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Apple gets patent for 3-year-old smartwatch design labeled ‘iTime’

IDG News Service

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office served up further evidence on Tuesday that Apple is designing a smartwatch when it awarded the company a patent for a wrist-worn gadget with a touchscreen and ability to communicate with a smartphone.

“The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch,” wrote Apple in the filing for U.S. Patent 8,787,006, which was submitted in July 2011 but made public on Tuesday.

The patent doesn’t give much away about any commercial product that might be planned by Apple, but it does provide an insight into the way the company was thinking in 2011.

It describes “an electronic wristband to be worn on a wrist of a user” that has a receptacle for a “mobile electronic device.” That mobile device is a small display module that can be clipped into the wristband when needed.

The display portion is a mobile device in its own right and functions while not clipped into the wristband. Once connected together, the wristband and mobile device form a smartwatch that can communicate with a second device such as a phone, tablet PC or desktop computer. the patent said.

The wristband might include haptic sensors that allow for control with gestures “with one’s arm or wrist.”

“For example, the gesture might be a horizontal movement for one user input option (e.g., decline incoming call), and might be a vertical movement for another user input option (e.g., accept incoming call). For example, the gesture might be a single shake (or bounce, tap, etc.) of the user’s wrist for one user input option (e.g., accept incoming call), and might be a pair of shakes (or bounces, taps, etc.) for another user input option (e.g., decline incoming call),” the filing reads

In some of the drawings that make up the patent, the watch device is labeled “iTime,” although that name isn’t claimed as a trademark with the USPTO.

“Portable electronic devices are commonplace today,” Apple wrote in the document. “In some cases these portable electronic devices can be carried by a user with relative ease, placed in a pocket of user’s clothing, or clipped onto the user or the user’s clothing. Some portable electronic devices are small enough to be worn by a user.”

“Additionally, accessories have been utilized to provide additional functionality to portable electronic devices,” it said. “There are, however, continuing needs to make portable electronic devices smaller and more portable. There is also a continuing need to enhance functionalities of portable electronic devices.”

While Apple hasn’t publically acknowledged it is working on a smartwatch, a number of leaks from the company have suggested one is under development.

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The 5 biggest myths of modern advertising

Digiday

Industry sage Jeremy Bullmore’s recent takedown of big data, the latest craze to sweep the ad industry, provides exactly the sort of sensible commentary the industry has been lacking of late. As the industry adapts to digital, the scale of the hyperbole too often outweighs the profoundness of the changes in the marketplace.

Taking inspiration from Bullmore, here are five other hyperbolic statements about the future of advertising that need calling out.

1. TV is dead.
More people watch more TV now than ever before, both in the U.S. and U.K., and they watch it more often and for longer; as a result, TV advertising has never been more valuable. Audiences are more thinly scattered, true. People consume TV content on more devices. Despite the doom and gloom about ad-skipping, most are still viewed. TV is here to stay, but we’d be wise to migrate our way of thinking from TV to video. The notion of “television” generates false boundaries to what’s possible with video advertising when you now consume video in so many new ways.

2. Consumers want conversations with brands.
This is a soundbite so good it scatters the slides of presentations around the world, untainted by the inconvenience of not being based on any facts, or observed behavior. We can see a handful of inane comments that respond to a fabric softener’s question on Facebook if people like Fridays, but the conversations I most often see are those of disgruntled customers, given the microphone to complain that Twitter provides. It strikes me overwhelmingly, with remarkably few exceptions, that for most brands, people want an outcome or resolution, or perhaps information and not a conversation.

3. Brands must create great content
Content marketing is not the answer to all brands’ problems. I don’t look for a beer brand to do a better job of finding me a good bar to go to, or a coffee brand to entertain me. We live in an age with endless, incredible content, where our phones give us access to everything ever made, at any moment in time, normally for free. Brands must find a voice in a world where people are looking to reduce distractions, not seek even more entertainment.

Yes, content must provide value and it should be well made — but it’s not as simple as that. Successful content is likely to be highly personal, distributed well using social connections, and be time- and context-dependent. Branded content is not meritocratic — you can’t say any one piece of content is “better” than another. Perhaps the real test of content is when it’s served, how, who it reaches and what value that provides.

4. Advertising is about storytelling.
Advertising types are wonderful salespeople — so much so, that we’ve bought our own lies. It’s lovely to think of brands as storytellers, and for some brands in some markets this is possible. But let’s not delude ourselves that advertising is not about selling stuff.

5. Advertising spend should be correlated with consumers’ time spent with media.
As an industry, we are obsessed with reaching people wherever they are, but we’ve never used empathy to establish how appropriate that moment is. As the world evolves to spend more time on mobile and online, we’ve assumed the money must follow. Media spend projections for the future bear no resemblance to what seems to be working or not working, and how it’s even possible to spend this much money in these channels.

Things are changing, but we need nuance and wisdom. While nobody gets famous or a promotion saying things are complex or largely unchanged, it’s closer to the truth.

Chrome gets sharp after dumping 30-year-old Windows technology

IDG News Service

Google last week said that it was finally ditching a 30-year-old technology to display fonts on Web pages in its Chrome browser for Windows.

In an announcement Thursday about some of the notable changes in Chrome for version 37, which reached Google’s Beta build channel earlier that day, a software engineer said the preview relied on Microsoft’s DirectWrite technology.

“Chrome 37 adds support for DirectWrite, an API on Windows for clear, high-quality text rendering even on high-DPI displays,” said Emil Eklund in a July 17 blog post.

Microsoft introduced the DirectWrite API with Windows 7, which shipped in the fall of 2009, and back-ported the technology to Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) at the same time with what it called a Platform Update. Windows XP, the now-retired operating system — but one that still powers one-in-four personal computers worldwide — does not support DirectWrite.

Prior to the switch to DisplayWrite, Chrome used Microsoft’s Graphics Device Interface (GDI), which was a core component of Windows since the graphical user interface’s (GUI) debut in late 1985. Microsoft had been working on GDI for at least two years before that.

Chrome 36, the current version out of Google’s Stable build channel, continues to use GDI to render text on Windows.

Eklund said that DirectWrite had been a top user request for years: An entry in Chromium’s bug tracker — Chromium is the open-source project that feeds code to Chrome proper — about adding DirectWrite support to the browser was penned Oct. 22, 2009, the same day Windows 7 launched.

As far as a reason for the long stretch between that entry and DirectWrite support making it into Chrome, Eklund said, “The switch to DirectWrite … required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome’s font rendering engine.”

Much of that difficulty stemmed from the sandboxing — an anti-exploit and anti-crash technology — of Chrome’s rendering engine; it wasn’t until February of this year that developers reported on the bug tracker that they’d managed to get DirectWrite to work inside the sandbox.

Other browsers have long since adopted DirectWrite. Mozilla’s Firefox, for example, switched from GDI to DirectWrite with version 4, which debuted in March 2011. Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer (IE9) began using DirectWrite with IE9, which also shipped in March 2011.

DirectWrite was one of the reasons why Microsoft declined to add the then-powerhouse Windows XP to the list of supported editions for IE9, a move that made the company the first major browser developer to drop support for XP.

If all goes according to plan, DirectWrite support will reach the Stable edition of Chrome with version 37. Google does not hew to a set timetable to browser upgrades, as does Mozilla, but it typically rolls out a new version every six to eight weeks.

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World Tech Update- July 24, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU Facebook reports huge sales, Apple patents a smart watch and a space robot gets some updates.

 

Combining the Flexibility of Public-Cloud Apps with the Security of Private-Cloud Data White Paper

CITEworld

Cloud applications are a priority for every business – the technology is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers compelling economic benefits to the enterprise. The challenge is that cloud applications increase the potential for corporate data to leak, raising compliance and security concerns for IT. A primary security concern facing organizations moving to the cloud is how to secure and control access to data saved in cloud applications.

This white paper explores technologies that combine the flexibility of public cloud apps like Salesforce and Box, with the security and compliance of a private cloud. When deployed as part of an end-to-end data protection program, such an approach can provide the same security and assurances as can be achieved with premises-based applications.

Comprehensive Data Protection in the Cloud

In today’s business, IT may no longer own or manage the apps, the devices, or the underlying network infrastructure, yet is still responsible for securing sensitive corporate data. While cloud application vendors secure their infrastructure, the security of the data remains the responsibility of the customer using the application. A comprehensive approach to data security in cloud environments covers the full lifecycle of data in an organization—in the cloud, on the device, and at the point of access.

•In the Cloud—Most cloud apps don’t encrypt data-at-rest, and those that do encrypt manage the keys themselves. For organizations in regulated industries and/or with sensitive data stored in these apps, the ability to maintain confidentiality of corporate data remains unsolved.

•At Access—Cloud apps provide limited access control, data leakage prevention, and visibility when compared with applications hosted on premises. This makes it difficult to control who, what, where, and when employees access cloud applications.

•On the Device—Since cloud applications can be accessed from any device, anywhere, a comprehensive security solution should include protection for cloud application data on client devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Click here to view the full white paper

 

Wall Street Beat: Transition to mobile, cloud hits tech earnings

IDG News Service

With Google, IBM, SAP, Intel and other tech titans reporting earnings this week, the focus is again on mobile and cloud technology. The general trend appears to be that the further a tech vendor has moved away from its legacy desktop-oriented products, the better its earnings are.

IBM has launched ambitious cloud and mobile initiatives—but the resulting products are not quite fully baked. IBM officials themselves acknowledge as much, with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty talking about “positioning ourselves for growth over the long term” in the company’s earnings release Thursday.

Earlier this year, IBM announced a global competition to encourage developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by its Watson supercomputer platform. Just this week, IBM and Apple said they are teaming up to create business apps for Apple’s mobile phones and tablets.

But such projects have a ways to go before they reach fruition. Meanwhile, IBM revenue growth is flagging. Its second-quarter revenue was US$24.4 billion, down 2 percent year over year. Profit jumped 28 percent year over year, to $4.1 billion, but that was mainly because it compares to a quarter when net earnings were unusually low due to a billion-dollar charge the company took for workforce rebalancing.

Though both revenue and profit beat analyst forecasts, at first blush investors appeared disappointed, driving down IBM’s share price overnight. IBM shares gained back ground Friday but in early afternoon trading were still down by $0.60 at $191.89.

SAP seems to be riding the transition to cloud while incrementally boosting revenue. The company Thursday reported that, though software revenue continued to decline, cloud-based sales rose.

The maker of ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) software reported that revenue rose by 2 percent year over year to €4.2 billion (US$5.7 billion) in the quarter. SAP’s cloud subscription and support revenue was €241 million in the quarter, up 52 percent. Due to provisions for its patent dispute with software maker Versata, however, its net profit dropped year on year by 23 percent to €556 million.

As usual, Google was the earnings star of the week, reporting Thursday that its core advertising business fueled a 22 percent year-over-year increase in sales, to $15.96 billion. Profit was $3.42 billion, up almost 6 percent year over year.

It’s hard to say how much of this is due to mobile, since Google does not break out numbers for mobile and desktop ads. However, Google has been working on a range of projects designed to get its software on mobile devices. Many of those projects are years away from contributing significantly to the company’s bottom line, so for now the company essentially runs on its tremendous ad business.

One issue is that ads on mobile devices cost less than ads for other platforms and as a result, even as the company successfully makes the transition to mobile, the average cost-per-click of its ads went down by about 7 percent last quarter. Google officials say that as mobile computing becomes more imbued with work and recreation, ads on mobile platforms will become more remunerative.

Investors seem to agree, as Google shares rose Friday by $21.09 to hit $601.90 in afternoon trading.

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One in ten digital ads is fake

Warc

More than one in ten ad impressions is fraudulent, but fraud rates vary widely between verticals and reflect their media buying preferences, according to a new report.

The Q2 2014 Media Quality Report from Integral Ad Science, the digital advertising intelligence business, was based on information from the ad tech companies, exchanges and agencies it works with. It found that, overall, 11.5% of ad impressions were fraudulent.

Technology and retail companies suffered from the largest amount of fraud, 17% and 14% respectively, while consumer packaged goods (6%) and telecoms (6%) were least affected. The report suggested the difference was attributable to the ways in which the various verticals bought media.

Those with lower fraud rates were more likely to buy directly from publishers, where just 3.5% of impressions were fake. Higher fraud rates were evident on exchanges (16.5%) and ad networks (10.5%).

“Certainly the direct-response-type advertisers or verticals will look to leverage as much scale as they can,” David Hahn, Integral’s SVP of product, told Ad Exchanger. “That introduces some of the additional risks you might not find if you’re doing smaller scale campaigns purely on publisher direct.”

Other verticals afflicted with higher rates of fraud included automotive (12%), fashion (12%) and education (11.5%).

A mid-range group was comprised of entertainment (8%), pharmaceuticals (9%), insurance (10%), travel 11% and finance (11%). Others at the lower end included quick-service restaurants (6.5%) and energy (7.5%).

As well as fraud, Integral looked at related issues such as viewability and brand safety. Once again buying direct from publishers yielded the best results: more than half (55.5%) of inventory purchased this way was regarded as viewable, while ad networks (45.9%) and exchanges (45.3%) performed less well.

Similarly, buying direct was more likely to produce brand-safe inventory. Just 6.2% of inventory here was classified with a moderate to very high risk, far less than exchanges (9.6%) and ad networks (10.1%).

The report had found no significant change in brand safety levels, but said risky impressions most often landed on adult content (41.8%), reflecting the sheer volume of such material on the web and the traffic it receives.

Sites about drugs (17%), hate speech (13.9%) and illegal downloads (13.4%) were also flagged as high-risk locations.

Surface survives Microsoft cuts, but tablet strategy remains muddled

IDG News Service

As Microsoft announced its largest layoffs in its 39-year history — while saying it would press forward with its in-house Surface — analysts contended that the firm still hasn’t clearly stated its tablet strategy.

Earlier today, Microsoft said it would cut up to 18,000 jobs, or 14% of its work force, with the bulk of those layoffs coming from streamlining efforts after acquiring much of phone-maker Nokia.

The layoffs begin immediately, but as many as 5,000 will be left on tenterhooks for up to a year before knowing whether their jobs are safe.

Along with the layoffs, Microsoft also signaled an end to its experiment with Android, which powered the Nokia X series of smartphones. Nokia had kicked off the line prior to the deal’s completion.

“We plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a message to employees.

Surface, the tablet-one-moment-notebook-the-next hardware that Microsoft debuted two years ago, will survive, the company made clear.

“With a set of changes already implemented earlier this year in these teams, this means there will be limited change for the Surface, Xbox hardware, PPI/meetings or next generation teams,” wrote Stephen Elop, the head of Microsoft’s device division, in a separate, much longer email to workers.

Nor, apparently, has Microsoft’s Surface strategy changed.

“More broadly across the Devices team, we will continue our efforts to bring iconic tablets to market in ways that complement our OEM partners, power the next generation of meetings [and] devices, and thoughtfully expand Windows with new interaction models,” Elop said.

While some on Wall Street have urged Microsoft to dump the Surface — and the Xbox for that matter — to focus on more profitable services and software, industry analysts contacted by Computerworld today weren’t surprised that the tablet/notebook survived the cuts.

“I’m not surprised that Microsoft is keeping Surface,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email today. “While it doesn’t fit 100% with ‘mobility and cloud,’ it’s close enough to keep it as it supports them driving their expanded definition of productivity by tying hardware, software and services.”

Others agreed.

“No, I didn’t think that they’d dump it,” echoed Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash. research firm that focuses on the moves of nearby Microsoft. “Some people thought Microsoft would use this opportunity to ax the Surface, but it’s a big long-term bet for them. And the Surface Pro 3 sure seems to be a lot more popular than the earlier models.”

Microsoft started selling the third-generation Surface Pro 3 – an Intel processor-powered device that runs Windows 8.1 — last month, and will finish rolling out the line in two weeks. The Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, but costs $929 with a keyboard, a necessary add-on to fit the notebook replacement role that Microsoft markets.

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PC Shipments in EMEA Return to Growth in 2Q14, Says IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion  300x99 PC Shipments in EMEA Return to Growth in 2Q14, Says IDC

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) reached 21.9 million units in the second quarter of 2014 — a 10.5% increase year on year and a clear return to growth after seven quarters of consecutive decline. As in the previous quarter, Western Europe drove most of the regional growth, with shipments supported by strong enterprise renewals, which led to an overall 25% increase in the PC market. Consumer shipments also returned to growth after a severe contraction in 2013. At the same time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) remained impacted by the unstable political and economic situation in Russia and by currency fluctuations; as forecast, CEE declined by 13.2%. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) posted a modest 1.9% increase in shipments. In line with those trends, portable PC shipments in EMEA returned to growth (up 8.3%), while desktop PC shipments increased 14.1%. The increase in total EMEA shipments indicates a rebound in the market but not a recovery as volumes remain below the 25 million unit mark of the peak periods in 2010 and 2012.
“The clear improvements in EMEA are positive signs for PC manufacturers,” said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “However, there was still a big difference between the subregions, and especially in the consumer segment the divide between mature and emerging markets is similar to the worldwide trend. While some parts of the CEMA [Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa] PC market continued to suffer from unfavorable exchange rates and a difficult political situation, Western European shipments were fueled by low-end consumer notebooks. Even if the comparison is eased by a very poor second quarter of 2013, more attractive products at the right price points encouraged more consumers to renew their devices. Retailers and etailers also seem more confident as new product designs and features better positioned price-wise are now generating higher sales and not only just interest. Promotional activities and vendors’ preparation for the back-to-school period further supported the market. The level of inventory will have to be monitored closely as back-to-school sales progress during August and September.” In this context, Chromebooks continued to grow, but their impact is limited to several countries in Western Europe.
PC shipments in Western Europe have continued to benefit this quarter from ongoing renewals in the SMB space following the end of Windows XP support. Commercial demand remained strong as business confidence stemming from an improving macroeconomic outlook contributed to corporate renewals. Commercial PC shipment growth in Western Europe reached 26.9% — clear confirmation that PCs remain key productivity tools in the enterprise environment. At the same time, the rebound in consumer shipments accelerated and some markets, including southern Europe, returned to levels of business close to their capacity. Shipments in Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands took off, with sell-in up by more than 40%.
“The lack of investments in PC renewals during the past two years contributed to an aging installed base across the commercial market and, together with the end of Windows XP support, this generated large renewal needs,” said Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “As the macroeconomic outlook improved in most Western European countries, large enterprises regained confidence and started to replace their PCs, while many companies in the SMB segment reacted late to the change in the operating system. This has mainly boosted demand for desktops in the past two quarters, while the wave of portable renewals remains ahead of us.”

Apple’s IBM Deal Marks the Real Beginning of the Post-PC Era

Mashable

When you look at the landscape of powerful players in the enterprise, a few names tend to stand out: IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Apple.

Wait, Apple? A decade ago, it was rare to see Apple products in the enterprise. Sure, an executive here and there might have had a MacBook — maybe the graphics or marketing division used OS X — but everyone else worked on Windows and carried a BlackBerry.

Fast forward to today. Consumers have shifted away from the desktop-and-laptop world and more to the cloud, streaming media and mobile devices, and business and enterprise have, too. Today, iOS is in 98% of the Fortune 500. Almost in spite of itself, Apple has become a force of nature in the enterprise.

Seemingly overnight, Apple — the consummate consumer company — is a big player in the enterprise.

That reality became crystalized on Tuesday when Apple announced that it would be partnering with IBM to focus on “transforming enterprise.” The deal will pair Apple’s mobile and tablet hardware with IBM’s services, which include its Big Data, cloud and security infrastructure.

How exactly did this happen?

Falling into enterprise

The original iPhone wasn’t designed for business users. You could use a custom email setup, but there was no Exchange support, no VPN and no built-in productivity apps. With the iPhone 3G and iOS 2.0, Apple started adding more enterprise-friendly features, largely at the behest of businesses. Executives bought iPhones and wanted to use them in the office.

But it was the iPad, first released in 2010, that really changed the game. The portable nature of the tablet, coupled with a growing library of custom or publicly available third-party apps made the devices an instant hit in the office and in schools.

The iPad came along at the perfect time. Big enterprise customers were already starting to shift to cloud-based solutions for CRM and document management, which made it easy for an iPad to step in for a laptop on sales calls or in meetings.

Phil Buckellew, IBM’s vice president of enterprise mobile, says enterprise customers are constantly asking — demanding, really — more mobile solutions that are easy to use.

Why? It’s simple. People use an iPad at home and want to have that same experience at work. Users are accustomed to solutions “just working.”

Historical enterprise companies such as Microsoft and BlackBerry have struggled to adapt their technologies for the modern consumer, but by virtue of its consumer-friendly user experience, Apple seems to have almost accidentally fallen into enterprise.

Post-PC for the office is coming

Back in 2010, Steve Jobs famously discussed the emergence of a Post-PC world. Much hand-wringing and rationalizations about how the PC is still relevant has followed, but the reality is, Jobs was right. For most users, the PC is no longer the center of their digital lives, that center is now a smartphone (or even a tablet).

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