Apple begins selling refurbished iPad mini with Retina display starting at $339

Apr 17, 2014 - 11:06 AM - by sparkyscott21

Consumers waiting for Apple to start offering refurbished models of its latest Retina display-equipped iPad mini need wait no longer as the tablet's Wi-Fi variants are now available with double-digit discounts from their off-the-shelf price.

Apple has listed the 16-gigabyte models for $339, a $60 savings from the $399 list price. 32-gigabyte models receive an $80 discount to $419, while 64-gigabyte models are marked down $90 to $509.

As per its usual practice with refurbished products, Apple offers the tablets with a full one-year warranty, and they are eligible for extended coverage with AppleCare. The company says consumers will receive a device with "a brand new battery and outer shell," meaning buyers should not experience any performance differential between their refurbished iPad and a similarly-specced new model.

At press time, only Wi-Fi-only models were available from the refurbished outlet. It is unknown why Wi-Fi and cellular models are excluded, nor when they might make an appearance.



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App Store Revenue Grew 70% In China Last Quarter

Apr 16, 2014 - 11:24 AM - by sparkyscott21

Apple’s continued Chinese expansion saw App Store revenue in China increase by 70% last quarter. That’s according to figures from a new Q1 2014 report from app analytics firm App Annie.

Key to this increase is the China Mobile deal which was announced at the end of last year, opening up Apple’s potential customer base to the 763 million users currently on the country’s biggest mobile network.

However while the figures certainly sound all well and good, currently Chinese customers spend less money on iOS apps than Japan — despite the country having ten times the population of the much-smaller Japan.

While iOS accounts for just 19% of smartphone users in China, in the Apple-loving Japan that figure is much closer to 68.7% of the smartphone market.

At the rate things are increasing, though, it won’t be long before China overtakes Japan as Apple’s second bigger spender worldwide, after the United States.

Overall, iOS continues to dominate around the world — generating around 85% more revenue than Google Play.



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Apple joins tech heavyweights, wireless carriers in smartphone anti-theft initiative

Apr 16, 2014 - 11:18 AM - by sparkyscott21

A group of smartphone industry giants, including Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, signed on to a voluntary program spearheaded by the U.S. wireless industry that looks to incorporate anti-theft technology into handsets by July 2015.

Dubbed the "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment," the initiative was announced by the CTIA on Tuesday as a plan to stymie growth of smartphone thefts in the U.S.

The voluntary program is being backed by the top-five U.S. wireless carriers, while smartphone and OS makers Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung have all agreed to participate, reports Re/code.

Companies that sign on to the commitment agree to make a "baseline anti-theft tool" available to customers who buy devices manufactured after July 2015. According to the document, the tool must allow users to remotely wipe data from a stolen or lost smartphone, render the device inoperable to an unauthorized user (aside from emergency calls as mandated by the FCC), prevent reactivation without user consent and reverse said inoperability when the device is recovered.

"We appreciate the commitment made by these companies to protect wireless users in the event their smartphones are lost or stolen," said CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent. "At the same time, it's important different technologies are available so that a 'trap door' isn't created that could be exploited by hackers and criminals. By working together with policymakers, law enforcement and consumers, we will deter theft and protect users' personal information on smartphones."

The full "Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment" can be viewed on the CTIA's official website.

For Apple, many of the agreement's anti-theft features are already built into iOS and iCloud with Find My iPhone and iOS 7's Activation Lock. Find My iPhone lets users locate, lock and wipe lost or stolen devices, while Activation Lock requires entry of an associated Apple ID and password before turning off Find My iPhone, erasing data or re-activating a device after it's been remotely erased.

While some states lauded the new initiative, others like California state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said the program isn't enough.

"The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft," Leno said. "Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today's 'opt-in' proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets."



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iPhones More Popular Than Ever Among Teens

Apr 15, 2014 - 10:49 AM - by sparkyscott21

Established tech companies like Facebook may be losing their cool factor for today’s youngsters, but apparently the same isn’t true for Apple.

According to a new Piper Jaffray survey, young people are more loyal to Apple than ever — with the number of American teens using iPhones rising from 48% last year, to 61% in 2014.

These current figures double the percentage from two years back. Furthermore, 61% expect iPhones to be their next smartphones.

It’s not just iPhones, either. Asked about tablets, 66% of owners claim the iPad to be their preferred choice.

The survey was conducted among 7,500 young people aged 16, with the majority from households with $55,000 income. Its results suggest that even among the fickle teenaged population, Apple is still a brand name to be reckoned with.

While Apple topped “electronics” category as the favorite brand, Nike came first in the “apparel” category.

Given his position in both companies, maybe teens are just massive Tim Cook fans these days.



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Apple tech uses Wi-Fi access points for indoor navigation, 3D positioning

Apr 15, 2014 - 10:37 AM - by sparkyscott21

Apple purchased indoor GPS firm WifiSLAM last March

While most mobile devices rely on GPS for mapping and navigation, the system only works outdoors and in range of satellite timing signals. However, new technology from Apple could extend accurate positioning indoors without need for additional hardware aside from existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

A patent granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday describes a robust system that combines GPS, Wi-Fi access points and onboard location databases to provide mobile devices accurate positioning data in nearly any environment.

According to Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,700,060 for "Determining a location of a mobile device using a location database," the method employs location estimation through the successful communication with one or multiple Wi-Fi access points.

By calculating a number of factors, including access point filtering, hardware communication range and so-called "presence areas," a mobile device can narrow down its position on a map with relative precision. This includes products without GPS receivers.

One of the first steps in Apple's patent calls for a location-aware device or devices (with GPS capabilities) to transmit their position to a first Wi-Fi access point, which in turn relays the information to a server-based location system. From this data, the system can then estimate the approximate location, or "presence areas," of other devices within the communication range of the access point.

To calculate these presence areas, the system may use any number of analyses including an averaging of geographic locations based on location-aware mobile devices, signal strength of a given access point and surrounding building architecture, among other variables. Presence areas may be selected in a multi-pass process by filtering out potentials based on "popularity, stability, longevity, and freshness."

Loaded with data, the system can plot out connected mobile devices in cells on a geographic grid. Each cell acts as a container for presence areas and corresponding access points. As seen in the image above, location-aware devices are represented as black triangles that are within or nearby presence areas denoted by circles.

One way a mobile device can calculate its location is by detecting multiple presence areas and averaging distance from those close by, while discarding data from "outliers" farthest away from a given

... [Read More]
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Apple Earns More Money Than HP, Google, Intel and Cisco Combined

Apr 14, 2014 - 11:32 AM - by sparkyscott21

Everyone knows Apple is incredibly profitable, but did you know that the top-earning tech company brings in more money than Hewlett-Packard, Google, Intel and Cisco combined?

That’s according to the San Jose Mercury News’ newly published Silicon Valley 150 list, which ranks 75 tech companies using data from Bloomberg and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The list shows that, at $174 billion per year, Apple brings in more revenue than second-place HP and third-place Google combined, while raking in more profits ($37 billion) than the rest of the top five taken together.

According to a recent infographic, Apple earns an incredible $325,000 each minute.



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