Today in Tech News Digest, Apple reveals its latest sales and earnings, the NSA is accused of targeting popular apps such as Angry Birds, Microsoft renames SkyDrive to OneDrive, the FBI is accused of tapping into TorMail, Nintendo’s plan for smartphones is possibly revealed, Wikipedia adds celebrity voices to its listings, and The Simpsons tackles
Oogle Goggles Google Glass.
Apple’s Earnings Call
Apple’s biggest sales rise (by %) was not in iPhones or iPads but Mac computers. All the numbers here: http://t.co/mOIZDfCx9T
— Adrian Weckler (@adrianweckler) January 27, 2014
Apple has released its financial results for Q1 2014, and they show record revenues and strong sales for almost all of the company’s product lines. Revenue hit a quarterly record of $57.6 billion, with profits of $13.1 billion, equalling the record set last year.
Apple sold 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads in this quarter. Interestingly, the iPhone now contributes around 57 percent of Apple revenues, which just shows how crucial the success of the iPhone is to Cupertino.
The iPod looks dangerously close to being surplus to requirements, with sales dropping from 12.7 million to 6 million in the space of a year. The iPhone 5c looks to have been a failure too, with Tim Cook admitting that the 5s got “a significant amount more attention and a higher mix of sales,” than the (not at all cheap) budget iPhone.
TL;DR: Apple is rich and getting richer by the day, but may be too reliant on the iPhone.
The NSA Targets Popular Apps
Toppling your privacy. pic.twitter.com/fBGAERssfd
— M@tt Boch (@mattboch) January 27, 2014
Another day, another revelation emerging from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. This one concerns an alleged joint effort by the NSA (National Security Agency) and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) to source data from popular smartphone apps such as Angry Birds, Flickr, and Flixster.
There is no suggestion the companies responsible for these apps were in cahoots with the U.S. and British spy agencies. However, these “leaky” smartphone apps that “transmit users’ private information across the internet” were targeted because of their popularity. Which should act as a reminder not to give up your personal information so easily.
Microsoft Changes SkyDrive To OneDrive
Microsoft has changed the name of SkyDrive to OneDrive as a result of a legal battle with BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting). The cloud storage service will continue to operate exactly as before, just with a slightly different moniker. So now we have Xbox One and OneDrive… what odds on Windows 9 being named Windows One?
The FBI Is In Your TorMail
“FBI is (taking) an NSA-style collect-everything approach…until it can obtain specific authority to tap it later.” http://t.co/GTxSZOU7gO
— jennifer granick (@granick) January 27, 2014
When the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) investigated Freedom Hosting in 2013, it seized the database of TorMail, a supposedly anonymous Webmail service. And now, according to an in-depth report on Wired, the Bureau is using the emails captured in completely unrelated investigations.
The most damning accusation in the report is that, “the FBI is adapting to the age of big-data with an NSA-style collect-everything approach, gathering information into a virtual lock box, and leaving it there until it can obtain specific authority to tap it later.” Because this is apparently standard procedure these days.
Nintendo Games Coming To Smartphones?
“Key is to figure out a way to use smartphones to make people aware of Nintendo’s games and encourage them to try out the console version”
— Tero Kuittinen (@teroterotero) January 20, 2014
With things not going so well at Nintendo of late, thanks mainly to the Wii U failing miserably, there are suggestions that the Japanese company is at least considering a move into the smartphone market.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean Nintendo is going to start making games for iOS or Android. Instead, according to Nikkei (via GamesIndustry.biz), the company may release mini-games to smartphone platforms in an effort to persuade people to buy Nintendo hardware. This is just a rumor at present, but seems to be a good starting point for a company being left behind by a changing market.
Wikipedia Adds Celebrity Voices
Wikipedia is gaining celebrity voices through the Wikipedia Voice Intro Project (WikiVIP). The idea is to record the voices of notable achievers and preserve them for future generations. So far, Stephen Fry, an astronaut, and a politician have all taken part in the project, but we have to hope more people follow in their wake.
The Simpsons Tackles Google Glass
Tonight’s episode of The Simpsons features a parody of Google Glass called “Oogle Goggles.” How did we let it come to this?
— Corey Atad (@CoreyAtad) January 27, 2014
And finally, The Simpsons have tackled the tricky subject of Google Glass and wearable technology as a whole. In an episode titled ‘Specs and the City’, Mr Burns gave each of his employees a pair of Oogle Goggles, which helped them see the world in a different light, and helped him spy on the people working for him.
The episode asks some important questions about Google Glass, wearable technology, and a future in which we all interact through an augmented reality mask. The episode is (at the time of writing) available to watch on Hulu for those who are resident in the U.S. or those pretending to be resident in the U.S.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Scott Swigart