Thursday, October 3, 2013

Apple Acquires Cue Personal Assistant App




Apple has acquired the Cue personal assistant app and removed it from the App Store, according to a TechCrunch report.

The Cue website offers the following statement:

---
We appreciate all of the support from you, our users, as Cue has grown over the last few years. However, the Cue service is no longer available.

Cue Premium users who registered through the website will receive a prorated refund. Cue Premium users registered though the iPhone App can request a refund through iTunes. In accordance with our privacy policy, your data and personal information will not be stored or transferred; it has been permanently deleted.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you. It’s been an incredible journey that wouldn’t have been possible without your loyal support.

Our sincerest thanks,
- The Cue Team
---

TechCrunch notes that the company was backed by SV Angel, Sequoia Capital, Lerer Ventures and Index Ventures in addition to some notable angels. Their sources say the acquisition price was around $50-60 million. AppleInsider sources say it was at least $35 million.

It's thought that Cue's technology could be used to accurately portray what you have going on in the Notification Center's Today section.

Here's the app's description:

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Cue helps you get the most out of your day. With Cue, you can spend more time enjoying your life and less time shuffling through your accounts and apps for the things you need. Cue intelligently ties together and surfaces useful information at the right time across all your accounts. From email, contacts and calendars to Facebook posts, Dropbox files and LinkedIn -- Cue makes it easy to contact the people you care about, get to where you are going, and to know what’s next.

Cue Features:
- Turn your email, contacts and calendar into an intelligent snapshot of your day.
- Enhance your calendar by automatically connecting related emails, phone numbers, and addresses.
- Change or cancel reservations, check into flights, track the arrival of packages, or text friends that you are running late.
- See up-to-date contact info alongside recent communications and the contact’s latest posts on Facebook and Twitter.














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Cupertino Planning Council Approves Apple's New Campus Ahead of City Council Vote




The Cupertino, California planning commission has approved Apple's plans for its new 'spaceship' headquarters, reports CNET.

On Tuesday, the company made one last plea to the community at a public discussion, and Wednesday's recommendation paves the way for a vote by the Cupertino city council on October 15 and a final vote on May 19.

The campus will supplement Apple's current location at 1 Infinite Loop. A pet project of Steve Jobs, the ring shaped structure looks much like a spaceship and will occupy land originally owned by HP. Originally, the campus was intended to accommodate 6,000 employees; however, that has now increased to 14,000. Its cost has also ballooned to around $5 billion.

At the meeting, Apple presented a video which introduced lead architect Norman Foster and others in charge of development. Notably, the film said the shape of the structure wasn't the original vision but "t really grew into that born out of an intensive process". The development will take place in two stages. The first will take 32 months and the second will start shortly after.

Although, the planning council has approved the build, Cupertino city council must vote to approve the project on October 15 and then another final vote will be taken on May 19th.








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Apple Hires Cable Industry Veteran to be 'Part of Something Big'




Apple has hired former CableLabs exec Jean-François Mulé as an engineering director, reports MultiChannel.

Mulé shared word of his new role at the consumer electronics and media company on LinkedIn, noting in a post that he joined Apple last month and will be “challenged, inspired and part of something big” at Apple. CableLabs is looking to hire a replacement for Mulé, CableLabs VP of communications Wayne Surdam said via email.

It's unclear what Mule will specifically be working on; however, Apple has recently been pushing out improvements to its Apple TV and is even rumored to be releasing a hardware update soon.


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iPad 5 and iPad Mini to Feature 8-Megapixel Rear Cameras?




According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini could feature an improved 8 Megapixel camera.

The current iPad and iPad Mini both sport a 5MP camera with an f/2.4 aperture, so an 8PM camera upgrade like the one found in the iPhone 5s would be a welcomed addition. The camera on the iPad has not been updated since the third-generation was launched back in March of 2012, so an upgrade is likely.

We predict Apple (US) will launch new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 (so called retina iPad mini) in 4Q13. As the tablet market becomes increasingly competitive, Apple could upgrade the camera as a selling point for the new iPad in a bid to increase competitiveness. We expect the upgrade will include 8MP rear camera, up from 5MP, and larger aperture. Lens module ASP will rise 10-20% on this optics spec upgrade.

The iPhone 5s came with other camera enhancements as well, such as a larger 2.2 aperture and bigger 1.5 micron pixels. However, It is not clear if we will see all the 5s improvements and features such as slow motion video in the next iPads.

Both the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad Mini are expected to be released before the end of the year. Reports are already claiming that a Retina iPad Mini would be in extremely short supply if launched this year -- but an unveiling is rumored to happen this month.


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iOS 7 Update Removed Supervision Profiles From School iPads




School administrators have discovered that the iOS 7 software update removed supervision profiles installed on iPads to filter content and provide remote-management privileges, reports AllThingsD.

“Apple did not realize that installing iOS 7 would remove our (and thousands of organizations across the country) safety protection measure, which now makes the iPad devices unfiltered when accessing the Internet away from school,” said a memo from the Manitou Springs (Colo.) School District 14 to parents, verified by AllThingsD. “In the short term, the district will be collecting iPad devices at the end of each day until the safety protection measure is reinstalled.”

Apparently schools across the country are struggling with the issue. Some have altered their DNS to block Apple's over-the-air update.

“When we first caught wind of the bug, I tweaked our DNS to stop iPads from checking for software updates,” said a school administrator. “That helped us to keep a lot of our iPads running iOS 6.1.3. We plan to maintain those settings until Apple addresses the issue.”

Apple has confirmed the problem and says a fix will be issued this month.

“Some business and education users have reported that their supervised devices have reverted to unsupervised when they upgrade to iOS 7,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “We are aware of this issue, and will have a fix this month.”


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Qualcomm Says Apple's 64-Bit A7 Processor is a 'Marketing Gimmick'




Qualcomm SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Anand Chandrasekher says Apple's 64-bit A7 processor is just a 'marketing gimmick', reports TechWorld.

"I know there's a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Qualcomm, in an interview. "I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There's zero benefit a consumer gets from that."

Chandrasekher notes that while 64-bit allows for more memory addressability the iPhone 5s only has 1GB.

"Predominantly... you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB. That's it. You don't really need it for performance, and the kinds of applications that 64-bit get used in mostly are large, server-class applications," said Chandrasekher.

Despite the comments, Qualcomm says it will eventually move to a 64-bit processor due to benefits from engineering, chip design and OSes standpoints.


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Google Acquires Flutter Hand Gesture Detection App for OS X




Google has acquired Flutter, an app for OS X and Windows that uses your computers webcam to detect hand gestures.

Flutter is Kinect for OS X. It uses HAND GESTURES detected via built-in webcam in your device to play, pause and skip songs & videos in iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, MPlayerX (most recent version), VLC (more recent version), Ecoute, Quicktime, Keynote, YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, and Grooveshark.

Google confirmed the acquisition to TNW saying, "We’re really impressed by the Flutter team’s ability to design new technology based on cutting-edge research. We look forward to supporting and collaborating on their research efforts at Google."

Flutter says users will be able to continue to use the app, and stay tuned for future updates.

Features:
- Play/Pause your music & videos using simple hand gestures (palm gesture)
- Go to Next Song (thumbs right) or rewind to Previous Song (thumbs left) (Note: First thumbs left gesture takes you to beginning of song. Another thumbs left performed quickly jumps to the previous song)
- Works via your webcam -- no additional hardware necessary
- Works best from 1-6 feet distance from webcam
- Works even when Spotify, iTunes, Rdio, and other apps are playing music/video in the background or are minimized

You can purchase Flutter from the App Store for $4.99.





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New iPad Mini S and iPad Mini C Concepts




Martin Hajek has released new renders of concept iPad Mini S and iPad Mini C devices.

I’ve been rendering the iPad mini 2 for a while now, even before certain Australian ‘leakers’ showed us that it would come in gold :-)

The question that I asked myself is; will Apple follow a similar S / C strategy for the iPad (mini) as it has for the iPhone 5? In any case – nice to see such a colorful iPad mini!

Apple is rumored to be releasing a new Retina Display iPad mini 2; however, due to manufacturing delays, it's unclear when that device will actually ship.











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