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iPhone sales drive record quarter for Apple
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 24, 2012

HP to make webOS software public by September
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 25, 2012 - Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday it will make its webOS mobile operating system available to the open source community by September.

HP announced in December that it was planning to make webOS open source, meaning that developers anywhere can tinker with it as they wish and it will be available for anyone to use free of charge.

The Palo Alto, California-based HP acquired the webOS software as part of its $1.2 billion purchase of Palm in 2010 but later abandoned plans to make smartphones and tablet computers using the platform.

"By contributing webOS to the open source community, HP unleashes the creativity of hardware and software developers to build a new generation of applications and devices," HP said in a statement.

The computer maker said it would make the webOS source code available under an open source license "in its entirety by September."

"This is a decisive step toward meeting our goal of accelerating the platform's development and ensuring that its benefits will be delivered to the entire ecosystem of Web applications," said Bill Veghte, HP executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

HP also said it is releasing version 2.0 of webOS developer tool Enyo, which allows developers to write a single application that works across mobile devices and desktop Web browsers.

Citing disappointing sales, HP announced on August 18 it was discontinuing the TouchPad, a tablet computer powered by webOS, just seven weeks after it hit the market.

Google's open source Android mobile software is widely used by handset makers but it has been pounded with patent lawsuits from rivals Apple and Microsoft.

Apple blew past forecasts and reported record quarterly net profit and revenue on Tuesday in the first quarter since the death of founder Steve Jobs, driven by strong sales of the new iPhone.

Apple said its net profit more than doubled in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 to a record $13.06 billion while revenue soared to an all-time high of $46.33 billion from $26.74 billion a year ago.

Earnings per share of $13.87 easily surpassed the $10.08 per share expected by Wall Street analysts.

Apple said it sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter which ended on December 31, up 128 percent from a year ago, and 15.43 million iPads, a 111 percent increase.

The California-based gadget-maker sold 5.2 million Macintosh computers in the quarter, up 26 percent, and 15.4 million iPods, a 21 percent decline from a year ago.

"We're thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

"Apple's momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline," Cook said.

Apple's previous quarterly highs for iPhone, iPad and Macintosh sales were 20.34 million, 11.12 million and 4.89 million respectively.

Investors applauded the blockbuster quarter, sending Apple shares up 7.5 percent to $452.00 in after-hours trading.

It was the company's first full quarter without its visionary co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs, who died of cancer a day after the October 4 launch of the iPhone 4S.

Jobs's widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, was a guest in the box of First Lady Michelle Obama as US President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The hot-selling iPhone 4S was the "fastest iPhone rollout" in the company's history, Cook said in a conference call with financial analysts.

"We made a very bold bet on demand" but the company was "still short" in some markets due to pent-up demand, he said.

"As it turned out we didn't bet high enough," said Cook, who took over as CEO from Jobs in August.

Growth in iPhone sales in the United States and Japan was "great," he said. "We could not be happier."

The fiscal 2012 first-quarter included a 14th week, the important holiday shopping week between Christmas and New Year's.

Apple said it ended the quarter with a cash pile of $97.6 billion, compared with $81.6 billion for the September quarter.

"We are actively discussing the best use of our cash balance," Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's chief financial officer, said in the conference call.

"We don't have anything to announce specifically today," he added.

Cook indicated the priority for iPhone expansion was China.

"We have a ton more energy in the China market today," he said.

The iPhone was sort of a "catalyst" in spurring sales of other Apple products, much like the iPod's "halo" effect on the Macintosh in 2003-2004, he said.

The iPad, which runs on Apple's operating software, is benefiting from competition among other tablets and there is even some "cannibalization" of Windows personal computers by the Apple tablet computer, Cook said.

"We're just going to innovate like crazy in this area," he said.

More than 55 million iPads have been sold since its launch in April 2010.

Apple's forecasts for the current quarter leaped over Wall Street expectations: $32.5 billion in revenue and earnings of $8.50 per share. The market had penciled in $32 billion and $8.03, respectively.

Apple's iCloud, launched a few months ago, now has more than 85 million subscribers.

That was an "incredible" response from customers that marked a fundamental shift in recognition of the need to have numerous devices integrated online, Cook said.

He said iCloud is "not a product, it is a strategy for the next decade."

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Can tablets give you a pain in the neck?
Paris (AFP) Jan 25, 2012 - Users of tablet computers should place their device on the table and tilt its screen, rather than have it flat on their lap, to avoid potentially painful hunching of the neck, a study suggested Wednesday.

"Tablet users may be at high risk to develop neck discomfort based on current behaviours and tablet designs," it warned.

A team led by environmental health researcher Jack Dennerlein of the Harvard School of Public Health asked seven men and eight women who were experienced tablet users to carry out tasks on an iPad2 and a Motorola Xoom.

Using a motion-analysis system, the team filmed the 15 volunteers as they worked on the tablet in four common configurations.

In the first position the tablet was not placed in its proprietary case but held on the lap in one hand while the other was used to touch the screen.

In the second the tablet was placed on the lap, but stayed in its case. The user worked with both hands on the screen.

In the third, the tablet was set up in its case on a table, with its screen set at a lower angle, and the user worked with both hands.

The last configuration, dubbed "table-movie," entailed placing the tablet on the table in its case, tilted at a higher angle. The user did not work on the screen and instead watched movies or other programming on it.

The experiments showed the angle of the head and neck varied hugely across the four configurations and between the iPad and the Xoom.

Compared with the Xoom, the angles were more acute in the iPad, which the researchers attributed to the different case designs.

The study found that tablet users generally had more acute angles of head and neck flexion than with desktop or notebook computers.

Only when the two tablets were in the "table-movie" configuration -- when the screen's angle was at its steepest -- did the user's posture approach a neutral position.

"This suggests that tablet users could place the tablet higher, on a table rather than a lap, to avoid low gaze angles, and use a case that provides steeper view angles," the scientists said.

A 2009 study found that the "gaze angle" for looking at computers should be roughly 45 degrees or more to avoid straining the neck's extensor muscles.

The gaze angle is calculated as the downward direction of the eyes in relation to the horizontal.

The paper, published in the accident-prevention journal Work, did not assess the impact of tablet use over a long period, nor did it address the positions of the arms, wrists and hands, an issue it said needed further research.

But it noted that tens of millions of tablet computers have already entered circulation and there remained no posture guidelines for using them safely.

The history of ergonomic science is littered with designs, from car seats to office desks and phones, that can cause discomfort or even pain if the user uses the wrong posture over time.


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Dutch court rules in Apple/Samsung fight
The Hague, Netherlands (UPI) Jan 24, 2012
A Dutch court has ruled against a request from Apple to ban the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the Netherlands. The ruling is the latest in an ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung over accusations Samsung copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad with its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets, PC World reported Tuesday. The Gerechthof's-Gravenhage ... read more

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