Friday, September 27, 2013

How Your Computer Gets Hacked in Under a Minute

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) – With just a few clicks, hackers can access all of your online information and stay in your system for years. Bloomberg’s Megan Huges talks to the experts to show you how it’s done. (Source: Bloomberg)

Hackers-for-hire uncovered using hit-and-run 'Icefog' APT on Mac OS X and Windows systems - IT News from

Kaspersky Lab confirmed uncovering the Icefog campaign in its The Icefog APT: A Tale of Cloak and Three Daggers threat report. The researchers said the campaign has been active since at least 2011 and has hit a number of high profile targets.
"Icefog is an Advanced Persistent Threat that has been active since at least 2011, targeting mostly Japan and South Korea. Known targets include government institutions, military contractors, maritime and shipbuilding groups, telecom operators, industrial and high-tech companies and mass media," read the report.
"There are versions for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. In its latest incarnation, Icefog doesn't automatically exfiltrate data, instead it is operated by the attackers to perform actions directly on the victim's live systems."

Continue Reading: Hackers-for-hire uncovered using hit-and-run 'Icefog' APT on Mac OS X and Windows systems - IT News from

Monday, September 23, 2013

Utilities Try to Learn From Smart Meters

Vast customer data is starting to transform the ways companies operate

"Utilities have installed more than 60 million smart meters in North America in the past decade.

Now they have to figure out what to do with all the information the devices are generating.

It's a mind-boggling amount of data. Consider that traditional meters did nothing more than track consumption. They were read 12 times a year by meter readers. In contrast, smart meters bombard utilities with data, often passing along meter readings every 15 minutes, or 35,000 times a year. They also alert utilities to electricity theft and dozens of other useful things.

And that's just part of the story. In addition to the smart meters, information is streaming in from the grid itself, where millions of sensors and smart controllers are giving utilities deeper, more timely information on equipment performance and power flows.

"The flow of data is increasing fast," says Matt Wakefield, director of information technologies for the industry-funded Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif. "The challenge [for the industry] is in understanding the opportunities. There's a gap in analytics."

Blame It on the Pump

As utilities get their arms around the data, the implications for consumers could be significant."

Continue Reading

Ms. Smith is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco bureau. She can be reached at
A version of this article appeared September 23, 2013, on page R3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Data, Data and More Data.

Utilities Want Solar Customers to Pay More

Their argument: The few (homes with solar power) are being subsidized by the many (everyone else).

"People with solar panels on their roofs often get a pretty good price break on their energy bills.
Too good, some utilities say.

Now, utilities in several states—including the country's sunniest, California and Arizona—are trying to do something about it.

Here's the issue: For most homes, solar panels don't generate all the power the residents use. At night and on cloudy days, and sometimes even on sunny days, these homes draw power from the grid that serves all a utility's customers. But at other times, the panels generate more power than the home is using, and that surplus power flows into the grid.
Under state rules known as net metering, customers are credited on their bills for any power that flows from their homes to the grid, usually at the same rate they pay when they draw power from the grid. 

So, customers with solar panels not only are buying less electricity from their utilities, but also are able to offset much of the cost of what they do buy.

The utilities say solar customers are paying so little that they don't cover their share of the cost of maintaining the grid, which they still rely on. That drives up costs for nonsolar customers, utilities say, and they warn that the burden will grow as the number of solar customers continues to swell.
Solar companies and their customers deny that people with solar panels aren't paying their share of utility costs, and argue that rooftop solar systems benefit utility grids by relieving demand and providing extra power. Cutting incentives would reduce the appeal of solar energy, they say, depriving the grid of some of that additional power, blunting the environmental benefits of solar power and hurting the young, fast-growing industry."

Continue Reading

 Ms. Sweet is a Wall Street Journal staff reporter in San Francisco. She can be reached at

A version of this article appeared September 23, 2013, on page R3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Utilities Seek to Raise Bills for Solar Customers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Proof That The Fingerprint Sensor On The iPhone 5S Isn't Just A Gimmick

By Steve Kovach and William Wei

Read more:

Secure Our Smartphones Coalition Statement On Release Of Apple's iOS 7 

Gascón & Schneiderman: After Months Of Pressure, Apple Responds With The World's First Attempt To Implement A Technological Solution To The Global Smartphone Theft Epidemic

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released this joint statement following today's deployment of Apple's newest operating system, iOS 7:

"After months of pressure from a global coalition of elected officials and law enforcement agencies, we are pleased that Apple is set to release a new mobile operating system that includes a theft deterrent feature called Activation Lock. This is an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft.

“In the months ahead, it is our hope that Activation Lock will prove to be an effective deterrent to theft, and that the widespread use of this new system will end the victimization of iPhone users, as thieves learn that the devices have no value on the secondary market. We are particularly pleased that – because Activation Lock is a feature associated with Apple's new operating system as opposed to a new device – it will be available to consumers with older phone models who download the free upgrade.

“While it is too early to tell if Activation Lock will be a comprehensive solution to the epidemic of ‘Apple Picking’ crimes that have victimized iPhone and iPad owners around the world, we believe it is a step forward and strongly urge iPhone users to download iOS 7, and most importantly, ensure they utilize both an Apple ID and Find My iPhone. We also encourage Apple to make Activation Lock a fully opt-out solution in order to guarantee widespread adoption, and strongly urge the other leading manufacturers of smartphones to quickly implement effective theft deterrents that protect their customers from violent crime.”

Gascón and Schneiderman also urge consumers to enable basic security features such as a password or the newly available fingerprint scanning technology on the iPhone 5S. While password and fingerprint scanning security features can help protect data on a device, they do not deter thieves from stealing smartphones. Theft deterrence for iPhone users will occur only if adoption of iOS 7, and the utilization of an Apple ID and Find My iPhone is widespread. Additionally, the success of Activation Lock is largely dependent on the failure of hackers' rumored exploits.

Finally, they noted that simply downloading iOS 7 and enabling Activation Lock through the use of an Apple ID and Find My iPhone does not mean consumers are safe from potential theft. Even if Activation Lock proves effective, thieves will not react overnight. Accordingly, it is vital that consumers beare aware of their surroundings at all times, especially when using their smartphones in public places.

The Secure Our Smartphones (SOS) Initiative coalition is a groundbreaking coalition of state Attorneys General, major city Mayors, District Attorneys, major city Police Chiefs, state and city Comptrollers, public safety activists and consumer advocates from around the world. This initiative is working to encourage the industry to implement meaningful solutions that will end the national epidemic of violent thefts of mobile communications devices such as smartphones and tablets.
For more information on efforts by District Attorney Gascón and Attorney General Schneiderman to combat “Apple Picking,” visit the San Francisco District Attorney’s website and the New York State Attorney General’s website.

iCloud: Find My iPhone Activation Lock in iOS 7

Overview and frequently asked questions

With iOS 7, Find My iPhone includes a new feature called Activation Lock, which makes it more difficult for anyone else to use or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if you ever lose it. It starts working the moment you turn on Find My iPhone in iOS 7. With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can:
  • Turn off Find My iPhone on your device
  • Erase your device
  • Reactivate and use your device
This can help you keep your device secure, even if it is in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it. Even if you erase your device remotely, Activation Lock can continue to deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission. All you need to do is keep Find My iPhone turned on, and remember your Apple ID and password.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about Find My iPhone Activation Lock.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

There's Basically No Way To Get A Gold iPhone On Friday Unless You Stand In Line

Apple is releasing its highly-anticipated iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C this Friday.
But the big question on a lot of people's mind is probably, "How can I get it as fast and as painless as possible?"

Read more:

TIM COOK ON APPLE VS. ANDROID: 'We're Not In The Junk Business'

By just about every statistic Apple's mobile software, iOS is beating Google's software, Android.
In profit share, Apple leads all other Android manufacturers combined. In web traffic, iOS has 55% of the market, according to NetMarketShare
The iPhone has been the top rated smartphone in consumer satisfaction in nine consecutive studies by JD Power and Associates
In less concrete statistics, iOS is generally still the first choice for developers. Reader interest at our site, and at others, is off the charts for iOS, but just so-so for Android. 
Apple's also the company that rivals compare themselves against. Microsoft, Samsung, and even Motorola all make fun of the iPhone in their ads. They wouldn't do that if Apple wasn't the real leader. 

Read more:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Mac Trojan Discovered Related to Syria

"A new Mac Trojan has been discovered that creates a backdoor on an affected user’s machine. It was found on VirusTotal, sent by a user in Belarus. At the time of writing, the Command and Control (C&C) server is down and no longer sending commands to affected users. This appears to be a targeted attack, though the method of delivery is not yet known. So, while this has been affecting users in the wild, the overall threat level appears to be low.
The Trojan is an application that is disguised as a picture – the .app file-extension is not visible by default."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reports of NSA Spying on Your Smartphone Are Overblown

"Happy Monday! Once again, it’s time to shed light on some recent questionable reporting about the NSA scandal.
This weekend, there was some murmuring about an article in Der Spiegel about how the NSA can grab all sorts of things from your smartphone. And while they certainly could potentially grab things from smartphones, it’s not nearly as ubiquitous and horrible as the article makes it sound. Some of that could simply be attributed to a lack of technical understanding by the reporter, but it’s being picked up by more technical sites and interpreted as if it’s de facto truth."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How To Score A Seat On A Private Jet For Less Than You'd Pay To Fly Business Class

"For a small and growing percentage of people, flying is actually improving. Cushy seats, quasi-gourmet snacks, and a brief respite from the crushing masses are available on any of 39,000 private aircraft worldwide, and in the U.S., several private jet companies are now offering flights at prices that equal first- and business-class tickets on commercial airlines.
While Linear Air has been around since 2004 and JetSuite launched SuiteDeals in April 2011, there are three new companies less than six months old: JumpSeat took flight in February, Surf Air in June, and FlyArrow is planning to start flights next month.
Whether for business or pleasure, now's the time to check out your new and improved options—before everyone else catches on."

Read more:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Microsoft botches six Windows patches in latest Automatic Update

In an amazing tour de force, Microsoft's Automatic Update chute released at least six bad patches on Tuesday. Here's what's amazing: It's just 48 hours or so since the bomb bay doors opened, and Microsoft has acknowledged problems with all of these patches. That's a first, I think -- and the biggest positive development in the Automatic Update minefield I've seen in a long time.

The gory details:

Microsoft botches six Windows patches in latest Automatic Update

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis

"Not only is market share not the best way to evaluate the relative positions of competitors but, without context, it is one of the worst. Assuming that market share will always bring you success is like assuming that a bigger truck will always bring you bigger profits. It’s literally a joke."
  Android’s Market Share Is Literally A Joke | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis

Friday, April 26, 2013

Android’s Leaky Bucket: Loyalty Gives Apple the Edge Over Time

"Yankee found that 76 percent of Android owners intend to buy another Android phone. A big number, sure. But it means that 24 percent of Android phone users plan to switch to another platform. Guess where the majority of those professed switchers are going — 18 percent to iPhones.
Flip side: Just 6 percent of iPhone owners said they plan to switch to Android.
That’s a pretty significant asymmetry."

Android’s Leaky Bucket: Loyalty Gives Apple the Edge Over Time

Friday, April 5, 2013

Microsoft To Facebook: Nice Phone, Welcome To 2011!

Apple Has To Release A Bigger iPhone If It Wants To Have Any Chance In China, Says Mega Bull Brian White

DirecTV Genie whole-home DVR review

Read the full review of the DirecTV Genie whole-home DVR and Genie Mini Clients (C31) at Engadget. What do save some money? Then take advantage of this special friends-only deal. With my referral, you can save an extra $10/month for 10 months on DIRECTV® service on top of the savings you get as a new customer. DIRECTV® offers everything you’ll want from your TV provider—all the movies, sports, HD channels, DIRECTV nomad and view shows on your notebook or iOS device.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Apple's iMessage encryption trips up feds' surveillance

Internal document from the Drug Enforcement Administration complains that messages sent with Apple's encrypted chat service are "impossible to intercept," even with a warrant.
  Read the full story at CNET

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your iPhone kills jobs

Like teenagers who enjoy the social benefits of a mobile phone but rue their parent’s newfound ability to contact them at any time, workers who perform their tasks on-the-go can now be monitored step-by-step by their managers with the help of smartphone applications Read more: Your iPhone kills jobs

Da, Windows Phone outsells the iPhone in seven countries...or does it?

Microsoft, always looking for any way to tout good news about Windows Phone, claims that it outsells the iPhone in seven countries. But is that really the case? It's not as clear as it first appears. Da, Windows Phone outsells the iPhone in seven countries...or does it?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Solar power cheaper than coal: One company says it’s cracked the code

CleanTechnica has an exclusive on a new solar technology that claims to be able to produce power with a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of8¢/kWh. That is mind-boggling, “two-thirds the price of retail electricity and over 3 times cheaper than current solar technology.” If the claim proves to be true (and a lot can happen between prototype and mass manufacturing), it could revolutionize the solar industry.

The company is called V3Solar (formerly Solarphasec) and its product, the Spin Cell, ingeniously solves two big problems facing solar PV.
First, most solar panels are flat, which means they miss most of the sunlight most of the time. They only briefly face direct sunlight, unless expensive tracking systems are added. The Spin Cell is a cone:

V3Solar Spin Cell

The conical shape catches the sun over the course of its entire arc through the sky, along every axis. It’s built-in tracking.
The second problem: Solar panels produce much more energy if sunlight is concentrated by a lens before it hits the solar cell; however, concentrating the light also creates immense amounts of heat, which means that concentrating solar panels (CPV) require expensive, specialized, heat-resistant solar cell materials.
V3Solar spin cellThe Spin Cell concentrates sunlight on plain old (cheap) silicon PV, but keeps it cool by spinningit.
It’s just so damn clever.

Here’s a video that explains:

The V3Solar Spin Cell rotating under the power of the afternoon sun:

Read the full story of Solar power cheaper than coal: One company says it’s cracked the code By David Roberts

Apple users love their devices, Android users not so much

Yet more evidence proves the biggest difference between Apple [AAPL] iOS and Android users is that iPhone and iPad people actually use their devices, while the majority of Google-driven 'Droids don't seem to use them at all.

Read the full story: Apple users love their devices, Android users not so much

Monday, March 11, 2013

Solar Cells May Supplement Smartphone Batteries

Solar cells under development by a Silicon Valley start-up, Alta Devices, could give smartphone batteries a boost of as much as 80 percent of a batterys power. The company uses hybrid gallium arsenide solar cells, which are better at capturing energy than silicon solar cells.
 Read the full story at The New York Times

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Help End Child Hunger in America

The Child Hunger Ends Here program is part of ConAgra Foods' ongoing commitment to help end child hunger in America. For every code entered by 8/31/13, ConAgra Foods will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal** to Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. 

Thanks to the help of caring people like you, ConAgra Foods donated the monetary equivalent of 3.4 million meals to Feeding America as part of the previous Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, which included online, school and retailer programs. With your help, we can make the 2013 campaign just as successful.

The New Face of Child Hunger:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Macs dig in as standard business PCs

Enterprise backup of Macs is the latest in a string of products that show OS X is becoming part of the IT landscape By 

In the last year, I've witnessed a sea change in Macs' acceptance in business. To be sure, Macs have been the standard PCs for designers, layout artists, and the like since the mid-1980s, and Silicon Valley developers adopted the Mac as the preferred dev platform years ago (because it runs Unix, Linux, and Windows, too). MacBook Airs became senior execs' preferred status-symbol PCs a couple years ago as well.

But for bread-and-butter computing, it has been a Windows-only world. Those creative, dev, and exec Macs were the "other" handled outside the normal IT processes. That's changing -- fast. Gartner says IT will consider Macs to be as valid as Windows PCs next year. The tools to enable that are already coming.

Continue reading: Macs dig in as standard business PCs

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

16 Year-Old 'Desperate Housewives' Actress Is Giving Out Stock Trading Advice

ixteen year-old actress Rachel Fox, who is known for playing Kayla Scavo on the hit series Desperate Housewiveshas taken up day trading when she's not on the big screen (HT: Josh Brown).
AP Images
She says that she's really good at it, too.

Fox, who has a blog and video episodes called "Fox On Stocks", says that she earns more than 64% on her investments per year.  

Read more:

Apple's Java sabotage is bad IT business

Apple's Java sabotage is bad IT business

Apple's handling of the Java vulnerability provides a textbook example of what not to do in a production environment

In case you weren't paying attention, last week Apple decided to disable all but the most recent Java browser plug-ins on just about every Macintosh everywhere, without telling anyone. The Java vulnerability that led to the decision is very real. It was coupled, though, with the assumption that its customers -- forgive me, its licensees -- lack the judgment necessary to make this decision for themselves.
To be fair, many of Apple's consumer licensees probably lack the expertise needed to make an informed decision. For many, that's why they bought Macs instead of some form of Windows PC in the first place.
But its enterprise licensees? That's a different matter altogether.

Continue Reading: Apple's Java sabotage is bad IT business

Monday, January 21, 2013

1.6 Billion People In The World Don't Have Electricity — So Here's A Cool Solar-Powered Light Called 'Luci'

"1.6 billion people in the world don't have access to electricity, says the founder of a company called "MPOWERD."
These folks and another 1.5 billion people on lousy electrical grids often use kerosene-powered lamps to see at night.
The problem with kerosene lamps is that kerosene is expensive, and the lamps pollute the air that these folks breathe. So kids grow up with clogged lungs, etc.
So a company called MPOWERD has invented a cool little solar-powered lantern called "Luci."
The lanterns charge 6 hours of sunlight and then provides 6-12 hours of light.
They're light and flexible.
You can buy them for $15.95 apiece."

Read more at the Business Insider:


RUMOR: Apple Will Release THREE New iPhones This Year

"There's a report out of Asia tonight that Apple is working on three new iPhone models, two of which will be out by June.
The report comes from quite a chain of sources. The Commercial Times of Taiwan made the original report. It was then picked up by the China Times. Then the China Times report was translated by BrightWire, which says it scours and translates international news. From there, we saw it picked up on Apple blogs.
So, yeah. Treat this one lightly for now. Though, a lot of accurate information has come from Asian supply chain sources in the last few years.
According to the reports, Apple will release a 4-inch iPhone 5S and a 4.8-inch iPhone before the end of June. The report calls the 4.8-inch phone, the "iPhone Math," which is, um, odd. We can't imagine Apple is going to name its big iPhone the "Math."
(But, we also couldn't imagine Apple would name the iPad the iPad and it did! So anything's possible, we suppose.)
Later in the year, some time before Christmas another iPhone is coming with a 12 megapixel camera, according to the reports.
They also say Apple is going to release an Apple TV this year.
The report about a 4.8-inch phone is the most interesting. Apple is the only smartphone company not making a big phone. The bigger smartphones are very popular with consumers.
A bigger iPhone risks fragmenting the iOS market. Developers' apps will have to fit 3.5-inch screens, 4-inch screens, 7.8-inch screens, and 9.7-inch screens. Perhaps Apple will also roll out an elegant software solution to this problem.
What's interesting about this report is that it comes one week after the Wall Street Journal and the Nikkei reported Apple was cutting iPhone screen orders. When those reports rolled out Apple's stock was hit hard. So were the stocks of Apple's suppliers.
BrightWire says in its summation of the reports, "The shipments for components, including touchscreens and cameras, will start rising significantly in March, and iPhone manufacturers will begin production in late April. Hence, Apple's suppliers will see major growth in 2Q 2013."
We could be over thinking it, but it sure sounds like suppliers started leaking Apple's plans to let the market know that they are not totally hosed. Whether that makes this report more or less trustworthy is up to you.
However, this is not the first time we've heard about Apple reportedly developing a much larger iPhone. So, we wouldn't just cast the report aside.
Clearly, something is going on with Apple. The iPhone business as we've known it appears to be ready for a major shake up in 2013."

Read more from the Business Insider:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cadillac's New ELR Is Ready To Battle Tesla For The Luxury Electric Car Market

"In October, General Motors announced its entry into the luxury electric car market with the Cadillac ELR.
That market — for customers who want electric cars but are not overly concerned with the price tag — has to date been cornered by Tesla's Model S.
With the ELR, GM will work to steal away those customers. The largest American automaker has several advantages over Tesla, especially infrastructure to design and produce cars, which Elon Musk has struggled to build over the past decade.
On top of that, Cadillac has a lot of momentum. 2012 was a good year for the brand, languishing just a few years ago.
The successful introductions of the XTS and ATS sedans culminated with the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the ATS won the North American Car of the Year award.
We were on hand at the show and got to see the ELR first hand, and were quite impressed by the look and feel of the car.
It may not match the remarkable Tesla Model S, but a solid, luxury electric car from an established automaker will pose a formidable challenge to Elon Musk's company.
The ELR will go into limited production late this year and go on sale early in 2014; pricing has not been announced."

Read more:

If The Next iPhone Really Wants To Stand Out It Needs A...Fingerprint Sensor?

"Apple isn't doing too well right now. It's stock price is falling and there is wide speculation that the company is losing its edge.
A new iPhone release later this year could certainly help rally excitement, but what can Apple do to build on its seemingly perfect smartphone?
AppleInsider is reporting that this innovation could come in the form of a fingerprint sensor beneath the iPhone's home button.
The blog says that this fingerprint sensor would be "an intuitive design that could be difficult for competing Android and Windows Phone devices to copy".
The fingerprint technology would come from one of Apple's recent acquisitions, AuthenTec.
The report continues:
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes that this fingerprint sensor would allow iPhone users to replace the use of usernames and passwords, allowing users to authenticate in a more efficient manner. He also expects that the fingerprint scanner will integrate with applications such as Passbook to enhance their functionality.
Kuo's track record is pretty solid, as he predicted Apple's entire Fall product line last year, but we're still taking this one with a grain of salt."

Read more:

Why fixing the Java flaw will take so long

"By now you've heard about the latest, very serious problem with Oracle's Java runtime. You may also have heard that it could take a very long time to fix. Here's why: The flaw uncovered by security researchers last week devolves not to one issue, but to a series of issues, one knocking into the other like dominoes. Oracle has fixed one of the dominos with a patch, but there are likely to be other ways to tip over the entire row.
Emergency response
The vulnerability patched by Oracle resides in a version of Java 7 designed to extend Web browsers. The defect made it possible for a malicious Java applet on a Web page to execute arbitrary code on the underlying computer.
While this sort of defect would usually be kept secret until a fix was available, it was disclosed last week because malicious crackers had already found the defect and were exploiting it as part of a dirty-tricks toolkit used by scammers and other thieves, giving Oracle zero days to fix the code. As more researchers evaluated this "zero-day exploit," it became clear it was exceptionally serious.
With terrific speed, Oracle's engineers created a fix for the problem over the weekend andreleased it Monday. Yet security researchers weren't impressed. Why was that? I asked Oracle to brief me, but I was refused and simply referred to a blog posting on the subject, which offered little explanation.
Instead I turned to the open source community for help. Java 7 is actually based on an open source project called OpenJDK, and Oracle had also released patches for that. I was able to quickly find explanations of both the defect and the fix."

Read the full article at Why fixing the Java flaw will take so long

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Learn to code interactively, for free

People all over the world are learning with Codecademy.


See why coding is hot in high school

Wait, Is This The REAL Reason Apple Cut Its iPhone 5 Orders?

The story of December for Apple was the monster drop in its stock price.
One of the main reasons the stock tanked was numerous reports from sell-side analysts about Apple severely cutting its iPhone 5 orders for the first quarter of 2013.
The initial read on this cut was that demand for the iPhone 5 was weak. Otherwise, why cut the orders?
But it looks like there might be an alternative explanation for the cuts.
First, Apple's manufacturing of the iPhone could have been better than expected.
Second, and much more importantly, Apple is apparently going to release a new iPhone in the May-June time frame, according to Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. His report is seconded by Peter Misek at Jefferies. (Misek has a June-July timeframe, White has May-June.)
Most analysts have been assuming Apple will sell the next iPhone in September or October since that's what it did for the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5.
But, if Apple is really shifting the release of the next iPhone 5, then it's likely that it's going to change production of the iPhone 5, cutting back its orders for the first quarter of the year. It won't want a big build of iPhones. It has also seen demand for iPhones drop as the rumor mill starts cranking about the next iPhone.
Two quarters before the iPhone 5 was announced, iPhone sales were worse than expected. Apple blamed the dip on rumors about the next iPhone. If a new iPhone is coming in June, then it might be anticipating a drop in the March quarter.
We're not sure if that makes investors feel much better, since it suggests it's going to miss numbers for the first quarter of this year. But, it's certainly better than weak iPhone 5 demand, which would be a problem with Apple's core business.
Apple reports earnings on January 23, so we'll find out the truth about iPhone demand during the holidays, as well as getting an idea about demand for this quarter through Apple's guidance.

 Read more from the source:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The iWatch Could Be The First Step In Apple's Plan To Kill The iPhone

Apple is reportedly exploring development of a watch-like product.
Small-minded people will scoff at the idea of Apple building a watch. After all, who needs watches when you have a smartphone. Further, Apple is a company with $200 billion in annual revenue. A $100 watch which will sell in limited quantity is barely going to move the needle.
While all of those are fair points, they're missing a much bigger picture.
There is a line of thinking that the smartphone era will perish almost as quickly as it began.
This is, after all, the natural way of technology. It's defined by creative destruction. Just as the smartphone killed the flip phone, and the iPad is killing the traditional PC, something is going to come along and kill the smartphone.
The early bet on what kills the smartphone is something like Google Glass. Wearable computers are widely believed to be the next computing fad.
For Apple, an iWatch could be a way to test the wearable computer market, says Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray. He says, "We believe that longer term (over the next 10+ years), wearable computers could eventually replace the iPhone and smartphones in general."
He continues, "We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation, etc. through voice control."
Much like the current Apple TV is a "hobby" for Apple that lays the groundwork for it to ultimately release a full-blown television, an iWatch could be the "hobby" that lets Apple explore wearable computing.
After all, just because some people think the smartphone will be consumed by wearable computers, doesn't actually make it so. This could give Apple a good testing device.
And, to be clear, we're not saying an iWatch kills the iPhone. We're saying the iWatch could be a peripheral gadget that complements the iPhone. And down the road, the evolution of the iWatch, or other wearable computers, could alter what we currently think of as a smartphone.
If an iWatch is real, it won't come out until 2014 or later, says Munster.

Read more from the source: