TSR on tech: your weekly news summary
|October 23, 2011||Posted by Elliot Davies under TSR on tech|
It’s been a heavy week for the business side of things as it seemed like every company under the sun was announcing its quarterly earnings, but don’t worry! We also have some interesting legal developments, an interesting security hole in iOS 5, exciting new product announcements, and the way in which table salt might help us avoid the effects of flooding. Seriously.
Following Google’s earnings report last week, Apple on Tuesday announced its Q4 results with quarterly revenue of $28.27bn up from $20.34bn a year ago, and a net profit of $6.62bn compared to $4.31bn a year ago. During Q4 the company sold 17m iPhones (21% growth year-on-year, undoubtedly helped by over 4m sales of the iPhone 4S in its first weekend), 4.89m Macs (26% growth) and 11.12m iPads (166% growth), but only 6.62m iPods – a 27% decline from last year’s final quarter. Apple’s annual revenue is now approximately $108bn with earnings of $26bn.
Microsoft met expectations with its earnings, with revenue increasing 7% and profits increasing 6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales were particularly strong for products such as Office, Exchange and Office 365, but the company remained silent on weaker areas like Windows Phone.
Yahoo! showed signs of continuing troubles in its Q3 earnings report, with a 24% decrease in revenue year-on-year and a 26% decrease in profit. It also reported a slowdown in the growth of rate its display-ad sales (its most important business) for the fourth time in a row.
Intel, on the other hand, reported its 6th record quarter in a row, with sales rising from $11.1bn to $14.2bn (28% year-on-year). Intel CEO Paul Otellini said the company was hoping to reach a revenue of $55bn for 2011, which would be up 26% from 2010.
Cody Kretsinger, the 23-year-old from Arizona suspected of being a member of the LulzSec hacking group, has pleaded not guilty to attacking the Sony Pictures website in June this year. Kretsinger’s plea was heard during his hearing in a Los Angeles District Court, with his trial to begin on December 13th. If convicted, his sentence will be up to 15 years in prison.
As the legal fight between Mojang and Bethesda continues, the first blow was been struck in favour of the Minecraft developer when a Swedish court denied the request for a temporary injunction to stop Mojang using the word “scrolls” to promote his upcoming game. This means Mojang can legally use the word in press releases, advertisements, and while developing the game. Notch tweeted to announce that he was “very happy” with the ruling.
Hacking & Security
A security flaw has been found in iOS 5 (and possibly earlier versions of iOS too) which allows a password-protected iPad 2 to be unlocked with an Apple Smart Cover. To exploit the flaw, hold down the power button on a locked iPad 2 until it reaches the turn-off slider and then close the Cover. Next, reopen the Cover and press the cancel button at the bottom of the screen. The iPad 2 will unlock. Note that the person who unlocks it won’t have complete access to the device; rather, they will only be able to access whichever app was open when the iPad was locked. If it was locked from the home screen, the person who unlocks it will be able to browse through the apps but will be unable to open any. The flaw can temporarily be fixed by disabling Smart Cover unlocking in the settings menu.
The minimum and recommended PC requirements for Arkham City have been released, and it seems a fairly hefty computer will be needed to enjoy all the frills. The recommended requirements are:
- OS: Windows 7
- CPU: Dual-core CPU @ 2.5GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850 with 768MB+ of VRAM
- Hard drive: 17.5GB of free space
The PlayStation Vita, the handheld successor to the PSP, will be launched in Europe and the US on February 22, Sony has announced. The device will either be available with WiFi only, priced at £229.99, or with both WiFi and 3G, priced at £279.99. Titles announced so far include Wipeout, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and LittleBigPlanet, but there are around 80 titles in production. The Vita will also offer social networking features such as Twitter and Facebook access.
On Wednesday morning Google introduced its next flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. With a 4.65 inch, 1280×720 pixel curved display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 5MP rear camera with 1080p video, it certainly has impressive hardware. It also includes LTE (so-called ’4G’) mobile broadband and near-field communications (NFC) support for quirkier applications like Google Wallet. Its software will be even fancier as it will include Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which is designed to unify the Android 2.x line of phone operating systems and the Android 3.x line of tablet operating systems. No prices or dates have yet been announced.
Anyone looking to buy a hard drive might want to do so now, according to reports which state that the floods in Thailand are disrupting Seagate Technology and Western Digital, the world’s two leading hard drive manufacturers.
Handily, researchers in Singapore have discovered a potential solution to not having enough hard drives – it turns out that sodium chloride might be the solution to increasing hard drive capacity up to six times over. Currently, hard drives work by covering their spinning magnetic platters in randomly distributed nanoscopic grains, which work in disorganised clumps to form bits of data. The latest drives can hold 500 gigabits (Gb) per square inch with this technique. However, by including sodium chloride in the lithography process used to produce the nano-scale structures for the disk, it may now be possible to stop using inefficient clumps of particles and instead start using smaller, more regimented patterns, each storing one bit, leading to a density of up to 3.3 terabits per square inch. For reference, this would mean that a current 1TB hard drive would be able to store 6TB of data without physically increasing in size.
A 15 year study involving over 360,000 subjects and several million controls has shown no apparent link between mobile phones and cancer.