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31
Jul

Apple’s Content Delivery Network Now Live, Making Faster OS X/iOS Downloads Possible


Apple’s content delivery network is now live in the US and Europe, reports analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan (Via ArsTechnica). The CDN may deliver multiple terabits of data per second, allowing Apple to more efficiently to distribute software updates and other content to its customers.

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Apple’s CDN apparently went live recently as current trace routes provided by Rayburn show that OS X downloads are piped directly from Apple to internet service providers, such as Comcast. Apple is paying for this direct route in order to avoid congestion and other issues during times of high volume traffic, such as when a new version of OS X is released. Other providers who possibly have negotiated these interconnect deals with Apple are rumored to include AT&T and Verizon, both of which have similar contracts with Netflix.

Apple has not publicly commented on its CDN plans, but the company is expected to use the network to deliver iOS and OS X downloads, while gradually transitioning its iTunes and App Store away from Akamai and other Level 3 CDNs.

“It’s too early to know how much traffic will come over and when, but Apple’s already started using their own CDN much faster than I expected. The pace of their build out and amount of money they are spending on infrastructure is incredible. Based on my calculations, Apple has already put in place multiple terabits per second of capacity and by the end of this year, will have invested well more than $100M in their CDN build out.”

Apple allegedly has been working on building this content delivery network for several years, with a rapid acceleration in the past year to bring the service online. The rollout of this network brings content delivery under Apple’s direct control, helping to ensure its customers can access data reliably and quickly.




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31
Jul

Shazam takes its music discovery powers to the Mac


Shazam has already covered ground on mobile platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8, but now it is prepared to bring its media identification software to more devices. And it all starts with Apple’s line of personal computers. The newly minted Shazam for Mac, naturally, features the same discovery tools which have made the app as popular as it is today, with the main differentiator being that it’s new for desktops and laptops. Once installed, the application performs in a rather subtle way, running its trademark ID work constantly in the background, if you allow it to. On the home screen, additionally, it only takes a spot on the menu bar to let you glance at recently discovered media. We say “media” because Shazam isn’t just capable of recognizing music playing around you, but also other stuff like TV shows — this is something that’s also possible on the smartphone/tablet apps.

When Shazam is activated on your Mac and recognizes, say, a track, it’ll let you know via an OS X notification pop-up, after which you can choose to ignore or click it for additional details, including quick access to lyrics, videos and links to the iTunes store. But why would someone want to use this over the smartphone equivalent? Daniel Danker, Shazam’s chief product officer, thinks this is perfect for users who may be on their laptop listening to Spotify, or on the couch watching something on TV. Ultimately, Danker says the goal is to “give people a magical, effortless connection to the world around them.”

“We want to continue making our music and media discovery experience seamless by reaching fans on the platforms they already know and love, so launching on Mac was a natural next step,” he told Engadget.” And of course in the fall we’ll take yet another step down this path when Shazam becomes a part of Siri with Apple’s iOS 8 launch, making it even easier for people to explore music, quite literally with the touch of a single button.” It’s available now from the Mac App Store — though, as is often the case, there’s a slight chance you won’t see it show up right away.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Audio/Video, Internet, Software, Apple

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Source: Shazam

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31
Jul

Sony makes money on movies and games, but not on smartphones


It wasn’t long ago that Sony, almost inexplicably for a company of its size and heritage, was losing money everywhere it went. After a few years of pain, however, things have begun to look up, with the company posting a first quarter net profit of around $265 million. The bulk of the good news comes from the PlayStation 4 and Sony Pictures, the company’s film and TV arm that benefited from the successes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street. The only sore point on the company’s financials is that its mobile division continued to see sales of Xperia handsets drop — a loss that even managed to offset a favorable bump in the exchange rate. The corporation is still predicting that it’ll eat around $487 million in losses across the year, so don’t be surprised if someone greenlights 23 Jump Street in the next couple of weeks.

Filed under: Cellphones, Cameras, Gaming, HD, Mobile, Sony

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Source: Sony (.PDF)

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31
Jul

Samsung sees its lowest profit in two years as smartphone sales languish


When Samsung took the time to update investors ahead of its upcoming quarterly earnings report, it warned ‘weak demand’ for phones and an increased marketing spend could hit the company hard. That report hit today, and it’s as bleak as the company expected. In its second quarter, Samsung posted profit of 6.25 trillion won ($6.1 billion), down from 7.77 trillion won ($6.96 billion) last year, its lowest quarterly profit in two years. Smartphone sales contributed the majority of its revenue, but the Samsung’s flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, languished as the iPhone continues to fly of shelves and Chinese brands cut directly into its low-end business.

As expected, Samsung blames the global slowdown of mobile sales and a strong won for its poor second quarter, noting that it spent more on marketing to shift a backlog of devices it couldn’t sell. And as fewer phones hit the market, its chip business also took a hit. With all of those factors weighing heavy on its shoulders, Samsung says that the second half of 2014 will “remain a challenge” as global competition “intensifies.” It expects mobile sales to grow in the next quarter, helped by the rollout of new flagship products, which likely includes the Galaxy Note 4, but warns it will be even harder to turn sales into profit, as the average cost of smartphones continues to fall.

With Apple rumored to be working on a bigger iPhone and its rivals eating into its market share in Asia, execs are well aware that the company has its work cut out if it’s to return to growth in its next quarter. Samsung believes introducing new technologies and adopting new designs will help, as will concentrating on a smaller number of products, suggesting we could see a whole new Samsung emerge in the coming months.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Mobile, Samsung

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Source: Samsung Tomorrow, Samsung Earnings Release

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31
Jul

Google-backed 23andMe gets public money for DNA research


Genetic testing firm 23andMe might not be in good terms with the FDA, but it impressed the National Institutes of Health enough for the agency to give it a $1.4 million grant. The money will be used for a two-year project that’ll improve the firm’s web-based genetic database and make data available (anonymously, that is) for use by external researchers. This will also allow the company to look into the association between genes and health conditions, conduct more extensive surveys to collect data, among other things that it details on its official announcement.

Haven’t heard of 23andMe before? It calls itself a “personal genetics company” that sells DNA test kits and sends customers back their genetic ancestry information and raw genetic data. It also used to issue health reports that indicate how much you’re at risk for a certain disease (cancer, for instance), but the FDA called the reports’ accuracy into question last year. The company believes this two-year project will ultimately lead to valuable information on thousands of diseases and help improve disease detection and drug development.

Filed under: Science

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Source: Reuters, 23andme, FierceHealthIT

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31
Jul

T-Mobile’s UnCarrier plans continue to surge at the expense of rivals


T-Mobile

T-Mobile keeps riding its UnCarrier plans to increased post-paid subscribers and added over a million in total for Q2 2014, including 579,000 phone subscribers. That compares to its much larger competitor Verizon, for example, which added only 304,000 net post-paid phone customers, or Sprint, which lost 180,000. It puts T-Mobile nearly on par with AT&T for the quarter, which saw 700,000 more phone customers and around a million total. Notably, AT&T recently added off-contract plan-sharing options to keep prices more in line with rivals. T-Mobile finished the quarter with just over 50 million subscribers and earned $1.4 billion, a jump of over 14.7 percent over last year. The company recently launched free iPhone test drives and music streaming that doesn’t add to data usage. T-Mobile also said that as of today, its VoLTE (Voice over LTE) coverage is now nationwide — the first carrier to achieve that status.

Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, T-Mobile

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Source: T-Mobile

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31
Jul

Tesla seals landmark deal to mass-produce EV batteries in the US


How is Elon Musk going to produce his vaunted $35,000 Tesla when EV batteries are so expensive? By making his own. Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic that’ll see the pair team up to build the Gigafactory. It’s from here that vehicle packs and cells will be mass-produced on an unprecedented scale that costs are expected to tumble. According to the announcement, Tesla will build the plant and maintain it, while Panasonic supplies the lithium cells, plant, machinery and manufacturing equipment to make the whole thing happen. The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35GWh of cells and 50GWh of power packs by 2020 and will be built just as soon as Musk and co. work out which state — Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada or Texas — depending on which has the better tax rebate renewable energy resources.

Filed under: Transportation

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Source: Tesla

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31
Jul

Amazon’s offering 30 free Android apps to help make you a better person


Another month, another batch of 30 free Android apps courtesy of Amazon. Like the bookseller’s last Appstore promotion, the “Summer Self-Improvement Bundle” features $100/£100′s worth of complimentary apps, as long as you download them within the next two days (so don’t leave it ’til the weekend, basically). On-theme apps include exercise, nutrition, sleep, budgeting and learning aids, while games such as Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Carcassonne should provide a little entertainment. Other notable freebies include Kayak Pro for travel planning and management, and popular read-it-later app Instapaper. Remember, Amazon’s Appstore is available to any Android device (some side-loading required), not that we’re saying you could use a little self-improving. You’re perfect just the way you are.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Software, Mobile, Amazon

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Source: Amazon

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31
Jul

Runtastic’s Orbit band is a fitness tracker that doubles as a running watch


Runtastic's Orbit band is a fitness tracker that doubles as a running watch

If you’ve heard of Runtastic, it probably means you’re something of a jock: The company got its start building running apps for tracking your distance, pace, et cetera. For the past two years, though, it’s been making all sorts of gear to go with it, including a GPS watch, armband, heart-rate monitor, speed sensor, bike mount and even a WiFi scale. Now the company’s rounding out its collection with something super obvious: a fitness tracker. The Orbit, as it’s called, does all the things you’d expect a fitness band to do: track your steps, calorie burn, sleep patterns. It’s waterproof up to 300 feet, meaning you can use this for swimming, in addition to jogging. It vibrates to wake you up in the morning, and when you’ve been inactive for too long. And, like competing devices, it uses Bluetooth Smart to wirelessly sync your data with either an Android or iOS app. Thanks to that low-power radio inside, battery life is rated for seven days. So far, so familiar.

What makes the Orbit slightly different, though, is that in addition to being a fairly generic fitness tracker, it doubles as a basic running watch. Once you sync the device to the Runtastic app, you can use the small screen on the band to view key stats like your distance, current pace and so on. And though the display is so small that it only shows one line of text at a time, you can press a button on the device to cycle through different metrics. It’s a neat feature for folks who would normally run with their smartphone, and who already use an app to track their distance. (In this case, of course, you’d have to use Runtastic, specifically.) Of course, if you already own a dedicated sports watch, this feature will be of little use.

Other than that, the most distinguishing thing about the Orbit might actually be the application itself. Which makes sense: This is the company’s specialty. In addition to compiling all your data into pretty graphs, the standalone Runtastic Me app can make recommendations based on your goals, and based on what’s worked for other people. So, if your goal were to have 18 percent body fat, Runtastic could tap into the habits of other people who are already that lean. In addition, the Orbit has an ambient light sensor, which means if the company wanted to, it could later add things like sunscreen reminders, depending on how much time you’ve sent in the sun. Finally, the app lets you log your mood, but more than anything, this just seems like a gimmick.

The Orbit is up for pre-order for $120, with the free Runtastic Me app available on iTunes and Google Play. As it happens, that’s slightly expensive for a fitness tracker (the Fitbit Flex, for instance, costs $100), but there’s also more in the box: two one-size-fits all band in two different colors, plus a detachable clip you can use to fasten the device to your clothes. There are also six additional colors you can buy separately, in case the standard black and blue bands aren’t doing it for you. Hopefully we’ll test one ourselves at some point, but in the meantime we’ve added device photos and screenshots so that you have a better idea of what you’re getting here.

Filed under: Wearables

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Source: Runtastic

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31
Jul

LG’s first big 4K OLED TV may have a non-ridiculous price tag


If you’re set on an OLED Ultra HDTV instead of LCD, you can now put a price and date on your idealism: LG’s 65-inch 65EC9700 4K model will reportedly ship in September with a sticker price of $8,999. Apart from those deep OLED blacks, the model also features passive 3D, Miracast/MHL and nearly invisible bezels. The first 4K OLED models, including that one, arrived earlier this year at CES, but so far none have hit stores. We also haven’t seen any pricing, other than for a few exotic models like LG’s $30,000 curved 77-inch UHDTV. Though the 65-inch model is far more reasonable, according to HD Guru, the lowest possible price (UPP) set by LG is $6,999 — still more than double LG’s 4K LCD model.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, LG

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Source: HD Guru

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