The USPTO has recently published an Apple patent application that describes a Siri-enabled “Smart Dock” which can connect to an iPhone or an iPad. First discovered by AppleInsider, the patent description says that the Smart Dock will have many components, including a housing, connector, microphone, speakers, and a touch screen.
Apple's "Smart dock for activating a voice recognition mode of a portable electronic device" patent filing is described like this on the USPTO website:
A dock for a portable electronic device including a housing, a connector extending from the housing to connect the portable electronic device to the dock, a microphone integrated within the housing, and a processor. The processor is operatively coupled to receive audio input from the microphone, and in response to the audio input, transmit a message to the portable electronic device via the connector to activate a voice recognition mode of the portable electronic device.
Lance Whitney with Cnet explains how the smart dock would work:
Key to the new dock would be integration with Siri. Rather than including Apple's voice assistant, the dock would tap into Siri on your mobile device. You'd activate Siri simply by speaking or making a noise, such as clapping your hands or snapping your fingers. You could then ask Siri to perform an array of tasks through your dock, such as playing a song, sending and viewing e-mail, listening to voice mail, setting an alarm, checking the weather, and browsing the Web.
Thus, the Smart Dock could be used as a clock with an alarm built-in or, even more, it could have add-ons like a detachable hard disk, accelerometer or temperature sensors and even a GPS sensor. The newly discovered patent also suggest that the dock could become a wireless AirPlay/Bluetooth speaker, as well.
If this patent becomes a real product, then the basic docking solutions that are currently limited to charging and line-out audio will soon have more functions, as the proposed dock would have a screen, tactile controls and even a touch panel with which a user can interact.
Source: AppleInsider, Cnet
Apple is getting closer and closer to finally signing the iPhone deal with China Mobile, China’s and the world’s largest carrier. According to a recent report that we covered, subsidy rates for the iPhone have recently leaked. This shows that the deal is almost ready to be finalized. The agreement between Apple and China Mobile makes it more likely that compatible versions of Apple's iPad lineup will soon be present in China Mobile’s portfolio, as well.
Connie Guglielmo from the Forbes publication explains why the China Mobile deal is so important for Apple:
Analyst Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank sees the iPad launch through China Mobile a "logical next step" for Apple after the iPhone debut has concluded. At the moment, this is all speculation, but it makes sense for Apple to bring the successful iPad to China Mobile subscribers, as well. Sam Oliver with AppleInsider explains how this would work:
This is a big deal for Apple for a few reasons. Greater China (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan)has been Apple’s fastest-growing market and now accounts for about 15 percent of sales, up from single-digits just a few years ago. It’s the third top region for sales after the U.S. And Europe. While Apple already has distribution deals with China’s other top carriers — China Telecom and China Unicom — China Mobile, with 759 million subscribers, with 176 million 3G users, is the big catch. (Consider: Verizon and AT&T have a combined 230 million or so subscribers.)
The same analyst sees Apple selling as many as 20 million iPhones through the carrier in the first year. He also estimates that this financial success will add around $4 in incremental earnings per share.
A delay between the introduction of the iPhone and cellular-capable iPad models on a carrier is not new. For example, Sprint began selling the iPhone in late 2011, but didn't offer LTE equipped iPads until a year later, while rivals AT&T and Verizon offered the third-generation iPad with LTE in mid-2012.
Source: AppleInsider, Forbes
A recent report from Strategy Analytics, called “Mobile Computing Device Cannibalization: The Game Has Changed” estimates that tablets will ship in higher volumes than mobile PCs for the full calendar year of 2013, reaching 231 million. And, of course, Apple's iPad plays a major role in this achievement.
Strategy Analytics’ report says that a number of 186 million mobile PCs will have been shipped in 2013 by the end of next month, less than the number of shipped tablets. Matt Wilkins, Director of Tablets and Wearables for Strategy Analytics, said the following:
Recently, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook, revealed that Apple had sold its 170 millionth iPad, which shows just how big the impact of this technological product has been. Also, let’s not forget that Apple’s iconic tablet is an young product, as it was introduced in 2010. Now, with increased pressure from Android and Windows tablets, can Apple's iconic slate manage to resist and remain the darling of the tablet world?
The tablet has become firmly ingrained in the consumer mindset, and is now seen as one of the key go-to devices for consumers who want to undertake computing tasks on a mobile device. As a result, the processors architectures, operating systems, and form factor of the tablet are playing dominant roles in the MCD space.
According to the latest data from Localytics, traffic from the iPad Air grew 51 percent this past weekend, compared to the previous weekend and it represents the largest growth seen in new devices tracked by the company. Localytics tracks the number of new devices showing up through its analytics network of over 20,000 apps and over one billion devices. Here’s what the company said:
The reasons for the increased iPad Air activations are obvious - Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions as well as the fact that the iPad Air comes with a new technology and is a fresh product in Apple's line-up. While Apple itself didn’t discount any products on Black Friday for North American consumers, it did include gift cards which proved to be good sales incentives, according to this new report.
According to Localytics’ data, a whopping 51% more new iPad Air devices were seen than the previous week. This is due to a combination of factors, including Apple’s promotion of giving gift cards with purchases of the iPad Air and iPad Mini (but not iPad Mini 2nd gen) devices. This, combined with a smaller base of iPad Air devices and the novelty of the iPad Air (released on November 1st) resulted in the iPad Air dominating on Black Friday weekend. Apple’s older iPad Mini model finished second, and the iPhone 5c took third.
The new plastic iPhone 5c and the first-generation iPad Mini have also seen good sales, mainly because both represent more affordable options in Apple's product lineup. Currently, the iPhone 5c is selling for $99 with a new two-year service contract, and the original Pad mini is available for $299. Localytics also analyzed the Android side's performance over the Thanksgiving weekend, and it found out that the Kindle Fire HD 7” and the newest Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, saw the greatest growth of new devices.
BlackBerry is no longer what it used to be for enterprise and government clients. And as its appeal is fading away, Apple’s iPad steps in to fill the gap. Shortly after the launch of the iPad, Steve Jobs said that Apple doesn’t need to market or promote the iPad for enterprise clients as “it’s being grabbed out of our hands, anyways”.
However, this has changed under Cook’s rule and the launch of the new iOS 7 operating system has been used to market the iPad for business users. According to Apple, 94 percent of the Fortune 500 companies and more than 85 percent of the Global 500 are already “testing or deploying” iPads, which is a very impressive number, indeed.
Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair says that BlackBerry’s decline has opened up a significant opportunity for Apple, since Android continues to struggle to become an interesting proposition for enterprise consumers.
Also, let’s not forget that Apple’s latest iPads come with the latest 64-bit platform which should make way for high-performance apps to be released for enterprise use.
While a more popular platform than iOS globally, [Android] is seeing very low adoption rates in the enterprise overall, particularly with tablets. We believe that most IT managers are avoiding the platform for large-scale rollouts and support due in large part to malware concerns. Our recent work points to tremendous momentum for iPad in the enterprise over the last few months and we believe that this may be one of the most important trends for Apple as we move into the New Year.
According to a new report from Apple Insider, Apple is looking at innovative ways to secure your iPhone and iPad devices. A new Apple patent called "Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition" has been discovered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The technology it contains would let you unlock your iPhone or iPad by having it scan your face.
Currently, the iPhone 5s comes with a fingerprint scanner, which is an increased security measure, but it seems that Apple wants to come up with even more safe ways to lock your devices. Mikey Campbell with AppleInsider describes the patent:
He also explains how the technology would work during an incoming phone call:
As noted in the document, face detection and recognition are two different processes. Detection involves locating faces within an image, while recognition goes deeper by pairing those faces with a particular person or user. Typically, facial recognition follows detection.
Apple's patent comprises three separate systems: a face detection decision application; a face recognition application; and an input/output control application. These systems work together to detect whether a user is authorized to operate a given device, and if so, activate certain functions within the computing environment.
Apple's face recognition patent was first filed for in 2008 and credits Jeff Gonion and Duncan Robert Kerr as its inventors. There is a chance that we might see this technology in future products - what’s your take on this?
For example, during an incoming phone call, an iPhone may be able to "sense" that someone is looking at the device's screen. If the person is not an authorized user, the iPhone's screen remains off and only a ringtone or vibration alert is provided. If the person is an authorized user, the usual incoming call UI is displayed.
Customers from the United States are used to buying gift cards and this is why Apple has decided to offer gift cards for Black Friday instead of product discounts. If you are looking to acquire an iTunes gift card, be it for yourself or somebody you love, you should know that Best Buy is having a good deal on App Store and iTunes gift cards at the moment.
iTunes Cards are perfect for anyone who enjoys one-stop entertainment. Each card features an iTunes Store code redeemable for music, movies, TV shows, games, apps, and more. Recipients can access content on an iPod, iPad or iPhone, Mac, or PC.
The retailer is offering a $100 gift card for only $85, which means you get 15% off your iTunes purchases. iTunes gift cards can be used to purchase anything from iTunes, like books, songs, movies, apps and others. Besides the App Store, you can also use it in the Mac App Store.
What’s funny is that the gift card won’t be delivered to you electronically, as Best Buy will ship for free the flyer to your door in 3-6 business days.
Dec 03, 2013 - 4:23 PM - by dgstorm
For weeks/months we have heard rumors suggesting Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad sometime next year. While this would be a departure from their norm, we shouldn't be too surprised by anything those creative geniuses come up with. Today's new intel sheds a bit more light on the possibility of a larger iPad. Supposedly Apple is already in the testing phase and is working on a 2K and a 4K resolution version of this 12.9-inch device. Additionally, this same intel comes with suspicions that the device will launch as early as Spring of 2014. If so, that means a new large-screen iPad will only be a few months away.
What would you guys think of a larger iPad?
Recently, we’ve seen that Apple treats its customers from Europe in a different manner than those from North America. The latest example is Black Friday, when Apple has decided to offer gift cards for U.S. and Canadian shoppers and product discounts for European customers. Now, the Cupertino company is releasing another “exclusive” offer for those from the old continent.
Apple starts offering 0% financing on online hardware purchases in most European countries, an offer than ends on 10th January. Apple’s normal financing options (such as 24 month plans) are still available, but are charged at normal rates. The 0% interest offer is applied only if you choose a 10 or 12 month plan.
The 0 percent financing offer is good for any hardware purchase above £449/€400 (around 542 USD) and is only available at Apple's online store. So don’t try getting this deal in a physical retail stores. The 0% financing offer for European customers runs from December 2, 2013 and midnight of January 10, 2014.
Apple’s goal is to benefit from the holiday shipping period be letting customers substitute the significant upfront costs of buying an Apple product with smaller and more manageable payments across several months.
Those of you who plan on purchasing Apple products this holiday now have another reason to do it as Apple has announced free shipping for holiday purchases until December 22 with order deadlines for December 24. Apple has posted the shopping guide to make sure you get your Apple products before December 24th delivered to your door. The holiday shipping details were published by Apple last year, as well.
The Cupertino company is offering free standard shipping on all orders placed through its online store from now until December 22. Besides free shipping, Apple put up its yearly order deadlines for guaranteed December 24 delivery. At the moment of writing this article, standard configuration Macs, iPhone 5c, non-Retina iPad mini, non-engraved iPad 2 and all iPods are showing an order deadlines of December 18.
The iPad mini with Retina display still remains in restrained supply, as purchasers must get their order in by December 5 to make sure the iPad Mini gets shipped before Christmas. The iPad Air can be ordered up until December 9.
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