook, which won the top spot last year, slipped to third place with a score of 4.3, while Google came in fifth with a score of 5.0.

Bain employees told Glassdoor that the sense of teamwork at the company made it the best company to work for, while Facebook employees said they enjoyed the deep "entrepreneurial environment" of the company.

The site used a 20-question company survey to determine employees' attitudes on "Career Opportunities, Communication, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Morale, Recognition & Feedback, Senior Leadership, Work/Life Balance, and Fairness & Respect" for over 65,000 firms.

Apple has been rapidly growing its workforce in order to keep up with its expanding business. As of September, the company had 60,400 full-time employees, up from 49,400 in fiscal 2010. Nearly 60 percent of Apple's workers are part of its thriving global retail business.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in June that the company has "grown like a weed" and has struggled to find space for its employees in Cupertino, Calif., and neighboring cities. The company is planning a massive circular spaceship-like office building in Cupertino that will house up to 13,000 of its employees.
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Apple Developing High Resolution MacBook Pro Display?

Apple has begun developing a MacBook Pro version of its high resolution retina display, though this one will bump resolutions to an impressive 2880x1800 pixels.

Currently the most common high resolution monitors available in laptops is 1920x1080 pixels, with Apple's top of the line options maxing out at 1680x1050. The new super high-res displays will be available some time in mid 2012 Digitimes reports.

It was initially claimed that Apple would also be upgrading the iPad 3's display to a higher resolution 2048x1536 panel, but rumours circulating now show that it seems likely the fruity firm won't meet this expectation. Now it's thought it'll end up with a middle of the road option, around 1600x1200.

Apple initially introduced the retina display for its iPhone 4 in 2010, upping the resolution from the previous generation's 480 x 360 pixels to a much more impressive 960 x 480. The idea behind this move - and the reason for naming it 'retina display' - was because Steve Jobs said a resolution that high on a screen that size, would be the point where the human eye no longer noticed an increase in pixel count.

It's nice to see some Apple news based around the company improving its products and not simply focusing on suing others for their developments.

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Has Samsung robbed Apple of its cool?

Late last month, Samsung released an ad for its new line of Galaxy S II phones that mocked iPhone fans who queue up for the latest model. The ad portrayed iPhone users waiting in an interminable line in New York as smug hipsters, and featured one of the best lines in a commercial in recent memory:

“I could never get a Samsung,” says a bearded young man sporting oversized headphones and a MacBook Pro perched on his lap. “I’m creative.”

“Dude, you’re a barista,” says his dismissive friend.

Here’s the ad, in case you’re one of the four people left in the U.S. who hasn’t seen it.

Of course, it would take a lot more than some Madison Avenue snark to knock the bloom off Apple’s rose, right? After all, Apple’s one of the country’s most-admired brands. Besides, no one lines up for Samsung’s phones . . .

Well, apparently the Samsung campaign is having an effect. Phillp Elmer-DeWitt reports Fortune’s Apple 2.0 blog that Samsung’s “buzz” has passed that of Apple’s iPhone. The report is based on a study by YouGov, which tracks how the public perceives brands.
In other words, the ad may be influencing the wrong people. On the other hand, there’s also more room for sales growth in this older demographic – presuming you can convince them a smartphone would make their lives better.

I’m not sure folks who’d line up for an iPhone are not going to do so because Samsung’s made a clever ad mocking them. And I don’t think the ad is going to cause anyone to say, “I don’t want to be like those hipsters — I’m buying a Samsung smartphone!”

I’d be very curious to see how YouGov statistics for younger respondents.
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Opinion: Why Apps devs choose Apple's iPhone 5

Developers, developers, developers: you're going to make more money building apps for Apple [AAPL] and iOS than you'll gather building for Android, claims Flurry Analytics. It seems no amount of (could it be?) reality distortion on the part of Google chairman, Eric Schmidt, can transform this environment, at least, not yet.

[ABOVE: Samsung's latest Apple cult-bashing ad. I'm not convinced Android offers "tons of places" to buy movies."]

When users don't use

MobiLens says that for the three months ending in October, Android devices represented 46.3 percent of US smartphone subscribers in contrast to 28.1 percent using iOS. Apple claims over 250 million iOS devices have been activated in contrast to Google's claimed 200 million Android devices.

Flurry's findings show that despite Android's larger marketshare -- NPD says the OS commands 53 percent of the US smartphone market -- when it comes down to apps users aren't especially interested. Granted, Google's achieving a claimed billion app downloads each month, but Apple sees 18 times that.

So, right now, we can see that apps use on the Android OS is dwarfed by that of iOS, despite which Schmidt told France's Le Web conference that within six months, Android would be the first platform developers will build apps for.
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Apple: Morgan Stanley Says Buy Now; Bullish On iPhone

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty issued a “tactical’ buy recommendation on Apple shares this morning, an indication that she thinks the stock will rise in absolute terms over the next 45 days, with a confidence level of at least 80%.

The move, more or less the equivalent of an old-fashioned table-pounding affirmation of her bullish stance on the stock, comes in tandem with a release of the bullish results of a survey Morgan conducted that shows strong demand for for the iPhone.

“Apple is a must-own tech hardware stock into early 2012,” she writes, asserting that shares should get a lift from positive retail and supply chain data points over the holidays, Q4 earnings in January and anticipation of the iPad 3 launch will be near-term catalysts for the stock.

Huberty notes that her survey finds that U.S. demand for the iPhone in calendar Q4 is stronger than expected, and could reach 31-36 million units, above her current forecast of 30 million units; she also says that consumers expects to buy even more iPhone in the March quarter than in the December quarter, a sequential improvement not in the Street’s numbers (or hers); and she finds that tablet demand remains strong and that iPad sales should beat estimates next year.

Huberty says her survey finds that 30% of handset buyers in the U.S. plan to buy an iPhone, almost double the current 16% of handset owners who use iPhones today. On tablets, she notes that purchase intentions are more than triple the installed base, while pointing out that unit share is likely to fall slightly due to the Amazon Kindle Fire.

“A cheaper iPad could significantly increase demand, mostly from new adopters,” she adds. “If Apple lowered the price
of the cheapest iPad 2 by $100, 9% of respondents indicated they are very likely to purchase it, boosting overall US demand by 22 million units.”
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Rebecca Black Tops Apple's IPad in Annual Google Search Ranking

Rebecca Black, whose song “Friday” inspired cheers -- and jeers -- on the Web, was the fastest rising search term globally on Google Inc. (GOOG) this year, according to the company’s annual review of popular queries.

Songstress Black edged out “Google+,” the company’s social-networking service, in the yearly “Zeitgeist” ranking of terms with the most growth. Next up: Ryan Dunn, a star of Paramount Pictures’ “Jackass” movies who died in a car crash, followed by Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty of murdering her daughter, Google said. Apple Inc. (AAPL) products and its co- founder Steve Jobs are among terms rounding out the top 10.

Google’s 11-year-old ranking offers a glimpse of what was most often on people’s minds -- and in their search queries -- throughout the year. Mountain View, California-based Google is the most widely used Web-search tool.

“When looking at the data, it is fascinating to see the cultural fads and trends that took over the globe, from cupcakes (making top food lists in over a dozen countries) to the Dukan diet and high-profile weddings,” Google said in a blog posting.

The only other musical artist in the top 10 was Adele. Jobs, who died this year, was No. 9.

When it came to news in the U.S., the fastest rising term was Hurricane Irene, followed by Occupy, in reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement that coalesced around dismay with the financial industry. The next-fastest rising news searches focused on Japan’s earthquake and nuclear disaster, the yet-to- be-released iPhone 5, Libya, Apple’s iPad 2 and Osama bin Laden.

Apple dominated the list of top technology search in the U.S. Its iCloud, the Web storage system, was No. 1, followed by OSX Lion, the operating system.

Debt ceiling was No. 1 for economic issues in the U.S, followed by U.S. GDP (gross domestic product), recession 2011, inflation 2011 and U.S. economy 2011.
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Fake ID Apple App? Bob Casey Says 'No'

At the urging of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Apple killed an application for iPhones and iPads that allowed users to pose for and create their own driver's licenses, functionally making fake IDs for underage citizens.

In a letter to Apple Monday, Casey decried the "Driver's License" app and the ease in which it could make an ID for counterfeiters and those underage. Apple complied with the senator and removed it from its App Store.

“I urged Apple to take the responsible step of removing this dangerous app, and I’m pleased that the app is no longer available in the store,” Casey said in a statement. “As Pennsylvania and states across the country deal with the rising problem of identity theft, tools that facilitate breaking the law should not be available to potential criminals.”

Created by DriversEd.com, an education website that coordinates driver education programs in 18 states—but not in Pennsylvania—the app was described as a "fun glimpse of what it would look like to have a driver's license of your own from any of the fifty states, but a deliberately inaccurate version," according to a statement.

The company defended itself by saying it implemented several security measures to prevent counterfeit licenses—including only producing low-resolution images, neglecting to duplicate any state security features and prominently showing "MOCK by DriversEd.com" on the created image. The program was also displayed in the website's "GameZone," and featured images of a man picking his nose and cat posing to illustrate its light-hearted origins.

DriversEd.com also drew comparisons between its app and a recent Democratic National Committee ad that depicts Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney on a $10,000 bill. Both are produced at 72 dpi to restrict counterfeiting.

Still, Apple CEO Tim Cook immediately acquiesced with Casey's request and removed the app.

Casey drove the point home in his letter:

"While DriversEd.com markets the app as a fun game, it can also be used in a way that allows criminals to create a new identity, steal someone else’s identity, or permit underage youth to purchase alcohol or tobacco illegally."

For more information, these webpages provided interesting takes on the story.

ZDNet.com—"With no apparent legal leg to stand on, Senator Bob Casey pressures Apple to remove app"

Akron News Network—"Makers of Fake ID App Defend Themselves"
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Apple iPhone 4S Review

Apple’s newest iteration of the iPhone was greeted with mixed reactions from the market. A lot has been said, both praises and disappointments, about what it should have been in the first place. Since the local launch of the iPhone 4S with Globe and Smart is just a couple of days away, let me share with you what I think of this phone. Check out our iPhone 4S review after the jump.



Prior to this, I was using an iPhone 4 and have actually decided not to get the iPhone 4S (was able to get the iPhone 4 free last year with Globe in exchange for a 3-year contract). Do read on our iPhone 4 review from last year to get a better perspective before reading on.

Frankly, I did not see any significant compelling reason to upgrade. I share this same advice to folks who asked me and even on TV guesting and interviews. The opportunity to upgrade came by accident so I accepted it thinking I also needed to actually use and review the handset in order to be more reasonable with my earlier conclusion.



But before I go there, let me walk you thru what the iPhone 4S offers and how is it different from the iPhone 4.

Better Hardware Configuration.

Twice the processor, more storage, better camera and faster connectivity — that’s what the iPhone 4S added to the table. It now sports dual-core processors that was used on the iPad 2 as well as options for a 64GB storage (with 16Gb and 32GB still in the menu) and HSDPA connectivity that can do up to 14.4Mbps.



There’s no LTE or even HSPA+ here so the iPhone 4S will not really maximize the speeds of the HSPA+ network of Smart and Globe.

Apple also bumped up the camera on the phone to 8MP with option to record video up to 1080p full HD. More on the camera quality and HD features later.

For good measure, they also added Bluetooth 4.0. No NFC support here, a technology that seems to be the trend now.

Still Same Old Design.

The iPhone 4S sports the same old design as its predecessor so there’s nothing to really worth mentioning in the design department.



Yes, the design and solid construction of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is already impressive but folks like me still want bigger screen. A 4.3-inch display seems to be the minimum size when it comes to flagship handsets so the 3.5″ on the iPhone 4S feels like in the mid-range category already.

And while the design of the iPhone 4S already screams premium craftsmanship, a little bit more screen real estate would have been great (catching up to the times, eh?). Nevertheless, the 960×640 screen resolution is among the best resolution we’ve ever seen on most handsets (which normally is in the 480×800) this size.

Well hello there, Siri!

One of the purportedly best features of the iPhone 4S is the personal assistant function that’s built into the OS which is called Siri.



What makes it different from any other dictation, voice control or voice recognition software is Siri’s ability to understand semantics a little bit better than the rest. That means, you don’t have to say commands in a specific structure so it can understand you. The best part is that Siri actually has a sense of humor and personality.

Siri isn’t new either. It’s been a stand-alone app for about a year in the iTunes App Store (where few people noticed or ever used it). Apple bought the company and yanked Siri from the Store to make it part of iOS5. It’s curious though that Apple would not make Siri available to the iPhone 4.
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ITC delays decision in Apple/HTC case…again

The International Trade Commission was supposed to rule on Apple's request to bar HTC phones in the U.S. on December 6. Then December 14. Now it's December 19.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced it will deliver its ruling on Apple’s complaint against smartphone maker HTC on December 19th. The delay marks the second time the agency has postponed its ruling this month: the decision was supposed to have been handed down on December 6, and was then postponed to December 14. Now, it appears the industry will have to wait until next Monday to learn whether Apple or HTC wins an early shot in the companies’ potentially “thermonuclear” battle over Android.

The ITC has not announced any reasons for the repeated delays in the ruling. Industry speculation has centered on Apple and HTC trying to work out a last minute deal that would see the complaint withdrawn before the ITC issued a ruling. However, one contact with sources close to the ITC has implied off the record that reasons may be mundane and and related to the availability of ITC personnel.

The ruling’s stakes are high for both Apple and HTC. The complaint dates back to March 2010 when Apple sued HTC, alleging the company’s smartphones copy elements of the iPhone—the suit is largely seen as a proxy for Apple taking on Google directly over Android. Apple is asking the ITC bar HTC from importing infringing products into the United States—a move that could do major damage to HTC’s phone business. HTC and Apple have since engaged in a number of suits and counter-suits—including HTC going after Apple on the basis of patents it acquired from S3 Graphics and infringed on two Apple patents.

HTC has vowed to fight the infringement finding, but given that the suits have been in process for over a year and a half it’s likely both HTC and Google are ready with workarounds should HTC be found to infringe on Apple patents, although there’s no telling how effective that workaround might be or whether HTC could roll it out in time to avoid a negative impact on its phone business. If Apple loses the ruling, it will continue to pursue patent infringement claims against HTC, even though potentially-infringing HTC handsets will still be on sale on the United States.
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Apple mulls new chip boffinry HQ in Israel

Apple is planning to set up a research and development centre in Israel, the first ever outside of its Cupertino HQ.

Loose-lipped sources told Israeli business daily Globes that the fruity firm had lined up Aharon Aharon, a 30-year veteran of the technology sector who has worked for companies like IBM and Siemens, to head up the R&D facility, which will focus on semiconductors.

Israel is a hotbed of semiconductor development, with the nation's universities spawning many chip-oriented startups that have worked with or been acquired by major silicon companies.

Don't forget: much of the foundation work on Intel's latest processors, particularly those aimed at mobile devices, was done by the company's Israeli teams.

Apple has its eye on developments in the country, since it's also rumoured to be in talks to snap up Anobit, an Israeli flash controller company.

The new R&D centre will be located in Herzliya, Israel's Silicon Valley, where Anobit is also headquartered. Earlier this week, a report in Hebrew daily business paper Calcalist suggested the iPhone and iPad maker was interested in snapping up Anobit for around $400 to $500 million.

Although Apple is notorious for wanting total control over all components that go into its hardware, the firm is usually quite happy to have other manufacturers making those bits and pieces to their very specific specifications.

However, it's currently busy muddying the water with Samsung - its long-term partner in chip-making and memory-building - by taking the South Korean biz to court here, there and everywhere over its smartphones.

So it's no surprise that Apple might like its very own chips and flash at some point, thereby removing all Samsung stuff from its products. The acquisition of Anobit may have something of the anti-Samsung strategy in it in another sense as well, since Samsung is reportedly a customer and partner of the Israeli firm.
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Maxis Optimistic Of Sustaining Apple iPhone Sales

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 (Bernama) -- Maxis Bhd is optimistic of sustaining its sales for the latest Apple iPhone 4S despite tough competition from Celcom and DiGi.

Chief executive officer of Maxis, Sandip Das, said Maxis had enjoyed the privilege of being the only network provider to distribute iPhone since it was first launched in 2009 and now had clearly lay the foundation to attract more Apple users.

"If you go back to 2009, Apple gave Maxis the sole right to distribute the phones and now has given them also (Celcom and DiGi). This move is actually positive for the industry as there will be more iPhone users.

"The issue here is not the iPhone but it's all about having a Maxis iPhone.

"We are confident on having the same number of sales, given that our plans are very customer-oriented and attractive," he told a media briefing in conjunction with the launch here.

Sandip, however, declined to reveal the figures for the previous iPhone sales and the number of iPhone 4S it expected to sell.

iPhone 4S, the first Apple gadget to be released in Malaysia after the demise of its founder Steve Jobs, will be launched and delivered to users who had made the bookings and join the queue at midnight tonight.

Maxis is also concurrently launching the device in Johor Baharu, Penang, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

"The iPhone 4S will be available starting Friday (Dec 16) at all Maxis Centres and Maxis Exclusive Partners, nationwide," Sandip said.
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Google prepping Apple iPhone's Siri rival 'Majel' for Android phones

LONDON: Google is reportedly planning to expand its existing voice-recognition assistant for Android that will allow users to perform actions in their natural language similar to how Apple iPhone's Siri functions.

According to AndroidandMe.com, the company is planning to add a natural language processing feature to Google Voice Actions, already available on most Android phones.

Apple iPhone 4S on sale, fans buy in tribute to Steve Jobs | Apple's new iPhone 4S disappointment or delight? | 10 key things that stood out in the Apple iPhone 4S launch event


Voice Actions allows users to give commands by saying keywords such as "send text to". But the updated software could allow it to respond to commands by using more natural verbiage, similar to Apple's Siri.

The feature has been codenamed "Majel," after the woman who does the voice of the computer in Start Trek: The Next Generation, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It's expected Google will use Majel for search queries at first, and will incorporate other commands such as controlling phone and app actions down the line.

Majel could be released before the end of the year, but more likely in the next few months, the report said.

Apple Inc had unveiled a new version of its smartphone, the iPhone 4S, in October. The new phone is equipped with The "Siri" voice-command software which had pundits gushing over its ease of use versus rivals' offerings. Siri allows for using voice to send messages, make calls, set reminders and many other things.

The handset is also equipped with the new operating system iOS 5 and has over 200 new features, including notification centre and Twitter integration. The phone hit the US market Oct 14.

The software upgrades - including voice commands for everything from sending messages to searching for stock prices -- may be enough to keep people hooked on iPhones.

iPhone 4S sold more than four million units in three days since its launch Oct 14, making it the fastest-selling iPhone ever. More than one million units were pre-ordered in the first 24 hours after the new product was revealed Oct 4.

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Apple's case against us 'made Galaxy Tab a household name', says Samsung chief Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2074461/Apples-case-Galaxy-Tab-household-says-Samsung-chief.html#ixzz1gcE7jVKt

Samsung and Apple have been locked in a bitter copyright and patent battle - but one Samsung chief claims that the dispute has had a major silver lining for his company.

Samsung Australia's vice president of telecommunications, Tyler McGee, said that Apple bringing a case against Samsung has 'made the Galaxy Tab a household name'.

Samsung Electronics recently won another important round in the dispute - Australia's highest court dismissed rival Apple’s appeal, leaving Samsung free to sell its Android tablets this Christmas.

It follows similar rulings in cases in Germany, the Netherlands and America.

Samsung said in a statement that its Galaxy Tab 10.1 'will be available in stores this holiday period.'

Following this news Mr McGee told The Sydney Morning Herald: 'At the end of the day the media awareness certainly made the Galaxy Tab 10.1 a household name compared to probably what it would've been based on the investment that we would've put into it from a marketing perspective.'

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a tablet running Google's Android system which is lighter and thinner than iPad 2.

Apple took Samsung to court in Australia after accusing the South Korean company of copying its iPad and iPhone.

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Apple looking to expand iPhone accessory support with automatic app recommendations

Apple has shown interest in expanding support for third-party accessories for the iPhone and iPad, with a new system that would detect an external device and recommend compatible applications available on the App Store.

The concept was unveiled this week in a new application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled "Method and System for Locating an Accessory and an Application for Use With a User Device," the filing describes a system that would identify a range of applications usable with a connected accessory.

The system could also work in reverse, and let users know of available hardware accessories that are compatible with applications they already have installed on their iOS device. Such accessories could include game controllers, wireless headsets and external speakers.

Apple's filing even describes a system where a kiosk at a store could connect to a user's iPhone and analyze the applications that are installed on it. From there, a user could be given a list of compatible accessories and their exact locations in that store, such as the aisle and bin numbers.

Accessories could also be sold through online vendors in the same manner. A user could find out on their iPhone what accessories are compatible with their installed applications, and Apple would provide links to online stores where the compatible accessories could be purchased.

"With the number of available accessories growing at an exponential rate," the filing reads, "it is often difficult for a user to determine which accessory supports which software application and vice versa."
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Someone Paid $1.6 Million for Apple's Founding Documents

At the end of November, New York auction house Sotheby's revealed that it was to auction off the founding documents for Apple as part of a books and manuscripts auction on December 13. The documents, which establish the Apple Computer Company and are signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, are dated April 1, 1976 and were expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000. However, it seems the documents were worth a lot more than Sotheby's initially anticipated.

Eduardo Cisneros, chief executive officer of Cisneros Corporation, purchased the documents for over 10 times the amount they were expected to sell for, bidding $1,350,000 for the papers. Including the buyers premium, which Sotheby's tacks onto the price, the total came to $1,594,500 for the five pages pages.

According to Bloomberg, six people competed for the documents, starting at $70,000. The Cisneros family placed 254 on Forbes' most recent list of billionaires, with Cisneros Group being one of the world's largest privately held media and entertainment companies. The family has a net worth of $4.2 billion.
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Nielsen: Android And Apple Dominate The App Space But Mobile Browser Rules

Apple’s and Android’s stronghold on the U.S. smartphone market has been the case for many quarters already, and figures out today from Nielsen show how that has translated into a domination of the business of mobile content as well: phones based on Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS together account for 71 percent of all smartphones in the U.S., and some 83 percent of all apps that have been downloaded in Q3, according to new figures from the research group.

The two platforms have been gaining users in a crucial period of growth for smartphones as it picks up early adopters: penetration in the U.S. now stands at 44 percent, more than double the 18 percent penetration in Q3 2010. That still means that there is still more than half the market to play for—an opportunity companies like Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) hope to catch.



Nielsen, which today publishes its latest State of the Media report, notes apps have remained a popular source of mobile content, with the number of smartphone users downloading apps now at 62 percent. That population is largely concentrated on the two leading platforms, which together account for 83 percent of all app downloads.

The growth on iOS and Android, combined with the declines on other platforms, point to how app ecosystems appear to be coalescing around the dominant players:

—On Android, 49 percent of smartphone owners have downloaded apps, a massive rise on the four percent that had done so in 2009.

—Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has the second-strongest platform friendly for apps, with 34 percent. But that is actually a slight decline on 2009, when 37 percent of iOS owners downloaded an app.

—But when it comes to other platforms, the percentages of users downloading (and presumably using) apps has actually gone down. Eleven percent of BlackBerry users have downloaded apps, down from 32 percent in 2009. And only three percent of Windows Mobile users have downloaded apps, compared to 18 percent in 2009. The WebOS platform has seen a decline to one percent from five percent, while Symbian remained level at one percent in both years.

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Apple launches Itunes Match in the UK

FRUIT THEMED GADGET SELLER Apple has started to roll out its Itunes Match service in more countries including the UK, France and New Zealand.

According to Apple Insider, some users have had trouble activating the service, which launched in the US in November, two weeks later than originally planned. The service apparently costs £21.99 in the UK.

Users' complaints centre around not being unable to sign up for or access the service yet, leading some to speculate that the launch was accidental.

Itunes Match is an Apple subscription service that automatically scans all of the songs on a user's Apple computer and matches them with equivalents on Apple's cloud servers, while also allowing users to manually upload songs that are not in Apple's catalogues.

The service costs $25 a year in the US, which isn't bad considering that it solves the problem of having illegally sourced material, either via ripping songs from a friend's CD or downloading from a filesharing web site. Apple will match up to 25,000 songs, whether they were acquired legitimately or not.

In addition to solving the problem of illegally acquired music, which the music industry can then make a small income on, Itunes Match works as a good backup service for ensuring that no content is lost while also allowing users to access their music on multiple computers.

It can also free up a significant amount of disk space for a user who wants to simply stream songs from the cloud, but this is not necessarily the best option if your internet connection is less than reliable.

Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/14SSC)
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Apple's iPad cleared for takeoff

APPLE'S iPad has been approved for use by American Airlines pilots during takeoff and landing.

American Airlines began testing iPads as "electronic flight bags" last year and a number of other carriers, including United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, have followed suit.

But pilots were barred from using the touchscreen tablet computers during "critical phases of flight" - operations below 10,000 feet (3048 metres) - pending further evaluation.

Les Dorr, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said American Airlines received authorisation from the Federal Aviation Administration on December 1 to use the iPad in the cockpit during all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing.

"American Airlines is the first major air carrier to get approval for operational use of the iPad as an electronic flight bag," Mr Dorr told AFP, adding that the authorisation followed an evaluation period of around six months.

"During that period they have to show that it doesn't interfere with crew duties and especially that it does not interfere with the communication and navigation systems of the aircraft," Mr Dorr said.

For the moment, use of the iPad during all phases of flight is restricted to American Airlines pilots flying the twin-engine Boeing 777.

Hank Putek, an American Airlines captain who serves on the safety committee of the Allied Pilots Association, welcomed the FAA move and described the iPad as a "real safety enhancer" on the flight deck.

"There's a significant improvement in situational awareness," Mr Putek told AFP.

"The ability to have a backlit screen with a map on it that can be panned and zoomed really significantly increases the safety aspect of taxiing an airliner on the ground," he said.

"The same goes for when you're flying an instrument approach in bad weather," he said. "You have the approach chart on the iPad and you can zoom and pan and scroll to your exact location in the air while you're flying the approach."

Mr Putek said replacing the hefty flight bags, which can weigh 16 kilograms or more, with the 0.7kg iPad would help save fuel but the "primary purpose is to improve safety on the flight deck."

Passengers on US airlines are required to turn off electronic devices during takeoff and landing - a regulation which recently saw actor Alec Baldwin booted off an American Airlines flight for refusing to turn off his cellphone.

The requirement will not apply to iPads being used in the cockpit because Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity are turned off, eliminating the possibility of interference with aircraft navigation systems.

Mr Dorr, the FAA spokesman, said he expects other major US airlines to seek approval for expanded use of the iPad on the flight deck.

"It's fair to say that you will probably see more major carriers asking for this," he said. "The iPad seems to be the hot device for an electronic flight bag at the moment."

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