whats known and unknown

Amazon listings hint at new Apple TV


There’s no rumor like an Apple (S AAPL) TV rumor: Refreshed Apple TV hardware could be available as early as next week, if we trust hints on Amazon’s (S AMZN) German and French websites. Both sites briefly listed the current-generation Apple TV as unavailable this week, stating that they’d be able to ship the device again on October 23.

Of course, that could mean many things. Maybe people in Europe have just been buying too many Apple TVs, and Amazon is waiting for the next shipment to arrive. But the folks over at Apple Insider were quick to point out that October 23 is just one day after the next Apple press event, which the company scheduled for next Tuesday.

Apple is widely expected to introduce new iPads that day, but the company could also use the event to introduce an update to its Apple TV streaming box. This…

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Report shows Apple iPhone 5s outselling iPhone 5c by more than double


Apple’s(s aapl) latest iPhones have been flying off store shelves, and anecdotally, the iPhone 5s seems to be the hardest-to-find iPhone yet. That seems to corroborate with a survey from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), which shows that the iPhone 5s is outselling the iPhone 5c by more than two to one.

According to the survey, taken at the end of September, the iPhone 5s accounts for 64 percent of Apple’s iPhone sales since its launch. The iPhone 5c, meanwhile, captured 27% of buyer’s dollars, while the iPhone 4s quietly sits at 9 percent.

iPhone 5s CIRP figures

These results are actually quite similar to the same cycle last recorded by CIRP, which showed 68 percent of buyers opting for the then-new iPhone 5, 23 percent getting the iPhone 4s, and 9 percent going for the iPhone 4.

What’s surprising, though, is that this is the first time Apple has introduced two new…

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The designers of Tesla cars & Xbox One join our RoadMap conference


Tesla (s TSLA) has been using the design and connectivity of its cars to change transportation. Microsoft (s MSFT) has been disrupting entertainment with the design and connectivity of its game consoles. That’s why we invited the designers of Tesla’s cars — Franz von Holzhausen — and Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Xbox One — Carl Ledbetter — to speak at our annual experience design conference RoadMap.

Tesla Model SRoadMap will take place on November 5th and 6th in San Francisco at the awesome Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater. Franz and Carl will both do onstage interviews about their inspirations, their design philosophies, how to meld design and engineering into a commercial product and how connectivity changes all of this. And of course we’ll try to pick their brains on their companies’ upcoming product releases. You’ll be able to ask questions, too!

RoadMap is focused on experience design and throughout the…

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HTC announces One Max with fingerprint sensor and 5.9-inch display


After a long month of leaks, the HTC One Max is finally here, and it’s pretty much everything we expected. HTC’s first true “phablet” features a humongous 5.9-inch display and rear-mounted fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone.

Essentially, the One Max is a very large version of the 4.7-inch HTC One released earlier this year, but a few interesting changes have been made in addition to the increase in size. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, and HTC’s Fingerprint Scan feature lets you use this sensor to unlock the phone. You can also launch different apps quickly by assigning an app to an individual finger. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any functionality to enter your fingerprint in place of passwords like you can on the iPhone 5s(s aapl).

The phone is also running HTC’s new Sense 5.5 software, which we also saw…

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Facebook buys data compression specialist Onavo to aid its Internet.org quest


Facebook(s fb) has bought Onavo, an Israeli firm that helps people use less data on their Android and iOS mobile devices. The purchase fits in nicely with Facebook’s quest to bring the internet to more of the developing world.

Like Blaast and Snappli, Onavo uses compression technology to cut down on data usage. In much of the developing world, mobile data costs a lot more than it does in, say, the U.S. or Europe, so this approach has great appeal (though it is obviously used by people in the “developed” world too, particularly with those trying to minimize roaming fees).

Onavo’s investors have included Horizons Ventures, Motorola(s goog) Mobility Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Magma Venture Partners. There is no stated figure for the takeover, but Israeli publication Calcalist puts it at $150-200 million.

In a blog post on Sunday, Onavo CEO Guy Rosen said his team was…

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Mark Hurd as Microsoft CEO? Gimme a break.


Here’s an eye opener. Oracle(s orcl) co-president Mark Hurd is among eight external CEO candidates contacted by Microsoft(s msft) board members, according to a Wall Street Journal report (registration required).

Most of the other named candidates are pretty well known already — alleged front-runner Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford(s f), and Nokia exec Stephen Elop, as well as internal prospects Satya Nadella and Tony Bates.

But Hurd? Geez. His name surfaces every time a high-profile CEO slot opens up — or might open up. The reason? Hurd was a CEO who is now co-president at Oracle, sharing duties with Safra Catz. And Oracle’s current CEO, Larry Ellison, seemingly has no intention of retiring. Ever. Conventional wisdom holds that Hurd wants to be a CEO again — of something big, and Microsoft for all its issues, is very, very big.

Hurd was CEO at Hewlett Packard(s hpq) before a sexual…

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Android this week: Candy Crush on your wrist; SMS in Hangouts; Twitter for tablets


The ability to modify Android(s goog) devices is a key feature that tinkerers can appreciate. Take the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, for example: Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica found it was relatively easy to sideload Android apps on the small wearable device. Aside from installing a few apps and watching a video, he can use the tiny touchscreen to play Candy Crush.

The process for app installation requires the Android SDK on a computer and enabling “USB Debug” mode on the Galaxy Gear. After that, a simple command will push and install the .apk app file of your choice. While the usefulness is limited, this speaks to how flexible Android can be.

Speaking of flexible, the Google Hangouts app looks to be gaining a new feature in the near future. A leaked image shows SMS integration into Hangouts. The app has already taken the place of Google Talk…

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Spy court suspends surveillance fight between US and tech firm until end of government shutdown


Tech companies like Google(s goog) and Yahoo(s yhoo) want to disclose the number of requests they receive under a controversial surveillance program, but the Justice Department is opposing the demand lest “adversaries” change their behavior because they know the government is spying on them.

The whole matter is being hashed out before America’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but it looks like the process will take a little longer: on Friday, the spy court issued an order, at the request of both sides, that stays the proceedings until furloughed lawyers can return to work and figure out how to move forward.

In the words of the court, the whole thing is on hold until “Department of Justice attorneys are permitted to resume their civil litigation functions and consult with [the tech companies over] access to classified information.”

So, to recap: the government required tech firms to participate in a…

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The Panopticon Is Extremely Convenient (So Use Facebook, Google, And Chrome)


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Marc Andreessen: Series A Investments Are Still The Bread And Butter Of A16Z


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Is Samsung planning to introduce the Galaxy S 5 in January?


Will Samsung’s next big Galaxy go into orbit soon than expected? A report on South Korean news site Naver suggests that Samsung could be readying the Galaxy S 5 for a launch as soon as January 2014, with a release to follow in February.

The reason for the rush? Weaker-than-anticipated sales for the Galaxy S 4. Business Insider recently reported that Samsung missed its sales targets for the Galaxy S 4 and must rely on its components supply arm to balance out its earnings. Introducing the Galaxy S 5 sooner than later could turn this around.

Of course, you should take this news with a major grain of salt, as Samsung is expected to report record-breaking third-quarter earnings, likely due in part to the popularity of the Galaxy S 4.

In addition to a potential January announcement, the report tips a 64-bit octo-core Exynos processor and a 16-megapixel…

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Study shows apps are twice as likely to crash on the iPhone 5s


If you’re using an iPhone 5s(s aapl), apps are twice as likely to crash for you as they are on an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 5c, according to a new study by app performance monitoring company Crittercism. All Things D spoke with Crittercism, which shared details from the study and offered some possible explanations.

Crittercism has monitored hundreds of millions of app launches since the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s became available, and observed that apps have a typical crash rate of around one percent for the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5c. On the iPhone 5s, on the other hand, apps crash two percent of the time.

What makes the iPhone 5s more prone to crashes? “Anytime there is new hardware or software release, we see issues,” Crittercism’s CEO Andrew Levy told All Things D. “Inevitably, over time, those issues get resolved.”

Levy suggests that while developers…

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No, Samsung did not acquire a Swedish fingerprint-scanning firm


A PR kerfuffle has sent one Swedish company to scramble to call the authorities and issue a retraction regarding news that it had been acquired by Samsung.

BusinessWire released a press release this morning that stated Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards was acquired by Samsung for $650 million in cash. The article was reported at The Verge, among other places, which all largely hinted at the notion that the scanning technology would be likely used in later generation cellphones to perhaps compete with the iPhone.

It’s all well and good, except it’s not true.

According to a report by Reuters, Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlstrom said that the company has not been in discussion with Samsung over acquisition and the press release was totally false. Carlstrom claims that the press release was the result of failed orchestration by PR News company Cision, and not written by anyone at the company. For its…

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Best Buy offering free iPhone 5c, $100 iPhone 5s for trading in your old smartphone


In its latest attempt to rustle up iPhone(s aapl) buyers, Best Buy(s bby) is offering a new promotion, and it’s a good one: From October 13 – October 19, Best Buy will give you a guaranteed $100 credit for trading in your old smartphone, good towards the purchase of an iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s.

Best Buy currently offers the iPhone 5c for $99.99 and the iPhone 5s for $199.99 with a two-year contract. This promotion effectively renders the iPhone 5c free and the iPhone 5s $99.99. According to Best Buy, the offer is good for “any working smartphone” as long as it is “free from water damage and screen cracks.” If your old phone is determined to be worth more than $100, Best Buy will give you the difference in the form of a gift card.

Given the relative scarcity of the iPhone 5s, Best Buy will give…

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McDonald’s is giving away ebooks, including one about a goat who eats too much


McDonald’s (s MCD) has faced pressure for marketing salty, fatty food at kids and for giving away plastic toys that essentially amount to landfill in its Happy Meals. Now the company is attempting to address both issues with a new campaign that focuses on books and nutrition.

The fast food chain will also release a free ebook, in partnership with DK Publishing, every month starting in November through the end of 2014. This is in addition to a two-week campaign that will include self-published print books, instead of toys, with Happy Meals for two weeks starting November 1.

The ebooks can be downloaded from HappyMeal.com and from the McPlay kids’ app (yes, McDonald’s has a kids’ app). The first ebook, DK’s World’s Greatest Cities, is available for download now as a PDF.

By the way, if you don’t have kids and haven’t bought a Happy Meal in awhile, you’ll…

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Patent troll sues car-sharing services Uber and Lyft over notification software


Car-sharing services, which let users summon a ride with a smartphone app, are soaring in popularity and recently received a green light to operate in California. Those rides could get more expensive, however, as a result of a shell firm that claims it owns patents for tracking cars.

In a series of lawsuits filed in Los Angeles, Eclipse IP LLC demands money and injunctions to shut down the car services Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Ridecharge.

The lawsuits claim that the car companies’ apps, which let users summon drivers and see where they are, violate four patents dating from 2003. They include US Patent 7482952, whose claims include descriptions like:

“method for a computer-based notification system, comprising the steps of: scheduling an arrival or departure time for a mobile thing (MT) in relation to a stop location; scheduling a notification communication to a personal communications device (PCD)”

The patents were transferred…

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Apple on iMessage woes: Message received, we’re working on it


Apple(s aapl) is aware of iMessage issues affecting iOS 7 users, telling the Wall Street Journal that only “a fraction of a percent” of iMessage users are affected. Customers on message boards have been reporting the problem with some saying the issue began after iOS 7.0.2. Regardless of when it started or what software version introduced the problem, Apple is working on a fix.

The problem, if you haven’t seen it, is that iMessages are sometimes not sent although they initially appear to be. Later a warning message indicates the iMessage didn’t go through and users are asked to resend it. Reported workarounds for now include disabling iMessage, resetting the network settings on the iOS device and then re-enabling the app. A more brute force method of restarting the mobile device reportedly also works.

With two software updates to iOS 7 just two weeks after launch — and…

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Sorry, the rumored retina iPad Mini has been delayed


The long-buzzed about iPad Mini with retina display didn’t make an appearance at the latest Apple(s aapl) event in September, and it’s likely that the world won’t see it until the new year. Reuters reports that delays on display manufacturing in China have crippled production, making it near impossible to do a full roll-out for the holiday season. If the iPad Mini retina does appear, expect limited quantities, long lines, and a bit of heartbreak.

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Hulu Plus adds Chromecast support for the big screen


Good news for Hulu Plus subscribers hit the airwaves on Wednesday: Google announced support for Hulu Plus on its $35 Chromecast device. Instead of watching video content from the online provider on an Android(s goog) smartphone, tablet or Apple(s aapl) iPad, folks can shoot Hulu Plus to an HDTV.

To get the new wireless streaming function, users will need to upgrade their Hulu Plus mobile app to the latest version, which now includes a one-touch Chromecast button to enable streaming. As with other Chromecast streaming services, Hulu Plus will actually shoot video from the cloud to the Chromecast, but the smartphone or tablet used to start the stream can act as a remote control for playback.

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Amazon: FREE $3 MP3 Credit with Purchase of Select Gift Cards (Subway, Dominos, Regal Cinemas + More)


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