Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:51 pm
Ahead of an expected refresh of Apple’s Mac lineup, images of what appear to be the wireless cards that could go into those computers have appeared online with potential support for high-speed 802.11ac connectivity.
The images showed up on Monday on TonyMacX86. The card shown in the images is a Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini custom combo WLAN+Bluetooth card.
That card, it appears, supports IEEE 802.11ac a wireless standard also known as “5G” or Gigabit Wi-Fi. 802.11ac allows for speeds up to twice as fast as 802.11n, the preceding standard.
The fifth-generation of wireless protocol, 802.11ac sends data over two channels, with each carrying single link speeds of 500 megabits per second. In theory, the standard should produce speeds of up to 1.3Gbps.
via Tom’s Hardware
Code previously discovered in the OS X 10.8.4 Mountain Lion beta build tipped off observers to the possibility that Apple would soon be bringing the 802.11ac wireless protocol to its Mac lineup, and the pictured card, if valid, would seem to verify that.
Apple was also rumored earlier in the year to have struck a deal with Broadcom, the maker of the pictured card, to put 802.11ac chips into its 2013 Mac lineup. In January, job listings on the company’s site revealed that it was looking to hire experts in the new wireless standard.
Apple is widely expected to show off refreshed versions of its Mac lineup at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference. These new Macs may feature the next generation of Intel processors, dubbed Haswell.
The company is also expected to show off previews of the latest version of OS X and its iOS mobile platform, but Macs are especially anticipated, given reports of shortages in certain lines ahead of the developer conference.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 01:31 pm
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled its next-generation home game console dubbed the “Xbox One,” a device that aims to go beyond gaming and become the center of a consumer’s living room entertainment experience.
Scheduled to arrive later this year, the Xbox One will ship with Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect motion controller, which includes integrated voice recognition. The new Xbox One is pitched as a single device that will unify all of the devices in their living room, allowing them to be controlled through voice and hand gestures.
In a live demo, the Xbox One was shown quickly switching between live TV, movies, and an Internet Explorer Web browser. Like with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, users can even “snap” one program to the side of the screen and run two tasks at once.
With Kinect, users will also be able to use their voice or even their hands to quickly expand and move content around the screen. And Microsoft will also include support for the company’s Skype video chat.
The new Xbox One console will include 5 billion transistors and 8 gigabytes of RAM. It also sports USB 3.0, Wi-Fi, a Blu-ray disc drive, and even HDMI input.
The new Kinect sensor will come included with every Xbox One console. It sports a high-resolution 1080p camera, and is said to support more casual voice commands than its predecessor. The company even claims that Kinect will be able to measure a user’s heart beat.
An updated Xbox One controller has improved ergonomics and an integrated battery compartment. The controller also features an improved D-pad, addressing a common complaint among Xbox 360 owners.
Another portion of Xbox One is the SmartGlass platform, which offers integration between the console and Apple’s iPad and iPhone. First unveiled last year, it allows users to connect their own devices to the Xbox for control and additional content.
Microsoft is also revamping its subscription Xbox Live service with greater cloud support powered by more than 300,000 servers.
EA Sports took part in Tuesday’s presentation to show off its new “Ignite” game engine, while Microsoft Studios announced a new Forza racing title for the next-generation console. A new title from Remedy called “Quantum Break,” with a clip in which a tanker ship runs into and destroys a bridge.
Microsoft Studios plans to release more than 15 exclusive games in the first year of Xbox One, eight of them being brand new franchises. The company currently has more games in development than at any point in the Xbox’s history.
With Xbox One, Microsoft will also get into the content production business, as the company announced it is working on a live-action television series based on its best-selling “Halo” series and produced by legendary director Steven Spielberg. And with an exclusive content deal with the National Football League, Microsoft will also offer social interaction while watching games from the most popular sports league in America.
Tuesday’s event focused on entertainment and streaming television functions, positioning the device as an even more direct competitor to the Apple TV set-top box rather than a gaming-centric device. Apple has also been rumored to be considering building a set-top box that would act as a cable box much like the Xbox One, or even a full-fledged television set that could integrate all of those services into one device.
Microsoft plans to showcase games for Xbox One at the industry’s premier trade show, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. That event will overlap with Apple’s own Worldwide Developers Conference, where the iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 are expected to be unveiled.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 02:06 pm
In the midst of a larger discussion with U.S. senators on international corporate taxes, Apple CEO Tim Cook took an aside to discuss another area of regulation where the iPhone maker would like to see changes: the United States’ intellectual property protection environment.
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) broke from the larger topic of discussion to talk intellectual property with Cook during Tuesday’s Senate hearing on taxes. Asked by Ayotte about the intellectual property benefits of running a company based in the United States versus those in other countries, Cook responded that, actually, the U.S. system could use improvement.
“I actually think,” Cook said, “that we require much more work on IP in this country.”
The Apple chief’s response appeared to take Ayotte aback, as she had been asking on intellectual property in the context of China, where bootleg Apple Stores have occasionally been known to spring up.
Cook specifically pointed out the slowness of the U.S. court system, which can take years to resolve or even come to trial. The process, Cook said, is ill-suited to deal with the realities of the technology sector, which can move through several cycles in the time it takes the court system to resolve one case.
“The U.S. court system is currently structured in such a way,” Cook said, “that it’s currently difficult to get the protections a technology company needs, because the cycle is very long.”
Cook no doubt was referring to Apple’s ongoing struggles with a variety of manufacturers making devices running Google’s mobile operating system, Android. More specifically, the Apple head likely referred to South Korea’s Samsung, which leveraged close knowledge of Apple’s operations to turn itself into the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in terms of units sold.
Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung when a jury found last year that Samsung had infringed numerous Apple patents. That decision, though, is currently wrapped up in the appeal process, and part of the verdict has been set aside, possibly for an entirely new trial.
Aside from that first verdict, Apple also has another suit in the U.S. against Samsung. Apple recently sought to add Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone to that suit, alleging that the South Korean phone maker continues to infringe Apple patents. That suit, though, isn’t scheduled to begin until 2014, underlining Cook’s point on timing and cycles.
“For us, our intellectual property is so important to our company,” Cook said. “I would love to see the system strengthened to protect it.”
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 08:32 am
With Apple under fire for its low international tax rate thanks to corporate subsidiaries housed in Ireland, the Irish government has spoken out on the matter, saying its laws are not to blame.
Apple’s headquarters in Cork, Ireland, via Flickr user Sigalakos.
Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore issued a statement to broadcaster RTE on Tuesday, defending his country from accusations that it has functioned as a tax haven for Apple. The Irish government is not responsible if Apple’s tax rate is too low, he said, according to Reuters.
“They are issues that arise from the taxation systems in other jurisdictions, and that is an issue that has to be addressed first of all in those jurisdictions,” Gilmore said.
Apple’s presence in Ireland has been scrutinized by a report from the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which found that subsidiaries owned by Apple were used to purposefully avoid paying billions of dollars in domestic taxes. The report alleges that Apple moved billions of dollars in profits to affiliate corporations such as Apple Operations International in Ireland,w here the effective tax rate is less than 2 percent.
For its part, Apple has argued that it pays the appropriate taxes on every product it sells within the U.S. In a testimony published on Monday, the company said its substantial amount of foreign cash, which now exceeds $100 billion, exists because the majority of the company’s products are sold outside of America.
While its international tax practices face scrutiny, Apple has pushed for legislators to consider comprehensive tax reform in ways that might allow the company to return some of its $102 billion in international cash to the U.S. at a reasonable tax rate. The company has argued that the current tax code was written for the “industrial era,” and that it is actually harmful to businesses in the modern “digital economy.”
Of course, Apple is not the only company that has set up operations in Ireland for its favorable tax laws. Other major U.S. corporations with a presence there include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
Many of those companies were also under fire last year in the U.K., when a report alleged that Apple paid £10 million in corporate tax on estimated sales of £6 billion. Apple and others have a presence in the town of Cork, Ireland, where the local tax rate just 12.5 percent, or about half the 24 percent corporate rate in the U.K.
One analysis of 60 large U.S. corporations conducted earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal found that together they held $166 billion in earnings offshore in 2012. Apple alone accounted for just under a sixth of the analyzed group’s total, and that cash sum has only grown in the months since.
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Monday, May 20, 2013, 09:14 pm
In an update to its website on Monday, Apple revealed its newest retail location in Australia, at Rundle Place Centre in Adelaide, will open its doors on Saturday at 10 a.m. local time.
Customers can already make appointments with the Rundle Place Apple Store’s Genius Bar, as well as for upcoming workshops for the company’s various product lines, through the dedicated webpage that recently went live.
According to Adelaide Now, the Apple Store will be passing out T-shirts to commemorate the event, as is customary for a new retail opening.
The Rundle Place location will boast a Genius Bar, in-store workshops, One to One service and business-class offerings like Joint Venture. In addition, free youth programs will be offered at the store, including Youth Workshops, Field Trips and Apple Camp.
It was reported earlier on Monday that Apple’s brick-and-mortar outlets netted a record $58 per visitor last quarter, which amounted to an average per-store revenue of $13.1 million.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 01:55 am
In response to the devastating tornado that hit Okalhoma City on Monday, U.S. wireless carrier ATT announced it will be waiving all overage charges for those affected through June 30.
Remains of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla. | Source: Nick Oxford for The New York Times
On Monday afternoon local time, Oklahoma City saw a massive tornado system rip through parts of the city and surrounding areas, leaving flattened buildings and at least 91 fatalities in its wake. The New York Times, as well as other media outlets, say the storm system was one mile wide.
Hours later, ATT announced it would be supporting efforts by waiving voice, data and text overage charges through the end of June for affected areas.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area Monday,” said Bryan Gonterman, state president for ATT Oklahoma. “We are coordinating with local authorities and bringing in additional resources.”
Due to expectedly high call volumes, Gonterman recommended that those trying to reach friends and family in the region use text messaging instead of voice communications.
ATT also reminded customers that they can contribute $10 to Red Cross humanitarian efforts by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999. The donation will be charged as part of a user’s monthly bill.
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