Google Earth's 3D imagery now available on iPad, iPhone


Google Earth's 3D imagery now available on iPad, iPhone

By Deborah Netburn

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Google Earth's 3D imagery is now available for the iDevices. Or at least some of them. If you have an iPad 2, an iPhone 4S or the latest iPod touch, then you can enjoy swooping virtually through detailed 3D landscapes, like the one of downtown Los Angeles pictured above.

Android users have been able to use this feature since late June, but the 3D maps were just made available to Apple users on Thursday.

To create the maps, Google uses chartered planes that snap aerial images of every street and structure in major cities from different angles, The Times reported in early June.

So far, about a dozen cities have received the Google Earth 3D map treatment, including Boulder, Colo.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Santa Cruz. Rome is the only city on the list that is not in the United States.

Google plans to keep building and releasing 3D imagery for new cities, and by the end of the year, the company hopes to have covered metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people, it wrote in a blog post about Thursday's release of 3D imagery for Apple devices.

Apple users can also access a "tour guide" feature that suggests interesting places to poke on Google Earth.

To access these tours, just pull up the tab at the bottom of the screen and open tour guide. Choose a place you'd like to visit and Google will "fly" you there. Bits of Wikipedia trivia will provide additional information and context about the place you are virtually visiting.

The tour guide is available for all iOS devices running iOS 4.2 and newer.

One bummer? The 3D maps are not available on desktops. At least, not yet.

Control Xbox with an iPhone - Apple patent reveals universal controller app

Proposed iPhone software could mimic Xbox/PS controllers

By Mike Jackson for CVG UK

Apple looks to be considering turning iPhone into a universal controller that would not only be able to operate Apple devices like Macs and Apple TV, but even your games consoles.

The patent clearly shows an iPhone being used to take control of an Xbox 360, as well as various home entertainment devices, as you would expect from a universal controller.

But more interestingly, it also shows the potential for the theoretical app to be programmable via a direct connection with an existing controller - such as a PS3 controller.

Some internet reports have interpreted the image (pictured right) as a proposal for new video game controller from Apple, but we believe it's actually demonstrating the proposed iPhone app's ability to connect with a game controller such as a DualShock (PS3) controller for calibration purposes, which would then allow it to control a PS3 - or any device related to a particular controller - as though it were the native controller belonging to that device.

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The patent brief clearly describes the software's ability to "[receive] control information associated with a controllable electronic device via near field communication, determining a control scheme for controlling the controllable electronic device based on the control information, and controlling the controllable electronic device using the determined control scheme."

The question is, would you like to operate your Xbox with an iPhone?

Burn Your iPhone With Chinese Olympic Uniforms

By William Pesek

Tonight, as American athletes enter London's Olympic Stadium, all eyes will be on China. More to the point, on the made-in-China uniforms Team USA is sporting.

Reports that Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) outsourced production of the uniforms to China has U.S. lawmakers in a lather. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the outfits should be put in a pile and burned. A new bill, the "Team USA Made in America Act," ensures athletes' attire is more politically correct for the 2014 Winter Games, which fittingly will be in Russia.

This controversy is so contrived it hurts: It's nothing more than a ready-made excuse to beat up on that economic bogeyman, China, which replaces the Soviet threat of old in a U.S. election year. Uniform-gate is just a preview of how ugly things may get and, frankly, pointless.

President Barack Obama is under pressure to explain why unemployment is still higher than 8 percent ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, must offer a vision for creating millions of jobs. Expect China to come up early and often as both men try to whip up emotions and support. Wouldn't it be better if each offered specific ways to revitalize the U.S. job market, perhaps even with China's help?

Shallow Politics

These shallow politics of the moment trivialize the most important relationship in the world and the magnitude of the real strains. The Obama and Romney teams should be brainstorming about ways to correct the global imbalances that thwart America's recovery. Xi Jinping, the man in line to be China's next president, should be telegraphing a new direction for a lopsided economy that so far can only thrive by pursuing zero- sum trade policies.

Instead, the U.S. and China are wasting time assigning blame and hoping globalization's biggest challenges work themselves out. The leadership in both countries that might develop and promote a rebalancing is nowhere in sight.

The uniforms episode reminds us that the U.S. is engaging in fatuous pandering. Consider the lack of outrage over Roots Canada Ltd., the Toronto-based company that made U.S.-team duds for the 2002 Salt Lake City Games (headed by Romney) and for Athens in 2004.

The difference is that Americans don't view Canada as a rival that threatens U.S. primacy. The U.S. doesn't fear Canada when it comes to exchange rates, cheap labor, human-rights records, military buildups, support of repressive regimes, designs on conquering space or massive stockpiles of Treasuries; that distinction is all China's.

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Yet it's hypocrisy to blame China for the U.S.'s woes. Apple Inc. probably could assemble its iPhones and iPads within driving distance of headquarters in Cupertino, California, where it dreams up these gadgets. It makes them in Shenzhen sweatshops for reasons that have more to do with the U.S. economy than China's. U.S. consumers want bargains; shareholders demand that Apple produce its goods as cheaply as possible; Americans insist on high-paying jobs, and U.S. laws prohibit China-level wages.

Consumers would be shocked to learn how many of the American flags they fly are made in China. Ditto for the Louisville Slugger baseball bats they buy for their kids and the fireworks that cities use to celebrate Independence Day. Yet these eight words explain the pros and cons of globalization: "Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China." They show why even high-tech products invented in the U.S. don't increase exports, but rather exacerbate the nation's trade deficit.

America's Capitalism

Sure, China should let its currency appreciate. Yes, it cheats on trade. Intellectual-property rights still mean little to officials in Beijing. An equally big dilemma is the direction American-style capitalism has taken during the past 20 years. The only way to reverse things is for Apple and other icons of U.S. industry to begin producing at home. And for most products, that's not about to happen, given the vast gap between U.S. and Chinese labor costs.

Looked at this way, Ralph Lauren is only doing what U.S. politicians, by way of government policies, encourage it to. Executives who denounce Obama as anti-business while gleefully pumping up profits produced abroad and squirreling away cash in tax havens should look in the mirror as they decry the lack of household demand since the 2008 financial crisis.

The U.S. doesn't have a monopoly on hypocrisy. China is indignant over the Team USA uniform uproar; the official Xinhua News Agency calls it "a blasphemy" on the Olympic spirit. Come on, the commercialization of the games and the corruption scandals that plague the International Olympic Committee should disabuse us of that. The Summer Games is "American Idol" with sneakers. And although it may shock many in China, plenty of the U.S.'s gripes are legitimate.

Devising smart policies will yield better results for the U.S. than bashing China. Striking free-trade agreements around the globe would do more good than waiting for the yuan to strengthen. So will looking for new markets. So will reviving the entrepreneurial passion that made the U.S. economy No. 1.

The key is to find ways to keep more of the jobs that some of the world's most dynamic companies create at home. Bellyaching over who dresses Team USA won't get America onto the medal podium.

Facebook Is Said to Work With HTC on Mobile Phone for Mid-2013

By Tim Culpan

Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB), owner of the largest social network, is working with HTC Corp. to build its own smartphone for release as soon as mid-2013, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The companies had intended to release the device as early as the end of this year, and pushed back the timetable to give HTC more time to work on other products, said some of the people, who requested anonymity because the plans aren't public. Facebook is also developing a modified operating system for the device and has assembled a team of former Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL) programmers to improve its iPhone application, people said.

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More than half of Facebook's 900 million users access the social network via mobile devices, while none of the $3.15 billion in advertising sales last year came from ads on phones. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg could use a Facebook phone, with social-networking features built-in, to woo marketers and assuage concerns dragging on the company's shares.

"Usage is shifting to mobile, and they have not been able to monetize mobile," said Victor Anthony, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets Inc. "To the extent that it's a device you own and carry around with you at all times, and it ties into the Facebook experience, it will be beneficial. They could then put a lot of ads onto the platform."

Sally Julien, a spokeswoman for Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC (2498), declined to comment.

Mobile Growth

Facebook stock has tumbled 23 percent since its initial public offering on May 17. The decline came in part due to concerns that the company isn't making enough money from mobile advertisers. The stock climbed 3.1 percent to $29.34 as of the close yesterday in New York.

"Our mobile strategy is simple: We think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social," Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said in a statement. "We're working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers to bring powerful social experiences to more people around the world."

Former Apple staff hired by Facebook to work on mobile are: Greg Novick, who helped develop the touch-screen user interface; Tim Omernick and Chris Tremblay, who also worked on the device's software; and Scott Goodson, who helped create the stock-market application, according to people with knowledge of the hires.

Last year, Facebook also bought Push Pop Press, a digital publishing software maker co-founded by Apple alumni Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris, two designers who helped build the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad software. Matas is credited with creating the battery logo that shows on the iPhone screen when it's charging. A longtime BlackBerry user, Mark Zuckerberg converted to an iPhone in the past couple of years.

IPhone App

This team from Apple has been primarily focused on rebuilding Facebook's iPhone application, which has been criticized by users for being slow. An initial release could be announced within a couple of months, with another broader overhaul of the iPhone app coming next near, one person said.

The company also hired several key staffers who worked on the Palm operating system for mobile phones.

Zuckerberg said earlier this month that bringing Facebook's features to handheld gadgets was difficult because the user experience is so different than on desktop computers.

Asked in an interview at the Allen & Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, about his greatest challenge right now, Zuckerberg said it was "the shift to mobile."

The New York Times reported in May that Facebook had hired a team of former Apple engineers with the goal of releasing a phone by next year. AllThingsD reported in November that a Facebook phone would debut between late 2012 and mid-2013.

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Mobile Results

Facebook started offering mobile ads in March and hasn't provided statistics on their impact. Facebook has said ad growth won't keep pace with user gains. The company is scheduled to report second-quarter results after the close of trading today.

While Facebook already has applications that run on Apple's iOS devices as well as Google Inc. (GOOG) (GOOG)'s Android mobile operating system, it is looking to embed its features deeper into mobile devices to grow advertising revenue.

While that would put Facebook into direct competition with Apple and Google, it could also help protect Facebook from their influence, said Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group.

"The fear is, Apple might extract a toll from your users," Wieser said. "Apple could tell Facebook, We are making Google+ the default. What is it worth to you to make it otherwise?"

Software Development

Facebook could use a modified version of Android for its smartphone. Android, unlike Apple's iOS, can be modified by mobile phone manufacturers or wireless carriers.

Facebook had been working with mobile device makers such as Britain's INQ Mobile Ltd. to create phones that made it easier to use social websites such as Facebook and Twitter. The new work with HTC will allow for deeper integration of Facebook features, the people said.

HTC and Facebook have collaborated closely before. Last year, HTC began selling "ChaCha," an Android-based phone with a dedicated Facebook button to share music, photos and messages.

Struggling against larger competitors in the U.S., HTC had seen its global smartphone market share shrink to 4.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 8.9 percent the year before, according to IDC.

Shares in HTC have dropped 43 percent this year after it reported three consecutive quarters of profit decline.

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Apple to argue Samsung was warned products copied iPhone, iPad


Apple to argue Samsung was warned products copied iPhone, iPad

By Salvador Rodriguez

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Documents from a federal patent infringement case involving Apple and Samsung show Apple is ready to argue the South Korean company was warned by several parties that its Galaxy products were too similar to the iPhone and iPad.

The Cupertino company's trial brief shows Apple is ready to argue that internal documents show Samsung had spoken with various parties about the resemblance of its products to Apple's.

"Samsung's documents show the similarity of Samsung's products is no accident or, as Samsung would have it, a 'natural evolution,' " the Apple brief reads, according to All Things D. "Rather, it results from Samsung's deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone's and iPad's extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface. Apple will rely on Samsung's own documents, which tell an unambiguous story."

Among those is Google, the maker of the Android operating system that powers Samsung's Galaxy devices. The Apple brief says Google told Samsung that two of its products, which would ultimately become the Tab and Tab 10.1, were too similar to the iPad. The search giant demanded Samsung make the products distinguishable from the iPad.

And it wasn't just Google who cast warnings. The South Korean company's own product design group also told the company that it was "regrettable" how similar the Galaxy S smartphone looked like older iPhones.

The warnings continued at a Samsung-sponsored evaluation where famous designers also gave the company a warning about the Galaxy S, saying it looks "like it copied the iPhone too much."

The designers also told Samsung that the Galaxy S so "[c]losely resembles the iPhone shape so as to have no distinguishable elements ... [a]ll you have to do is cover up the Samsung logo and it's difficult to find anything different from the iPhone," according to All Things D.

How to Create IPhone and IPad Apps With No Programming Skills Revealed

PR Web

Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) July 27, 2012

How to create iPhone and iPad apps is one of the most popular searches according to Google search metrics in 2012. The consistent growth of smartphone users around the world is also increasing the demand for mobile application developers. For the average person or small business owner, the traditional cost to hire an application developer to program mobile applications required a large financial investment. The company, iPhone Dev Secrets, is exposing the secrets of building iPhone and iPad apps in a new report written exclusively for those with no application programming experience. The information contained in the report is designed to make it effortless for anyone to release an application paid or public domain in 30-days or less.

There are now over 300 million mobile phone users in the U.S. and a large portion of them use the iPhone or iPad created by Apple. As pioneers of the mobile application market, Apple technology developers are in constant demand by corporations to develop useful applications to increase company awareness and profits. The cost of attending a 4-year university to learn mobile application programming or to hire a freelancer with business experience is causing more people to search for alternative options for app creation. "I created this course so others could learn from my errors, mistakes and failures," said Mike Belkin, co-creator and marketer of iPhone Dev Secrets.

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Some companies and entrepreneurs create mobile apps to open a line of communication with customers. Other business owners understand the profit potential that an iPhone or iPad app can have on a monthly or annual basis. Apple's iTunes App Store is now the leading supplier of mobile apps in the world with over four billion apps sold to consumers in 2011. The price range of $.99 for some apps to as much as $100 is helping app creators to cash in on the sale of customized applications to a global audience. Companies that have an app created can bypass the traditional sales and marketing channels that a product must go through offline by selling direct from the iTunes App Store.

Sales of the widely popular Angry Birds app that was released in the fall of 2009 has now surpassed 10 million dollars in revenue for Electronic Arts. The original application creator, Chillingo, was purchased by Electronic Arts in 2010 and the Angry Birds app was globally distributed. As the sale and distribution of apps continue, learning to create custom applications with little to no investment could be a prosperous venture for a business owner or person that wants to learn the app making industry from the ground up. More information about the no experience iPhone and iPad app maker report can be obtained from the company website.

BEIJING, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- 4Videosoft, an innovative software provider of DVD/video converters, iPad/iPhone/iPod transfer software, PDF software and system utilities for both Windows and Mac users, recently updated iPhone Transfer Platinum. After the upgrade, 4Videosoft iPhone Transfer Platinum fully supports adding, deleting, importing, exporting, restoring and searching contacts.

4Videosoft iPhone Transfer Platinum is a comprehensive and advanced iPhone file transfer software, which can easily transfer all iPhone files to a computer and import local disc files to an iPhone without missing items. The transferring files include music, movies, ringtones, camera rolls, photos, TV shows, podcasts, iTunes Us, ePubs, PDFs, audio books, voice memos, SMS (MMS) and contacts. It has the ability of editing iPhone 3D info such as name, artist, album, track number, lyrics, etc.

After this major update, 4Videosoft iPhone Transfer Platinum newly added the contacts capabilities so that you can freely edit your contacts (add and delete), export and import contacts, restore contacts and search the contacts you need. This program allows you to export and import both .csv contacts and .vcf contacts. You can choose to export one single contact or all contacts listed in your iPhone as well. The updated iPhone Transfer Platinum also supports iMessage and Photo Stream function.

Additionally, 4Videosoft iPhone Transfer Platinum gives a big hand to convert DVD and video files to iPhone supported formats for iPhone users to fully enjoy movies and music on their iPhone. It also has versatile editing tools to customize the output iPhone video like effects, trimming, cropping, merging and adding watermarks, etc. You can choose to store the converted file in "My Cache" after conversion then transfer to the iPhone later.

4Videosoft iPhone Transfer Platinum is the comprehensive iPhone transfer software to fully enrich your iPhone life.

System Requirements

OS Supported: Windows XP (SP2 or later), Windows Vista, Windows 7Hardware Requirements: 800MHz Intel or AMD CPU, or above; 512MB RAM or more

Russell Brand to do community service over iPhone toss

By Kathy Finn

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British comedian and actor Russell Brand was ordered by a judge to do 20 hours of community service and pay a fine of $500 in New Orleans on Thursday over a charge related to throwing a photographer's iPhone through a window.

A lawyer for the brash "Get Him to the Greek" film star entered a plea of not guilty in New Orleans Municipal Court on a misdemeanor charge related to the phone-throwing incident. Brand, 37, did not appear in court.

After the plea was entered, the judge ordered the community service as an alternative to criminal prosecution. If Brand completes the community service, the charges will be dismissed.

Brand's lawyer, Robert Glass, told Reuters his client could complete the community service "at any charity or agency anywhere, whether it be California or England." An August 31 hearing date was set to report on the status of the community service.

New Orleans police arrested Brand on March 15 after a photographer accused the comedian of grabbing his iPhone and tossing it through a window, breaking the glass in a downtown law office.

Brand was charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal damage to property and released shortly after his arrest.

The charge of simple criminal damage to property valued under $500 carries a potential penalty of up to six months in prison and/or a $500 fine.

Brand has had other brushes with the law, including in 2010, when he was arrested for an attack on a paparazzo at a Los Angeles airport. Last year, he was deported from Japan over his criminal history when he tried to visit his then-wife Katy Perry on her concert tour in the country.

iPhone fails botany - is Siri to blame?

Siri was wrong?

You serious?

That bot in the Apple iPhone who goes and gets everything for you? Who can find you a restaurant, bathroom, stock quote - or tell a good joke, as Siri tells John Malkovich in one TV ad?

Lena Struwe, associate professor of botany and director of the Chrysler Herbarium at Rutgers University, was flying to a botany conference and idly paging through the July issue of the Economist, when she saw the ad.

We're in the woods, and luckily we have a brand-new iPhone 4S. We have evidently just asked it, "What does poison oak look like?"

Our helpful iPhone says, "This might answer your question," and an image appears, labeled "POISON OAK."

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Except . . . it's not.

Silly Siri. It's poison ivy.

"I saw the ad," says Struwe, "and I said, 'This doesn't look right.' I sent it to the botanist community, which led to a discussion. And it turns out it's poison ivy, not poison oak."

(She has just returned from taking a Brazilian colleague for a tour of the on-campus Helyar Woods, where, she says, "there's lots of poison ivy.")

The image was posted on the photo-sharing site Flickr and passed around, as usual. The photo in the ad evidently was taken from a Wikipedia article. Poison oak doesn't grow west of the Rockies.

To be fair to Siri, maybe it wasn't her/his/its fault. "I can't tell whether it's Apple, or whether it's the ad agency that created the ad," says Struwe. "You'd think they would have run it by a botanist or a naturalist, but they did not."

Apple Inc. works closely with the Media Lab of longtime chief advertiser TBWA/Chiat/Day in creating its advertising campaigns.

Struwe tried asking her iPhone about poison oak, and she reports that "you don't get that answer now . . . it's a different picture." She also speculates that the answer "might be different in different locales, so if you ask here in New Jersey or out in California, maybe you get a different answer."

A couple of blogs have picked up on the error. Kim Kastens, writing in Earth and Mind: The Blog, joins Struwe in being amazed at so many smart people (and one bot?) making such an error: Well-educated young people, Kastens writes, "are not getting much exposure to nature or natural history, either in school or informally. It's their loss, but also the planet's loss."

Struwe says the same thing, and adds: "If you ran an ad set in the 1950s, but put in it a car from the 1960s, someone surely would notice such a thing, because people care. Evidently, people don't care about this. We have lost a connection to our natural surroundings, in this case, information about a plant that could really hurt you."

She learned about poison ivy the hard way. They don't have it in Sweden, "but when I came here," she says, with a laugh, "I found out."

Teleport to London, Paris, Madrid, Rome with the Unique iPhone App

MONTREAL, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- This summer, teleport to PARIS, LONDON, ROME, MADRID and numerous other cities with the new Unique iPhone App. 5 hours+ of interactive and downloadable video clips allowing you to savor some of the world's most unique places - restaurants, cafes, bars, experiences - and the people behind them. Famous chefs, restaurateurs, and barmen tell you all about their passions while you meet tons of charming locals. Download here:

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"The Web and mobile devices have triggered a real mutation in the world of travel," asserts Paul Verdy, president and founder of Unique. "In order to meet the needs of the nomads that we've all become, Unique intends to reinvent the destination guide. Our microguides are a completely multimedia-driven experience, teeming with videos and with interactions that bring to life key addresses in the world's biggest cities. This whole endeavour was expressly conceived with computers, tablets, and smartphones in mind; this is the era of Apple. Our microguides are short and pack a wallop; this is the era of Twitter. Lastly, our microguides are also 'your microguides'. Everyone can easily create and share their own recommendations with their friends and their networks; this is the era of Facebook. It is," Paul Verdy concludes, "this innovative hybrid between content put together by an editorial team, as well as a passionate community, that truly makes us Unique."

iPhone app in Apple's App Store found to contain… Windows malware?

By: Zach Epstein

Apple's (AAPL) stiff rules and extensive testing procedures have done a great job of keeping malware out of the iOS App Store. With just a few notable exceptions, iOS users have been able to download apps without having to worry that their personal data or their device itself might be compromised. As discovered by users and recently noted in Apple's own support forum, however, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad owners who download apps using iTunes on Windows PCs might want to start exercising some caution.

Sophos's Naked Security blog on Wednesday noted that a live app in Apple's iOS App Store has been found to contain malware. Not iOS malware, however… Windows malware.

The app in question, dubbed "Instaquotes-Quotes Cards For Instagram," was found to contain a Windows virus called Worm:Win32/VB.CB or Worm.VB-900. It is not clear if the worm was deliberately planted by the app's developer or if it was an accident caused by an infection on the developer's computer.

"Instaquotes-Quotes Cards For Instagram" was initially made available in the App Store on July 19th, and Apple removed it on July 24th two hours after it was discovered to contain malicious code.

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