Link: Amazon to Hold Presser on 9/6 →

A day AFTER the Microsoft announcement for Windows Phone 8. Probably two different agendas, but interesting that both companies are attempting to preempt any Apple announcement.

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Link: T-Mobile to Offer Truly Unlimited Data Plan →

I wonder what would happen if they carried an iPhone?

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Link: AT&T Responds to Facetime Plan Criticism →

Basically, AT&T sees them in the right to limit FT to shared data plans, even though iPhone users demand a more “open” policy on the usage of their data.

It’s actually a pretty complex situation: a user sees their data as their own, wanting some empowerment over what they choose to do with their allotment. AT&T wants to control the experience of data usage by limiting FT usage over 3G, as it will provide an overall improvement to the network by making it so that FaceTime only works on a small portion of customers’ data plans. Sometimes what people want isn’t the best option, at least according to AT&T.

The last paragraph points to this compromise:

We will be monitoring the impact the upgrade to this popular preloaded app has on our mobile broadband network, and customers, too, will be in a learning mode as to exactly how much data FaceTime consumes on those usage-based plans. We always strive to provide our customers with the services they desire and will incorporate our learnings from the roll-out of FaceTime on our mobile broadband network into our future service offerings.

Allowing FaceTime on cellular data through shared plans is an experiment. This could lead to opening the floodgates to all plans in the future, or it could lead to an even more limited use of FT on cellular data plans. The fact is that Apple has actually made video calling prevalent, so AT&T needs to brace for a future filled with this communication.

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Link: Windows Phone to surpass BlackBerry in install base →

Might not hit that 10% mark, but everything else seems to be going as expected.

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Link: Facebook Investors Cash Out →

These are early investors, and most of them not employees. Employees have a bit more time before they can sell their stock, and Mark seems to think that this is just enough time that the company needs to make the investments worth while:

Mr. Zuckerberg went on to tell employees that the press doesn’t know the company’s future plans, and if they did, they would have the same faith in Facebook’s ability to fulfill its lofty stock-market valuation. He said that investments the company has made over the last six to 12 months will soon bear fruit, the people said.

Guess it is going to be an interesting year for Facebook.

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Link: Two Strikes →

Apple is now backpedaling on a recent initiative to decrease retail staffing and make cuts at some of their more “bloated” international stores.

This is the second high-profile acknowledgment of a “mistake” on Apple’s part in recent weeks, with Apple just last month having backpedaled on removing its products from the EPEAT environmental registry. In that case, Apple senior vice president Bob Mansfield posted an open letter apologizing for the company’s error.

There have been other mistakes in the past as well, like “Antennagate,” but having two happen so recently is interesting to note.

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Link: Apple Licensing Microsoft iOS Design Patent →

It’s no secret Apple and Samsung are one of the largest patent battles in recent tech history. Things have gotten quite heated over the pas few weeks in the trial. It was just revealed that Apple is licensing Microsoft some of the very patents it is currently in a battle with Samsung over.

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Link: Kinect 2 Sensors Show Great Improvement →

This would make the Kinect a great solution for applications beyond just gaming — like physical therapy or fitness exercises. The amount of depth is pretty amazing.

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Link: Starbucks to Accept Payments with Square →

Love the URL for the letter — signifies the forward movement this startup company has with the partnership.

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Link: Double Down on Facebook (In the UK) →

Though I expected credits and payments to be a good move to generate revenue, a casino game seems just… shady. Not to mention far from the image of Facebook which “connects people.”

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Link: BlackBerry’s Bizarre Pivot →

Thom Heins, Blackberry CEO:

We don’t have the economy of scale to compete against the guys who crank out 60 handsets a year. To deliver BB10 we may need to look at licensing it to someone who can do this at a way better cost proposition than I can do it.

Yeah, this will work.

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Link: UK Government Wants Online Only TV →

The Communications Committee in The House of Lords has suggested that British TV go strictly online. The committee suggested this would free up air for cellular communication. This idea seems fairly unlikely at the moment given broadband restrictions that still plague rural areas.

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Link: The Daily Lays Off 50 Staffers →

The Daily is a good idea in principle — as tablet marketshare goes up, so will news media on tablets. The issue is the experience continues to be subpar compared to free alternatives. Slow loading times, laggy page turns, and a locked portrait orientation are deal breakers when there are plenty of free (really great) ways to consume the news.

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Link: YouTube focusing on Channels →

YouTube has said it is going to put another 200 million dollars into its channels that it began experimenting with 8 months ago. YouTube has launched close to 100 channels and attracted a few big names thus far.

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Link: →

It’s Hotmail with a pretty impressive Metro skin on top. This is the beginning of a bigger transition to match Apple’s iCloud offering by making a completely web based solution. So far the start is impressive and hopefully more development will vindicate Microsoft’s cloud platform.

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Link: Mountain Lion Downloads Top Three Million →

Phil Schiller:

Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever.

And by incredibly successful, he means 1 million sales in 24 hours. So it seems that ML downloads have had sustained growth, whereas Lion downloads must have tapered off.

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Link: Google Didn’t Delete Wi-Fi Data After All →

And I’m not surprised.

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Link: Facebook’s First Earnings Report →

Today Facebook announced it’s first earnings report after its May IPO. In after hours trading the stock is down to a new low just under $25. They company also announced they have 955 million users. They are getting mighty close that 1 Billion mark Tarun was guessing they’d hit this year.

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The Mountain Lion Experience

So now that Mountain Lion has been out for a day, I thought I’d share my thoughts and experiences with OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion. As mentioned during some of our podcasts, I’ve been using Mountain Lion for a little while now. If you are still wondering, “is it worth it?” I’ll share with you why you’d be wise to upgrade. There are a few features that are worth highlighting that just might persuade (or make you run) from the upgrade.

The first is the deeper iCloud integration you are going to get from the OS. If you are a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote user you will find Apple’s newest OS to be a delight. If you create a document on your iPad or iPhone and want to begin to work on it from you OS X machine, the document is just sitting there waiting for you. When you make edits to the document from any of those devices, it will instantly push to the other devices. Personally I think this is one of the best new features. Apple has opened this up to developers as well, so hopefully we will be begin to see more applications that work this seamlessly across all three platforms. One common complaint I’ve read and heard from people is the worry that Apple is trying to move away from the traditional file structures we’ve been use to for so long. This is absolutely true, but I think that we are going to see more of this across all platforms.

Gatekeeper is another feature that makes Mountain Lion a worthwhile upgrade, especially if you have kids, or folks you don’t want installing potentially harmful applications to you machine. Apple’s new security feature, Gatekeeper, is designed to keep malicious applications from being installed on your machine. Starting now, developers who want their applications to work on OS X 10.8 must have a developer certificate through Apple. It is worth noting that Apple is not forcing developers to become part of their Developer Program and register their apps in the Mac App Store, they are simply requiring them to apply for a certificate that OS X will look up when installing an application from outside the Mac App Store. Many bloggers have expressed concern over the new feature saying Apple is gaining way too much control of the user. However, this feature can easily be turned off in the System Preferences menu.

I mentioned earlier Apple “borrowed” a number of additional features from iOS for 10.8. Some of those features are great additions. iMessages was previously available as a beta in 10.7, but it is now officially out for 10.8! In case you’ve forgotten iMessages for Mac allows you to read and send iMessages across all your devices now. In the fall Apple is allowing you unify your phone number and your email address. Twitter is now deeply integrated into the OS X platform. When you use System Preferences to setup your mail, contacts, and calendar accounts, there is now a Twitter option available as well. By signing into Twitter you will be able to share photos, websites, and more with the click of a button. OS X gained a “Notification Center” as well. Notification Center on Mountain Lion works just like it does on iOS. When you receive a message, email, etc they will come up on the side of your screen, with a quick preview. Developers will be able to use Notification Center as well. Conveniently there is a “Click to Tweet” button at the top of Notification Center. This is just like in Apple’s newest iOS software which is scheduled to launch Fall 2012. Apple also announced Facebook integration which will work exactly like Twitter. The Facebook integration is not currently available, but will be coming in a software update later this year. Another nice, new iOS feature available in Mountain Lion is Airplay and Airplay Mirroring. Now, if you have an AppleTV (2nd or 3rd Gen) you can Airplay Mirror to your AppleTV, just like on iOS. Apple not only took some iOS features, but a few iOS applications as well. Notes and Reminders are now available on OS X. They work just like they do on your iOS device so there is no learning curve. If you are using iCloud, all your Notes and Reminders will be pushed to your devices OS X or iOS.

Two final features that I think help make this update worthwhile are Power Nap and Dictation. Power Nap allows your computer to go to sleep, but it will continue to receive all of your iCloud information (photostream, email, contacts, documents, etc).  What’s really great is that when you get home with your laptop, you can plug it in and put it to sleep and TimeMachine will still do backups and all of your software updates will be done for you without having to leave the lid of the machine open. The final feature I’m going to discuss is  Dictation. Again, it was borrowed from iOS, but it is a great addition to OS X. The feature is exactly what is sounds like, it will dictate for you and is a speech to text feature. Supposedly the more you use it, the more it understands your voice and continues to get better. I’ve only used the feature a little bit, but so far it’s been awesome.

While this OS release is probably the most conservative release of OS X to date, apart from maybe 10.0 to 10.1, it is still one I’d say is worth while. Lion was a big jump from Snow Leopard and caused a few headaches for users. I feel as though Mountain Lion has fixed a number of those issues. Apple has really got a solid OS release that I think will be a delight for most users. If this were any more than $20 in the App Store it might have taken some more convincing, but it’s not so I’d suggest you make your way to the App Store and begin downloading!

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Link: Apple Removes Reference to Safari for Windows →

The Safari experience is probably crippled on Windows due to a lack of the Core features in Mac OS.

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Link: Pebble Watch Delayed →

From the team on Kickstarter:

In terms of our schedule, we’re sticking pretty closely to an aggressive timetable we put together at the end of May (remember our first timetable was created before we launched on Kickstarter, when we were expecting to manufacture just 1,000 Pebbles). While we won’t be able to start shipping Pebbles in September, our current schedule has us on track to go from manufacturing zero to 15,000 Pebbles per week as soon as possible.

Too bad for those who ordered one, but understandable given the unprecedented demand.

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Link: John Siracusa’s OS 10.8 Review →

It’s always a pleasure to read his reviews, and that’s largely due to his intense attention to detail. Here are some highlights of things that I found to be “additional” of what most already know about the OS:

  • Coverage of the dock: Apparently Apple is trying really hard for you to not notice when an application is open. Also I love the detail here: “. An icon must be dragged about an inch (~60 points) away from the Dock—and held there for some minimum amount of time—before the cursor will gain its “puff of smoke” badge.”
  • Double tapping the track pad reveals scroll bars.
  • A gears icon for notification center has reserved space on the bottom right: I agree with John here — it is odd that they didn’t use a little animation trickery to reveal the settings when needed (or that they felt they had to have it visible at all times).
  • Dictation apparently is welcomed, but not such an awesome feature.
  • Calendar has been polished, but most of the improvements are in the back end. I am glad they got rid of the page flip when using arrow keys.
  • The notes application’s UI alters when moved into full screen — dramatically. This is the first instance of an app that changes the UI aesthetic significantly when changing resolution. This not unlike Windows 8’s semantic zoom feature, except the app doesn’t take the next step and present the user with more features given the larger context.
  • Safari drops RSS support entirely, and the button is missing. Big bummer for people like me who rely on RSS to get to the news.
  • The reality of using iCloud as your primary way to store and retrieve files is a little disheartening. Particularly telling is the sharing scenario he describes with Sounds like I’ll be sticking wtih Dropbox.
  • The default Gatekeeper behavior is to allow for both Mac App store developers and “verified” ones.
  • A detailed overview of how “Power Nap” works. Though I wonder when DarkWake support will be approved for 3rd party apps.
  • Quicklook has a sharing option. Awesome.

As always, a great review and a must read. Also do check out Marco Arment’s review of the review.

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Link: The 3DS Turnaround →

Nintendo reports Q1 loss overall, but the sales of 3DS consoles is telling:

Sales of its 3DS, launched in February last year, more than doubled to 1.86 million from 710,000. Weak demand for its latest console forced Nintendo to slash its price by a third in August.

Mobile is king.

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Link: Windows 8 Store Pricing Revealed →

Microsoft provides monetization details for developers. In contrast to Apple, the lowest priced apps will cost $1.49. Psychologically, the $.99 price point has always been impulsive. I know many would think it is no big deal to spend “a dollar.” It will be interesting to see developers reveal direct comparisons to sales from other platforms.

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Link: Yahoo! CEO’s Priority →

Newly appointed CEO Marissa Mayer:

Companies are all about people and the companies with the best talent win. Joining was an easy decision, because the strength of Yahoo!’s talent and the whole team here is apparent. We will continue to invest in talent, so we can produce the most compelling and exciting user experiences anywhere.

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