The iPhone 5 debuted in China overnight and was met with less than stellar launch day sales. The iPhone 5 launch is the lowest performing launch event in Apples history as a retailer in China. US markets reacted to the poor launch report by pushing Apple's stock down by nearly 4%.
"Apple's flagship store in Beijing's upscale Sanlitun shopping district began selling the iPhone 5 for the first time on Friday in what was arguably the least eventful launch of an Apple device in the company's four-year history in the Chinese capital," the Wall Street Journal reported.
White House petition for a Death Star by 2016 gets 25,000 signatures, the White House now must officially respond
On November 14, a petition was created for the White House to secure funding to build a Death Star by 2016. The petition had over 25,000 signatures which means that the White House must now officially respond.
The petition for the Death Star, which I can't even believe I'm writing about, passed the 25,000 signature mark within less than a month, on December 13. Natalie M from Minneapolis was the 25,000th contributor, and she signed just 24 hours before the cut off on December 14. At the time of writing, there was 26,739 signatures.
The petition means serious business, with the description reading:
Those who sign here petition the United States government to secure funding and resources, and begin construction on a Death Star by 2016.
By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.
Close your eyes, now imagine you're sitting in a restaurant and the waiter brings you the biggest salt shaker you've ever seen. Imagine that the grains of salt are as big as your fist. That's how big this rumor is, and that's how big the salt is going to be for you to believe this.
Bright Side of News* are reporting from their latest trip to the UAE that Intel could acquire NVIDIA - yes, you read that right. This has been a rumor for quite sometime, especially over the years when AMD were acquiring ATI.
NVIDIA are a much smaller company than Intel, and Intel will struggle in the graphics department in the coming future. Sure, they'll do well, but AMD's APUs have some great graphics attached, and NVIDIA's mobile solutions in their Tegra range are also great. NVIDIA are already involved in a technology licensing deal with Intel, and the acquisition talks are just an extension of this.
We've all experienced it. You have the TV turned up high because of quiet dialog and then the show cuts to commercial. The ad is then so loud that you are literally blown backwards. OK, so I might be exaggerating a bit, but this should be a problem of the past, something our kids will never have to experience.
The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, also known as the Calm Act, has gone into effect today. This act makes it illegal for commercials to be louder than the programming that they are so rudely interrupting. I'm not sure who thought making commercials louder was a good idea, but we no longer have to worry about that.
The law was actually passed more than a year ago, but the FCC was nice and gave a long grace period so that current advertisements wouldn't have to be redone to comply. From now on, if you hear an extremely loud commercial, the FCC would like you to report it on their website or by calling 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).
Google's stock is doing great after the release of Maps for iOS. Google's stock opened above $700 today, and climbed as high as $716.47, but has now dropped back down to $704.32, at the time of writing. This is still well above yesterday's closing price of $697.56, showing investors are happy Google has returned to iOS.
While the new app isn't the default application, nor can it be made default, the sheer option of having Google Maps back on iOS makes many people happy. I know I'm happy to have a dedicated app back for iOS, especially one that is capable of doing turn-by-turn directions.
By producing an app for iOS, Google can not only collect more information regarding traffic and other things, they also have a chance to increase revenue by showing local ad listings in the app. Who else is excited that Google Maps is back on iOS in app form?
PayPal is launching the PayPal My Cash Card, a pre-paid card that allows people to make PayPal web purchases without having to use a credit, debit or banking account. The card is aimed at making online buying much easier for those who may not have access to a credit card or bank account.
The card will be avaliable at 30,000 U.S. retail locations including CVS, Rite Aid, Fred's Super Dollar and Dollar General Stores. Customers can buy card with fixed amounts of $50 and $100 or load a custom amount ranging from $20 to $500 at a time. This is a big deal for weary would-be online consumers who have refrained from purchasing online due to security concerns.
On, no, Apple. It looks like you may be guilty of what you accused Samsung of doing: copying. A US court has ruled that the Apple iPhone infringes upon three patents owned by MobileMedia Ideas. MobileMedia Ideas is just a shell company, designed to hold and enforce Nokia's and Sony's patents.
One of the patents, US 6,441,828, is a patent for screen rotation, and was used as a reason to allow the case to proceed. Another patent found to be infringed upon by Apple is US 6253075, a patent that relates to rejecting an incoming call. US 6070068, a patent that relates to control call status, was found to be infringed upon by Apple.
Finally, US 6427078, a patent relating to transmitting a captured image to another device, was also found to be infringed upon by the iPhone. It's not clear how much damages might be for the company, though Larry Horn, CEO, said that they could be "substantial."
We all know what a complete epic fail Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS 6 Maps app has been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future - but Apple have loads of cash in their pockets, so why not use some of it to ease this pain? Well, according to an Netherlands-based analyst, it looks like Apple are interesting in acquiring GPS and mapping company TomTom.
Hand Slob, a Rabobank International analyst told investors today that there is a 30% chance that Apple will make an offer on TomTom. Slob told investors that TomTom needs the cash, and Apple is equally as desperate for mapping data to help their Maps application on iOS 6. Slob says that TomTom have the ability to make vast and quick changes that could fix Maps' issues. Not only that, but TomTom could quickly implement new features and abilities to the Maps app much quicker, and with less problems, than Apple.
This is all just rumors at the moment, but it would really make sense for Apple to do this. Right now it seems they're on a downward spiral, but would this help Apple at least put out one of their fires?
John McAfee, you know, the founder of McAfee Anti-Virus? He's been on the run from Belize after his neighbor turned up dead and Belize wanted him for questioning. He managed to flee Belize and escape to neighboring Guatemala, whereupon he met with authorities. The authorities originally indicated that he would be turned back over to Belize.
However, as of Wednesday evening, McAfee had boarded a plane headed for Miami, Florida, which happens to be in the opposite direction of Belize. Guatemala has deported McAfee back to the United States as that his country of origin--he is American, after all. His lawyers blocked the Guatemalan attempt to send him to Belize.
"I'm happy to be going home," McAfee told reporters shortly before his departure Wednesday afternoon. "I've been running through jungles and rivers and oceans and I think I need to rest for a while. And I've been in jail for seven days."
Samsung isn't missing a chance to take a shot at its fierce rival, Apple. A marketing campaign has popped up in Australia, where the police have issued a warning that Apple Maps may put your life in danger, at least if you're trying to reach the city of Mildura.
Apple Maps instead leads you to the middle of a national park, which just happens to be in a really hot part of the country with limited water. With it being summer Down-Under, this is a bit of a problem. As you can see in the picture above, Samsung has placed a 4x4 SUV in Sydney, Australia, with a tent and sign next to it.
"Oops, should have got a Samsung Galaxy S III. Get navigation you can trust," the sign reads. Is this a good marketing campaign? What are your thoughts on it?
Google, you've been a bad, but legal, boy. Bloomberg reports that Google avoided nearly $2 billion in taxes around the world for the 2011 tax year by moving $9.8 billion in tax revenue to a Bermuda-based shell company. This amount is just about double the amount moved to the shell company three years ago.
While not illegal, moving its revenue to Bermuda allows Google to cut its tax rate by about half because Bermuda does not feature a corporate income tax. Of course, countries aren't pleased by Google doing this, especially in the current economic downturn. France, the UK, Italy, and Australia are all looking into Google's tax avoidance.
Apple was the one to pioneer this technique and use the British Virgin islands as their tax haven. Every company does this to some degree, but it looks like governments might planning to put an end to it, or at least limit it--that is until an accountant finds another way around the new rules.
Tim Cook has said that Apple is investing $100 million to build one of its Mac lines exclusively in the US. But just which Mac line will it be? Cook didn't specify, but there are certainly some clues that lead us to a likely candidate. Apple will most likely build (drum roll please!) the Mac Pro line of Macs in the US.
First off, $100 million for a factory will yield a factory with about 200 people and be capable of building around 1 million units a year. Apple sells less than 1 million Mac minis and less than 1 million Mac Pros every year. Tim Cook et al has indicated that a new Mac Pro line is coming in 2013.
The Mac Pro is much heavier, and thus more expensive to ship, than the Mac mini. Also, the profit margin on the Mac Pro is much higher as they retail from $2,500 to $3,800. This higher profit can easily absorb the increase in costs to produce. They are also the easiest Mac to produce and customize.
Solid logic by the people over at Fortune and the likelihood that Apple makes a different line of Macs in the US is pretty slim. Does a "Made is USA" sticker make you more or less likely to buy a Mac Pro?
If you live in a country that doesn't have a Microsoft Store, you may be able to head to a local electronics store soon to check out the Surface RT tablet. Rumor has it that Microsoft is planning to roll out its Surface tablets to third-party retailers soon than it originally had planned to.
If the rumor is to be believed, the Microsoft-made tablet will first see its way into third-party retailers in countries that don't have Microsoft Stores. This part of the roll out is reported to be happening within days. The second part of the roll out will be in January 2013, where upon third-party retailers, such as Best Buy and Staples, will be able to sell the Surface tablets.
This pushed up or expanded roll out schedule could be due to Microsoft not selling as many Surface tablets as they had originally planned to do. Rumors that Microsoft's sales have been soft are running rampant around the web. Microsoft may be hoping to increase sales with wider availability.
Apple's patents are key to their legal successes against Samsung and other companies. But what happens when one of those patents is ruled invalid? Well, not only does Apple lose the right to sue over that patent, any patents based upon that patent could also be ruled invalid.
The patent that Steve Jobs is best known for, 7,479,949, has been preliminarily ruled invalid. The patent covers a touchscreen device and input derived from apply heuristics. The patent, if you speak legal and engineering, probably does a better job explaining than I can:
A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items.
This is a story that could completely wreck Yelp's business, if the company isn't careful. A women in Virginia is facing a lawsuit from a contractor over allegations that her negative Yelp review caused him to lose work. Sound a bit ridiculous? We thought so too, until we found out a bit more.
In the review, Jane Perez listed out a bunch of accusations, which included damage the contractor reportedly did to her home, an invoice for work that was reportedly not done, and missing jewelry. She finished out the post by saying, "Bottom line do not put yourself through this nightmare of a contractor."
The contractor, Christopher Dietz, has now filed a $750,000 Internet defamation lawsuit against her, claiming that the Yelp post, along with some Angi's List postings, were false and caused him to lose business. He's also seeking a preliminary injunction to keep her from writing even more reviews.
Some argue that Perez should be protected by free speech, and often the juries side with this argument. However, it still costs a lot of money to defend yourself from a lawsuit. In the end, you have to ask yourself if the review is fair because sites like Yelp don't provide any legal protection for you.
I've said that Apple should bring their production to the US, and it looks like they read my posts here at TweakTown - probably not, but this is great to see. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news during an interview with Rock Center, that they will be indeed bringing some Mac production to the United States:
At the moment it's not known which Mac products will be manufactured in the US, but there have been rumbles of it being the iMac as some of the current iMacs have "Assembled in USA" inscribed in the back of them.
During the interview with Brian Williams, Cook said "we've been working for years on doing more and more in the United States". Cook noted during the interview that Apple are spending around $100 million in the US production adventure:
It's not known well that the engine for the iPhone and iPad is made in the U.S., and many of these are also exported-the engine, the processor. The glass is made in Kentucky. And next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac. We've been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We're really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial. So we'll literally invest over $100 million. This doesn't mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we'll be working with people, and we'll be investing our money.
Social networks can be dangerous for powerful people, with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings possibly facing the Securities and Exchange Commission over a statement he posted to social networking site, Facebook.
Rewinding back to July, Hastings' Facebook page announced that Netflix passed a billion hours of streaming for the month of June - the first time that Netflix has ever done that, ever. This simple post from Hastings could have violated regulations in regards to fair disclosure, the SEC has reportedly told Netflix.
Bloomberg has reported that Hastings' post could've been seen by his 200,000 followers. The SEC has said that the post could constitute selective disclosure of material information, which could justify a civil claim. Netflix said in a statement that the fact that they had previously stated they were closing in on a billion hours of streaming in June. On top of this, they've said that the billion-hour total is not "material" to investors. Netflix remains "optimistic that this can be cleared up quickly through the SEC's review process".
I'm an Australian, but keep up as much as I can with the fringe areas of US politics and the debt that the world has. We know that the US is in over their heads in debt, but just how much? Sure, $1 billion sounds like a lot - but I think most people have lost sight of just how much these billions, and trillions mean.
This could turn into a long winded whinge session about not only the state of the US political system, but the entire world's financial system. Instead, we'll show you a visualization from Demonocracyinfo of the current US debt. Currently, the money owed by the US government is larger than the size of the economy itself. The current debt ceiling is set at $16.394 trillion and the US are getting close to that mark with just a few weeks until they hit the "fiscal cliff" I'm sure you've heard about.
What did you think of the video? At first, I thought - oh that's not too bad, millions don't look like that much - then the billions begin. Once that's over and the shock sets in, you see the entire federal debt, and it's a scary number.
"Losing your personal privacy should not be the cost of using mobile apps, but all too often it is," said Attorney General Harris. "California law is clear that mobile apps collecting personal information need privacy policies, and that the users of those apps deserve to know what is being done with their personal information."
Christopher Weatherhead has been found guilty along with Jake Birchall, Ashley Rhodes, and Peter Gibson, who pleaded guilty earlier on. The charges? Conspiring to impair the operation of computers. The four took part in the Anonymous operation that targeted PayPal and Mastercard.
"Weatherhead is a cyber-criminal who waged a sophisticated and orchestrated campaign of online attacks on the computer systems of several major companies," said Russell Tyner, a lawyer from the prosecutors' organized crime division.
The attacks reportedly cost the companies targeted more than $5.6 million in software, sales losses, and extra staffing. Recently, the British police have been investigating hacking collectives Anonymous and LulzSec. We're sure to see more people brought before a judge over similar charges.
The punishment has not yet been dolled out by the judge.
T-Mobile customers will be excited to hear that they will soon have the option of picking up an Apple device to use with the network. Today, T-Mobile and Apple announced that they had entered into an agreement to begin selling products next year. Details regarding the agreement have been somewhat slim.
Apple and T-Mobile have both declined to provide further details regarding the agreement, so it will be a bit before we know what devices will be available on the network. PCMag's Sascha Segan is reporting that T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere, "is implying that the carrier will launch an as-yet-unannounced iPhone model."
The launch of Apple devices on the network will likely coincide with the launch of T-Mobile's LTE network, which is set to go live sometime next year.