Archive for May, 2010

Apple: iPad sales top 2 million since launch

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Apple: iPad sales top 2 million since launch

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple Inc. said Monday that iPad sales have topped 2 million since its launch almost two months ago.

The Cupertino, Calif., company began selling the iPad on Friday in Asia and Europe. The iPad launched April 3 in the United States April 3.

The company does not publicly break out sales figures by region, according to Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman.

The company had previously said it sold 1 million iPads in the United States just 28 days after its launch. As a result of the strong demand at home, Apple had pushed back the start date of its international sales.

The iPad can be used to send e-mails, draw pictures and play games. It can also be used as an electronic reader. The basic model costs $499 in the United States, not including extras.

This past weekend, Apple began selling iPads in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The company said the device will be available in nine more countries in July and additional countries later this year.

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Taiwan's AsusTek unveils tablet computer

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Taiwan's AsusTek unveils tablet computer

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer Inc. unveiled Monday a portable tablet computer that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, joining a slew of manufacturers trying to tap demand for the sleek devices following Apple’s launch of the iPad.

AsusTek is among several Taiwanese computer makers to display tablet PCs at the five-day Computex Show in Taipei that opens Tuesday.

Acer Inc., the world’s second largest PC vendor, unveiled last week a 7-inch touchscreen tablet that like many other coming models runs on Android, the operating system that Google is distributing for free for mobile devices.

AsusTek’s touchscreen tablet, with the name of Eee Pad, comes in 10- and 12-inch sizes and is set to go on sale in the first quarter of 2011.

In addition to full Windows support, Company Chairman Jonney Shih said Eee Pad is equipped with a Web camera and runs Flash by Adobe Systems which will allow users to view YouTube and other video programs on the Internet.

The 10-inch Eee Pad will sell for $399 to $449. No price tag was given for the 12-inch model.

By contrast, Apple’s iPads cost $499, $599 or $699 depending on the data storage capacity. But iPads use the HTML5 standard and its lack of Flash support has alienated some users.

AsusTek also unveiled on Monday an e-notepad that serves as both an electronic-reader and note-taking device, with a built-in camera that will let the user grab screenshots of lecture slides.

Shih said the notepad — with a price tag of $199 to $299 — turns pages at a faster speed and does not cause as much eye-fatigue during lengthy reading as other e-readers.

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This Week in GeekTech: Hoverboards, Gaming, and Jailbreaking Fun!

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

This Week in GeekTech: Hoverboards, Gaming, and Jailbreaking Fun!

Another week has passed and your team of resident geeks have brought you yet another plethora of interesting and expectantly geeky stories. This week's update includes tips on how to jailbreak your iPad, how you can dance your way through Mortal Kombat, and how Sony plan to get rollable display on the roll. All this and more in your weekly geek fill:


Jailbreaking the iPad: What You Need to Know

Nat Futterman tells what you need to know before you jailbreak your iPad. Histells you what you'll to "free" your device from its OS shackles,and offer some pointers on what jailbreak-only programs are worth your time. Free your iPad here…


Hack: Use a Guitar as a Fight-Game Controller

Ever wanted to fly a plane with a guitar? Chris Head shows you how in this gaming hack. If strumming a plastic guitar isn't your thing, how about winning a fight in Mortal Kombat just by dancing? Sound good? Then read more to dance your way to victory…


Sony Shows Rollable OLED Display (Video)

Sony demonstrated a new flexible OLEd display earlier this week. The new OLED display, which Sony positions as perfect for portable gadgets, offers a level of flexibility which has not been seen before. See our story for a video of the screen in action.


Hoverboard Project Takes Flight–and Actually Hovers

Fans of Back To The Future, pay attention. A French concept artist has created a working replica of the films famous hoverboard, and to much delight it actually hovers. Read on…


Acer's Android Phone Does HDMI, 720p Video

Acer revealed its new Android phone this week, dubbed the Stream. The device can not only capture HD video footage at 720p, but it also boasts an HDMI port so you can enjoy your mobile clips in all their HD glory on your home HDTV. Want to know more? Read on…

Send us your photos!

Do you have a unique, geeky photo that you'd like us to use in a future This Week in GeekTech column? Simply send it to pcwgeektech@gmail.com, and if we like it, we'll use it in an upcoming This Week in GeekTech post. You'll get full credit for your submissions. The catch? Photos must be your own work, and they must be appropriate for a general audience (i.e. keep them family friendly). We'd love to see what you've got.

Want more Geek? Follow GeekTech on Twitter or Facebook.

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Apple's iPad goes global

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Apple's iPad goes global

A girl views a new iPad tablet computer at an Apple store during its UK launch in central London

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) –
Fans mobbed Apple Inc stores in Europe and Asia as the iPad went on sale outside the United States on Friday, with some shoppers having queued all night to buy one of the coveted tablet computers.

The device, a little smaller than a regular notebook computer and with an open, color touchscreen, is designed for surfing the Web, watching movies and reading, and has been hailed by the publishing industry as a potential life-saver.

Shares of Apple, which also makes the iPod and iPhone, jumped as much as 2.3 percent before settling back to end the session up 1.4 percent, outpacing a sliding market. Analysts said Wall Street had already priced in a big launch.

The iPad's debut sets the stage for Apple to possibly unveil the latest version of its iPhone. Chief Executive Steve Jobs — keeping up a hectic public schedule after undergoing a liver transplant last year — is expected to reveal a new iPhone with multi-tasking features on June 7 during an annual developers' conference.

Apple sold a million iPads in the United States in the first month after its April 3 debut, exceeding the most bullish pre-launch estimates. Demand was so heavy that the company delayed the international launch.

RBC Capital Markets estimated iPad's total shipments will reach 8.13 million units worldwide by the end of the year — which would translate into at least $4 billion of revenue.

"I wanted to touch it as soon as possible. I felt real excitement when it was finally in my hands," said Takechiyo Yamanaka, 19, who had camped out in front of Tokyo's flagship Apple store from Wednesday evening to be the first in line.

"It's a bit of a gut decision, an emotional decision, because it's not really rationally justifiable," said Anna Kistner as she emerged from the Apple store in Munich, Germany with two iPads. "It's a lot of money."

The iPad is now on sale in Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Britain, Japan, Australia and Canada.

Prices for the cheapest, Wi-Fi-only version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $617 in Britain.

The buzz around the iPad helped propel Apple past Microsoft this week to become the world's most valuable technology stock, marking a remarkable turnaround of a company that nearly went out of business in the 1990s.

CREATING A NEED

Apple now gets almost three-fifths of its revenue outside the United States, and it is counting on its base of fans who already own an iPod, iPhone or Mac to add the iPad to their collection as rivals line up with their own tablets.

Analysts said Friday's muted stock reaction came after a build-up of anticipation ahead of the international roll-out, which will be followed in July with launches in about another nine countries, including Hong Kong and Singapore.

On Friday, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its price target on Apple to $325 on hopes of better-than-expected sales of the iPhone and the iPad, plus better margins on the tablet than Wall Street is expecting.

Some analysts highlight concerns that Apple, which contracts out the production of the device and depends on numerous parts suppliers, may have trouble satisfying the surge in demand, driving buyers elsewhere. Dell's Streak tablet computer will go on sale next month in Britain. Sony Corp and Hewlett-Packard also have tablets in the works.

The iPad — like other tablets — may rely on a greater proportion of novel components that are not commoditized, potentially making a ramp-up of production more difficult, analysts say.

But "Apple has traditionally been pretty good about overcoming these constraints in time," said Oppenheimer's Yair Reiner. "The question is, will there be a point where it will lose sales? For that to happen, companies with have to come up with products that are comparable."

Just ask Pascal Lordon, among the first in line at the flagship Apple store beneath the Louvre in Paris. He already has all Apple's products and described himself as a big fan.

"The iPhone created a new need, but the screen is small. The iPad is more comfortable — it has a real screen," said the 51-year-old, who works in video editing.

Others were less manic about the Apple brand.

"I'm not going to buy the iPad now as it's expensive. And I'm a Sony fan," said Kengo Nakajima, a 19-year-old college student who waited in line with his friend Yamanaka at the Apple store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district.

Amazon, whose Kindle e-book reader is seen as a rival to the iPad, said it would be offering its Kindle iPad application in all countries where the iPad was now on sale.

Analysts at research firm Informa Telecoms & Media believe most iPad sales would be of Wi-Fi only models, citing the limited case for outdoor usage, higher prices for 3G models and the ability to tether the iPad to a mobile phone as reasons.

At London's Apple store, a circus-like atmosphere prevailed.

"Jake! Jake! Jake!" store staff chanted as Jake Lee, a 17 year-old student who had waited 20 hours, entered.

British actor and technophile Stephen Fry said Apple had proved the skeptics wrong. "Whenever Apple comes up with a new product, the initial response … is always negative, because no one can quite believe it can happen again," he told Reuters.

Apple has yet to announce a launch date for mainland China, which could prove a much more difficult market to crack. Bootleg versions of the gadget are being snapped up online and in retail malls in the piracy-prone country.

Retailer Best Buy said it was restricting sales at its two British outlets to one iPad per household.

Michito Kimura, a senior analyst at IDC Japan, said the test would come after the honeymoon period.

"The real game will start after 'core users' have the devices. I imagine a price cut may be necessary before the Christmas holiday season to stimulate demand."

(Additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic and Edwin Chan in San Francisco, Jens Hack in Munich, Valle Aviles in London and Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo)

(Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Hans Peters, Steve Orlofsky and Robert MacMillan)

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What You Don't Know about Your Online Reputation Can Hurt You

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

What You Don't Know about Your Online Reputation Can Hurt You

Social networking, and the broader concept of online privacy, have been under some rather intense scrutiny over the past couple of weeks. The issues at Google–voracious indexer of all things Internet, and Facebook–the largest social network and number one most visited site (according to Google) have made many users more acutely aware of what information is available about them on the Internet. However, your online reputation is being used in ways you may not be aware of, and could cost you.

Users don't necessarily need to be concerned, but should at least be aware of who they are connected with online, and what they say. No, Big Brother isn't watching, but potential employers and lenders are.

Increasingly, your online reputation is becoming a deciding factor in whether you get that job, or get approved for that car loan. Businesses have online footprints as well, and the online reputation of the business could impact partner or vendor agreements, or affect the creditworthiness of the business.

Companies and lenders are turning to services like those offered by Rapleaf, a San Francisco-based company focused on social media monitoring. Rapleaf scours the Web to compile your status updates, Twitter "tweets", the online organizations you join, the sites you link to, and the comments you post and convert it all into a consumer profile called a social graph.

The social graph reveals behavior patterns related to what you like, what you don't like, what you want, what you don't want, etc.. Rapleaf presents the service as a marketing tool–enabling companies to target marketing efforts more intelligently, and with more precision than base demographics like age, gender, or location.

At face value that seems like a reasonable use of your online footprint–at least to me. However, some employers or lenders are using information from services like Rapleaf for more invasive purposes. Using the Rapleaf social graph, or any other aggregate of an individual's online presence, companies can dive deeper into your social networks and see who you're connected to.

A bank considering you for a credit card can scan your social network and identify other users connected to you that are already customers of the bank. The bank can analyze the payment history and credit stability of those customers, and make assumptions about you based on them. The presumption is that birds of a feather flock together, so if you're social network is filled with credit rejects, you are also probably a bad credit risk.


Who you know online, and what you don't know about your online reputation may prevent you from getting a job or credit card. Even worse, sloppy online sleuthing or mistaken identity could lead to your rejection, and you may never even know why.

A friend–we'll call him Greg–was hired by a company and moved his family across the country to accept the job. The company had conducted a background check on Greg prior to hiring him, but subsequently launched a more exhaustive background check about a month after Greg had started working for them.

One day, Greg was called in to see his manager and was told that his services would no longer be needed. He was asked to clear his desk and escorted from the building with no further explanation. His family hadn't even finished unpacking from the cross-country move, and Greg was faced with the shock of unemployment.

Thankfully, after some pushing Greg was able to learn that the company had fired him because the subsequent background check had uncovered a criminal background and outstanding warrants the company was unaware of. Of course, Greg was also unaware of the criminal background and outstanding warrants because the company had uncovered information on the wrong "Greg".

The company put the burden of proof on Greg to produce evidence that it was the wrong Greg, which Greg did and eventually got his job back. Others might not be so lucky, though.

When you don't get the job, get turned down for a loan, or get rejected for a credit card, you may never really know if you were rebuffed on your own merits, or as a function of the crowd you choose to associate with online, or due to completely mistaken identity.

Rapleaf offers a service to discover your online footprint and get a view of what others might see on your social graph. Google offers a similar tool–the Google Privacy Dashboard–which presents an overview of the accounts and information you are connected with through Google.

Take advantage of tools like these to monitor your own online reputation and keep your online persona clean. What you don't know can hurt you.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page
, or contact him by email at @Tony_BradleyPCW
.

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Apple Needs to Jump on TV Opportunity, Analysts Say

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Apple Needs to Jump on TV Opportunity, Analysts Say

Apple's success in mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad could spill over into the TV segment if the company decides to make a push for devices with larger screens, analysts said on Friday.

Engadget on Friday reported that a new version of the Apple TV platform was due for launch soon. It would succeed the current Apple TV service, which allows users to watch movies and experience other multimedia content on TVs. Apple declined to comment about the Engadget report.

The new platform would include new hardware, including a box with an Apple A4 chip that would allow for 1080p video playback, according to the report. The device will be priced at US$99, substantially lower than its current $229 price, and will come with the iPhone OS. The new device will provide content storage in the cloud, compared to hard-drive storage in the current device, Engadget reported.

The initial Apple TV service was not considered a success, but with Internet and broadcast content beginning to merge, the company could be poised for success in the TV market, analysts said. The sales of wireless and Internet-capable TV sets are taking off, and Apple has more brand equity as a device maker and content provider than ever in the past. However, the company will need to fend off TV makers, service providers and software makers who have their sights set on the burgeoning TV segment.

There is a lot of fragmentation in the TV space, and Apple has a content distribution advantage compared to its rivals, said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. Elements of broadcast and Internet content are starting to merge, but companies are still trying to figure out the best way to bring them to big screens, he said.

"Apple has made a recent try at TV and it wasn't so great," Kay said. "This is an important market that Apple shouldn't leave uncovered."

Though unsuccessful, Apple can boast of experience in the TV market, which gives it an early mover advantage, Kay said. The company also has the reputation of providing a good user experience for customers on devices like the iPhone and iPad, and the brand equity could carry over to the TV.

One of Apple's rivals could be Google, which along with partners Intel, Sony and Logitech last week announced the Google TV platform, which will blend broadcast TV and Internet into one interface. Google will supply the software, and the service will be available later this year in some Sony high-definition TVs and Blu-ray DVD players, for which Intel will supply the Atom CE4100 chip.

It would not be a surprise if Apple announces something around Apple TV as early as the developer's conference, said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held in San Francisco from June 7 to 11.

"People think that Apple may be responding to Google, but it may be the other way around," Bajarin said. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was part of Apple's board in the past and understands Apple's direction, he said.

Apple's mobile product strategy — like with the iPhone and iPad — revolves around bundling hardware, software and services. But the strategy may need to change in the TV market, analysts said.

Apple was an early player in the mobile market, which allowed it to blend things, but there are too many players offering Internet-connected TV sets and services, analysts said.

In addition to providing hardware and content, Apple will also need to make it easier for customers to understand what the service does, said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at the NPD Group. There are too many moving parts a customer needs to understand in order to use the current Apple TV device and surrounding services.

It will depend on Apple if it wants to bring simplicity with an all-in-one purchase, Baker said. Nevertheless, the segment is growing and the time is ripe for Apple to exploit it.

"Given the fact they've been unsuccessful, it's a product segment that it is poised to explode," Baker said.

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PictureShow adds more ways to trick out your iPhone pics

Friday, May 28th, 2010

PictureShow adds more ways to trick out your iPhone pics

PictureShow, a mobile photo-editing app by Graf, has been updated to version 2.0. The new version adds new photo styles, a randomize mode in which you can mix various frame styles, light effects and noise effects to create wild and zany results, and the ability to share photos via Flickr in app.

PictureShow fits in nicely with the current crop of photo apps meant to give pictures taken on your iPhone a vintage or retro vibe. But while PictureShow gives you numerous ways to make your iPhone pics looks like they were taken on a vintage camera, a la Hipstamatic, or Plastic Bullet, it also provides a number of cool special effects. Photo styles include Noire, which simulates the tone of black and white French movie posters; multi exposure, which produces complex and unexpected images; and retro style, among others. It also has color, contrast, and brightness control. If you have trouble making up your mind, you can hit the randomize button, which will randomly generate effects for you.

You can also add frames, borders, and text to your photo, and once you've tweaked it to your heart's content, you can share it in app via Flickr, e-mail, or Blogger. PictureShow, which sells for $2 at the App Store, works with all models of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad running iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

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Steve Jobs steers Apple to the top

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Steve Jobs steers Apple to the top

Steve Jobs steers Apple to the top

NEW YORK (AFP) –
By dethroning Microsoft as the world's top technology company, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has piloted a stunning phoenix-like rise from the ashes for the firm he founded nearly 35 years ago.

Apple, maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, surpassed US software giant Microsoft this week in terms of market value and now trails only Exxon Mobil and PetroChina in market capitalization.

Apple's market capitalization — the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price — at the close of trading on Wall Street on Thursday was 230.53 billion dollars compared with 227.86 billion dollars for Microsoft.

Apple's annual net profit, however, continues to trail that of Microsoft — 5.7 billion dollars compared with 14.6 billion dollars last fiscal year — as Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer noted in New Delhi on Thursday.

"It is a long game," Ballmer told reporters. "Certainly there is no technology company on the planet that is as profitable as we are."

Microsoft may indeed be more profitable, but investors are increasingly betting on Apple and its string of must-have consumer gadgets.

"It's really hard not to be upbeat on Apple," said Standard and Poor's analyst Clyde Montevirgen, pointing out that the Cupertino, California company's sales and profits rose even during the economic crisis.

Apple's ascendance can be directly traced to Silicon Valley legend Jobs, who Fortune Magazine last year crowned the "CEO of the Decade."

Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976 and introduced the first Macintosh computer in 1984 along with innovations such as the computer mouse.

Jobs left Apple in 1985 after an internal power struggle and started NeXT Computer and Academy-Award-winning Pixar, maker of hit animated films such as "Toy Story."

Apple, meanwhile, stagnated until Jobs returned to the company in 1997.

Since then, Apple has gone from strength to strength, starting with the iMac in 1998, the iPod in 2001, iTunes in 2003, the iPhone in 2007, the App Store in 2008 and the iPad this year.

"I think it's the most extraordinary turnaround in corporate history," said Spencer Ante, corporate deputy bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal.

"Not only are they back in the game but they're leading the industry forward," Ante said on the Journal's Digits Live Show.

The iPad appears to be the latest success for the 55-year-old Jobs — Apple sold one million iPads in the first 28 days, more than double the number of iPhones sold during the same period after the smartphone's 2007 release.

The biggest cloud hanging over Apple is Jobs's health. The Apple CEO was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant last year.

"If Jobs goes it will impact the stock but I don't think it will impact the company," said Montevirgen. "He's assembled a very strong engineering team. There are a lot of engineers who think like him.

"I think Apple will continue to thrive."

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iPad mania as thousands queue for global roll-out

Friday, May 28th, 2010

iPad mania as thousands queue for global roll-out

iPad mania as thousands queue for global roll-out

PARIS (AFP) –
Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops in parts of Europe and Asia on Friday after the iPad, touted as a revolution in personal computing, began its global launch.

Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses of gadget lovers turned out at stores in six European countries including Britain and France.

The iPad — a flat, 10-inch (25-centimetre) black tablet — was also going on sale in Canada as part of a global roll-out that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.

One million iPads were sold in 28 days after the product's US debut in early April, forcing the firm to delay its foreign launch.

At Apple's flagship store in Paris, set in the prestigious underground mall of the Louvre museum, 24-year-old engineer Audrey Sobgou beamed as she walked away with one of the prized tablets.

Sobgou travelled 205 kilometres (127 miles) from her home town in Lille, northern France, and waited nearly two hours before stepping inside the busy Apple store to make her purchase.

"I'm not a victim of hype," she insisted. "I know Apple products and it's about the quality, the interface, how it's designed and what it can do. With elegance and style."

Hundreds of people had already queued outside of the Paris Apple store hours before it opened at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) and the launch made the frontpage of major newspapers.

The freesheet Metro daily in Paris showed a full-page picture of the tablet under the polemical question "iPad: gadget or revolution?".

About 40 enthusiasts were already waiting outside the flagship Apple store in central London, at 3:00 am (0200 GMT) Friday to get their hands on the iPad when the store opened at 8:00 am.

Most of them were sitting on deck chairs and some were wrapped in sleeping bags and blankets.

Staff escorted the first group of customers one by one up to buy their iPad after they opened the doors, whooping, chanting and cheering.

"I queued overnight for about 20 hours since midday yesterday but it was very, very worth it," Jake Lee, a 17-year-old student from Essex, told AFP, clutching his treasured iPad.

"I wanted the iPad since it was announced, I'm just really excited about it," he told AFP.

The iPad also went on sale in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and will be followed in July by a launch in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

About 30 people waited under a driving rain in Frankfurt outside the Apple store while 19-year-old student Claudio Roccario was among some one hundred customers waiting to buy his iPad in Milan.

"I wanted to be among the first," he said, echoing the sentiment of most die-hard Apple fans who turned out for the first day of the launch.

Many Apple aficionados in Zurich camped out overnight in front of the store to be among the first to buy the tablet and download some of the 5,000 available apps.

Prices in Japan and Australia for the basic 16GB iPad are comparable to US prices, once sales tax is included, although a significant markup by Apple in Britain and continental Europe has triggered some grumbling.

In France, wifi models sell for between 499 and 699 euros (620 and 969 dollars) with the 3G models going for between 599 and 799 euros.

The multi-functional device is tipped by some pundits to revitalise media and publishing, with many major newspapers and broadcasters launching applications.

Newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch has said the iPad has the potential to save the newspaper industry but in France, that enthusiasm is not shared by President Nicolas Sarkozy's minister for the digital economy.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet last month dismissed the "marketing frenzy" surrounding the iPad launch and declared that it was "a bit heavy" compared to the Archos tablet, made in France.

Other than the five other European countries, California-based Apple plans to bring the iPad to Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that Apple is selling more than 200,000 iPads a week — more than estimated Mac computer sales of 110,000 a week, and vying with iPhone 3GS sales of 246,000 a week.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally, but Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

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Security Suites Top Online Software Purchases (PC Magazine)

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Security Suites Top Online Software Purchases
(PC Magazine)

A study released Thursday by the NPD Group showed that consumers who purchase software online feel comfortable downloading it for their own use, rather than ordering a physical disc.

Almost two-thirds of all online software purchases were made by consumers who then downloaded software, NPD found, citing a survey of 4,000 users who were polled earlier this year. Fifty-three percent of those purchasing a so-called "system utilities" product did so online.

Online digital downloads of new products accounted for 23 percent of online purchases, up from 22 percent in 2009, NPD found. Online subscription renewals accounted for 34 percent, down one percentage point from 2009, and trial-to-paid conversions were 8 percent of sales, up from 6 percent in 2009.

As NPD previously found, the vast majority of online software purchases are consumers either signing up for or renewing security software, which require annual subscriptions. And that's as companies like Symantec are moving their security products beyond the PC and onto phones and other connected devices.

"More than half of consumers say they would rather update their annual software subscriptions by renewing online and the experience has been overwhelming[ly] easy for them," NPD said in a statement.

But the reason to not renew? Spam. Only 5 percent of consumers trusted the merchant to automatically renew the subscription for them, the analyst firm found, with about 40 percent reporting that they didn't believe that the company wouldn't send them unsolicited email — one of the types of malware and annoyances most security suites are designed to block.

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