New 12″ Macbook Air leaked? Doesn’t seem likely.

9to5Mac has gotten a hold of images/rendering of the what is supposed to be the next Macbook Air. It features a 12″ screen, a smaller keyboard layout and they get rid of almost all the ports: there’s only a new type of USB connector and a 3.5mm audio jack.

In my opinion, this won’t be what the Macbook Airs will look like, for several reasons:

  • 12″ is an awkward size. They have an 11″ and a 13″ now, so that 12″ seems odd. They might make the existing screens retina-based.
  • No Thunderbolt port? I doubt it. Version 2 of the this port seems to be a better candidate.
  • There is just something odd about those renderings, almost Photoshop’ed by a non-Apple entity.
  • The power button where the ESC key goes? Not so fast, mister!

Now I’m just speculating on the speculation. Check out the full link to see all the images.

Apple sure knows how to make commercials

Say what you say about Apple, overpriced, dumb users, whatever, but you have to admit that they do know how to make a commercial, at least their ad agency does. Saw this one last night, and I have to admit, it did soften my robot heart and right after it was over, some dust got into my eye.

Are Verizon sales people detering people from buying iPhone too?

The latest report of Apple iPhone bashing comes from Jeff Stern, a college student who overheard weird sales pitches while playing with a Samsung Galaxy SIII at a Verizon store. In his blog post he points out the way Verizon store sales reps try to sell phones to people, but what really stood out was the following:

“They released the iPhone 4S because Steve Jobs died so they just threw in a couple more features and pushed it out.”
“Apple’s servers are really small and when you use Siri it normally redirects to Google anyway.”
“Every icon looks alike on your homescreen and it’s really hard to find applications.”
All things I heard salespeople say in the 40 minutes I was there. I’m certainly not an Apple fanboy. I was in your store to buy an Android phone. But you’re really trying too hard to steer people away from the iPhone and I’m not the only person that’s noticed it.

Those are statements he overheard. I don’t know if Apple bashing by sales reps is trend, widespread, or merely coincidental. Even worse, he links to another story where the same exact thing happend. Earlier this week we reported on something similar happening over at at&t stores. I really hope this is not a trend.

Via []

Phil Schiller reveals amazing stats about iPhone sales during Samsung trial

Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice president of marketing, made an astoundishing statement about the historical sales of iPhone. He declared that every new model if iPhone sells more than any other model of iPhone combined. Let’s put that into perspective: Apple has sold more iPhone 4S than iPhone 4, 3GS, 3G and original, combined.

Schiller made this statement at the end of the second full day of the Apple vs. Samsung trial, but some seem to think of the statement as an internal joke, but some analysts believe that the statement is actually true:

Though CNBC writer Jon Fortt says that Schiller’s statement was an ‘internal joke‘, this statement matches up with numbers from Matt Richman, who broke down sales by year back in January of this year, concluding that Apple had sold 93.1M iPhones in 2011, just over the amount that it sold in the period from 2007-2010. Note that Richman’s numbers include sales from the current model year as well as previous phones, so Schiller is likely referring to the sales of the current iPhone generation backed up by sales of whatever model was still selling the year before.

Not only has this trend been an anecdotal statistic, but some believe that it is what Apple tries to do with every iPhone launch. If it is true, Apple must feel pretty confident about the next generation iPhone.

Via [TheNextWeb]

Credit card fraud criminals get caught buying $1 million of Apple goods, now in jail

A group of criminals that purchased and sold Apple products using stolen credit card information has been busted. The family-oriented ring, composed of brothers, girlfriends and recruited shoppers was under investigation by the US Secret Service and the Manhattan District Attorney, and 16 people have been convicted, with 7 with pending charges.

“Bilal’s brothers, Ali, 25, Isaac, 27, and Rahim, 23, recruited the shoppers, the prosecutors said. His girlfriend, Ophelia Alleyne, 31, handled day-to-day operations in 2010, when Bilal was jailed in another case.

“This criminal organization was truly a family affair,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.”

The organization had bought $1 million worth of iPod, iPad, iPhone and Macbooks and sold them in Brooklyn, NY, for the past 4 years. Its great to see the legal system in action, and its especially comforting to see the Secret Service being in the news for work-related affairs.

Via [The Chicago Tribune]

Cross-posted from TechnologyTell.

Microsoft Surface announced. Is Microsoft taking cues from Apple?

While reading Engadget’s live coverage of Microsoft event today, I came across a statement by Steve Ballmer that sounded very Steve Jobs-esque:

“We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when every aspect of the experience, hardware and software, are considered together.”

Isn’t that what Apple has been doing since the Apple I? I mean, Apple remains in full control of their hardware and software, thus delivering a tighter integration and an overall better user experience. iOS + iPhone/iPad/iPod. OS X + Macs.

Is this statement indicative of the direction Microsoft is taking? They’ve successfully branched out into the gaming world with the Xbox, where they control the hardware and the software. It is also apparent that Microsoft is taking design cues from Apple, and its evident in the way Surface was designed from a hardware stand. Its great to see Microsoft dedicating more resources to hardware development and refinement.

Microsoft announced what appears to be a very worthy competitor in the tablet space with the Surface, but if they’re taking cues from Apple, they should’ve gone further. Let me illustrate.

-No pricing information. Will it cost $500 or $1000? The only indication is that it will cost about the same as an ultrabook. Apple’s pricing scheme is far simpler, and revealed at the announcement event. The iPad starts at $500 and the Macbook Air (the ultrabook) starts at $1000. Microsoft, pricing differentiation is huge for consumers.

-No solid availability. Around the launch of Windows 8. Very vague. Microsoft, if you want consumers to lust over your products before they’re launched, at least give them a date.

-The options aren’t clear for users. The Surface will be available in two segments, each geared towards different types of users. Surface for Windows RT tablet and a Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet. The first features an Nvidia ARM processor and the other will be a bit heavier, offer a better screen and will run on an Intel i5 chip. Apple offers 1 iPad, with celular connectivity and in different storage capacities. But in the end, its just the iPad.

I would like to also point out that Microsoft didn’t get deep into specs. How fast a processor? How much RAM? Ballmer et al didn’t mention these and it seems like a great indication that the specs race is no longer relevant and companies can focus their marketing towards user experience, which Apple has always done.

‘Those people who can stand at the intersection of the humanities and science, the liberal arts and technology, that intersection, are the people who can change the world”. -Steve Jobs

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

First off, let me preface this with a full disclosure: I am a Apple fanboy. An iSheep. A worshipper at Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ivy’s feet. I don’t mind paying a premium for an aesthetically pleasing design, impeccable packaging and a walled ecosystem.  With that in mind, I couldn’t help but notice three products introduced today that are awfully familiar with Apple’s own products. I’ll present my evidence and let you judge. Presenting exhibit A:

“Behind every great idea, there’s a great machine”. Dell introduces the XPS One line of all-in-one computers. A 27″ model, with an LED-lit 2560 x 1440 display, i5 or i7 Intel processors, a front-facing camera, a slot-loading Blu-Ray drive, mixed in with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and a lesser-spec’d 23″ model.

Clearly, Dell’s $1,350 attempt at cloning an iMac, with USB 3.0 and Blu-Ray thrown-in for good measure. Dell should change their slogan to: “Behind every great idea, there’s Dell copying it”. Let’s move over to exhibit B.

Samsung announces the Chromebox series 3, a $329 cloud-based workstation wrapped in an all-too-familiar container, specifically, the one first introduced with the Mac Mini. Engadget says it best:

Samsung’s Chromebox looks very much like a Mac mini, with the exact same 7.6-inch-square footprint, rounded corners (using a smaller radius) and silver rim (made of painted plastic instead of aluminum). It’s thinner (1.3 inches vs. 1.4 inches), lighter and eschews that unibody aluminum shell for a rather cheap looking matte black plastic top cover featuring prominent Samsung and Chrome logos. The bottom cover is similarly black — it pops open without tools and incorporates a circular ridge that doubles as a rubber foot and air vent.

A Chromebook, but without the monitor or keyboard, running the 5-second to boot Google Chrome OS. Now, lets move over to exhibit C.

Samsung annouces the Series 5 550 Chromebook, a $450 Google-cloud powered machine, complete with a wedge-line metal exterior, SSD drive and black chiclet-style keyboard.

A third generation Chromebook and Samsung proves that every generation is getting closer to Apple’s MacBook Air.

As a technology-obsessed, gadget-loving, card-carrying geek, I really don’t mind technology companies copying Apple’s designs. I really couldn’t care less. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What does make me sad is that these companies are dedicating resources to cloning instead of innovating.

I applaud Nokia and Microsoft in their effort to rethink and start from scratch, as evidenced in the Nokia Lumia 900, with a unique form factor, an OS that breaks the homescreen paradigm introduced by Apple (iOS) and copied by Google (Android), and their disregard from the on-going spec-race that Android phone manufacturers have gotten into lately. This exactly what we need more of. More unique designs. More innovation. More risk-taking. Less cloning. Less litigation.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in Apple’s world, imitation is the reason why lawyers are on speed dial.

Macbook Pro update rumors – SSD, Retina Display, Ivy Bridge, USB 3.0

Rumors and speculation regarding the updates to Apple’s line of Macbook Pro laptops continue to builds up as the inevitable refresh of Apple Macbook line starts getting closer. Some believe that Apple will eliminate the 17 inch model from their line up. Others believe that Apple will consolidate their line entirely blurring the line between the Macbook Air line and the Pro line. A completely redesigned exterior, complete with eliminated ports and a much slimmer case is also making the rumor rounds. Here is a consolidated list of rumors:

1. Retina Display: ABC News is reporting that Apple will be doubling the resolution (quadrupling the pixels) on the displays, bringing them up to Retina Display standards, at about 220 ppi pixel density. OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, already has support for higher resolution screens.

2. SSD drives: Rumor has it that Apple will use the small form factor SSD drives, like the ones currently used in Macbook Airs, standard in their Macbook Pros, bringing speed improvements to the entire line.

3. Elimination of optical drives: With the advent of the Mac App store and the decline of physical media, such as CDs and DVDs, Apple feels that removing the optical drive will allow for thinner and lighter machines.

4. Ivy Bridge processors: The latest generation Intel processors are more power efficient and they run cooler, making them the perfect match for slimmed down Macbook Pros. The addition of USB 3.0 ports and the integrated NVIDIA GTX 650M GPU will be able to drive the Retina displays without hesitation.

5. No more ethernet or Firewire ports: Thunderbolt will be used primarily as a high-speed communication pipe, instead of relying on older-generation ports. Keep in mind that those looking for backwards compatibility with their existing gear and networking will be able to use USB or Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapters and Thunderbolt to Firewire adapters, currently available.

Via [Ars Technica]

Cross-posted from TechnologyTell.