MediaFile

Greenpeace upgrades Apple on ‘coal-free’ promise

Greenpeace International revisited their rankings of industry leaders in cloud computing to adjust Apple’s score, due in part to Apple’s promise to make its data centers “coal-free” by 2013 and its increasing ambition to power its growing iCloud through 100 percent renewable energy.

In a report released Thursday, the environmental organization upgraded Apple in three of four categories reflecting the company’s commitment to clean energy in its cloud computing facilities. Even with its upgrades, Apple remains near the bottom of the pack, which includes Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Oracle and others.

In May, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced plans for implementing renewable energy at the company’s three current data centers by 2013, and Apple’s new data center in Reno, Nevada, will have access to many renewable energy options, according to the Greenpeace report.

However, the Cupertino-based maker of the iPhone and iPad has not instituted an infrastructure siting policy, like that of Facebook, that would express a commitment to building data centers in areas with an established clean energy grid, said David Pomerantz, a spokesman for Greenpeace International.

Pomerantz also said Apple struggles in the category of transparency because it is “famously tight-lipped” about information about its practices. Beyond the company’s goals, Apple releases little detail on the specifics of its renewable energy practices, he said.

Tech wrap: A trillion-dollar Apple?

Apple Inc briefly edged past Exxon Mobil Corp to become the most valuable company in the United States. Looking ahead, Beakingviews columnist Robert Cyran asks: Could Apple be the first $1 trillion company?

Three initial public offerings were postponed on Tuesday, the latest casualties of volatile market conditions. Nearly half of the dozen IPOs planned this week have now been called off and Fortune.com’s Dan Primack says it “wouldn’t be surprising if none of them get out.” Primack added that Boston-based Carbonite is the best bet to stay the course: “A source familiar with the offering puts its chances of pricing this week at around 70 percent, so long as we don’t experience another major swoon.”

AOL reported a surprise second-quarter loss, citing weaker-than-expected advertising growth. The news sent shares of the company plummeting as much as 20 percent.

Apple’s store of the future, just across the street from Store No. 1

By Mary Slosson

To the legions of Apple fans, any new store from the consumer electronics giant is cause for celebration. But the company’s latest, in Glendale California, is special for two reasons: it’s being touted as Apple Store 2.0, a model for others to come … and it happens to be just across the street from the very first outlet to carry the corporate logo.

Already inviting comparisons to Starbucks — notorious for opening outlets within a stone’s throw of each other — the latest addition the now-331-strong network drew hundreds of devotees to the Americana at Brand mall just north of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. 

Apple obliged with a DJ, dancing, and free gifts to the first 1,000 visitors (a t-shirt specific to the new mall location).

Verizon iPhone gets dinged by Consumer Reports (Update)

VERIZON/IPHONE“Antennagate” again?

The reception problem that plagued AT&T’s iPhone 4 last summer is also found on the Verizon version of the iPhone, according to Consumer Reports.  The influential nonprofit organization, which publishes guides on everything from cars to TVs, said Friday that holding the Verizon iPhone “in a specific but quite natural way” can cause the phone to drop calls.

Consumer Reports tested the device against five other Verizon smartphones — Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid 2 Global, HTC Droid Incredible, LG Ally, and Motorola Droid X — and said “the only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4.”

The Verizon iPhone 4 launched earlier this month, but there has been no hue and cry about its reception, as there was with the AT&T device. “There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone,” Consumer Reports noted. However, the tech blogosphere did take note of the problem when the phone went on sale.

Apple’s Cook: visionary or able lieutenant?

Apple’s COO and — many say — CEO-in-waiting Tim Cook has presided over a near-doubling of Apple’s margins over the past decade. Known as a supply chain maven and operations specialist, Cook has stepped up to the plate during CEO Steve Jobs’ three medical absences.

On Wednesday, Cook is expected to face questions about the company’s succession plan during Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting at 1 Infinte Loop.

Here’s a look at how Apple has fared during Cook’s tenure.

(Apple (L-R) COO Tim Cook, CEO Steve Jobs and Robert Mansfield, senior vice president, Mac Hardware Engineering appear onstage during Q&A period at news conference on antenna problems with the iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, July 16, 2010.)

HP’s TouchPad: an Apple iPad killer?

The Palm TouchPad is shown on a screen during a media presentation at the Herbst Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, February 9, 2011.REUTERS/Beck Deifenbach

HP unveiled its touchscreen entrant in the tablet race to try to steal momentum from Apple Inc’s popular iPad. The “TouchPad” will be available this summer — but there was no word, yet, on how much it will cost.

Here are some early impressions from the blogoshpere:

Engadget’s Darren Murph speculates that iPad users looking for something lighter will be disappointed by the TouchPad’s 1.6 pound-heft. While Sean Hollister’s first impression is that the TouchPad’s slim black profile highlights its brilliant screen.

Gizmodo’s Jason Chen thinks the TouchPad’s four different keyboard sizes are cool.

What did not happen at the Verizon iPhone launch

USA/After years of rumors and breathless anticipation, Apple’s iPhone is finally coming to the network of Verizon Wireless. But because Verizon is launching a version of the device that has been available from rival AT&T for more than half a year, there was little new technology on display to excite the gadget geeks and Apple fanboys.

And the show failed to deliver on some of the more intriguing rumors that have been kicking around about the event, which was announced suddenly last Friday and thus managed to steal plenty of thunder from the Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas, where most tech reporters were camped out.

Here’s a quick rundown of what did NOT happen on Tuesday

    No white iPhone – Like a Yeti, the white iPhone seems to exist only in legend. The company has repeatedly delayed the launch of the device, saying at last check it was due this spring. No one is sure exactly why the White iPhone is proving so difficult to produce. But some had expected (or perhaps hoped) to see it appear Tuesday as part of the Verizon announcement, but it was not to be. No LTE – Verizon has launched a new high-speed wireless network in markets covering 110 million people with a new technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE), and has promised 10 new gadgets using that network by mid-year. But the iPhone 4 is apparently not one of them. “Clearly some people wanted LTE,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. No Steve Jobs – No one was quite sure whether the Apple CEO himself would appear on stage at a Verizon-staged event. Some in the Apple blogosphere were skeptical, and they proved correct. It was Tim Cook, Apple’s COO — certainly no slouch, but not someone who commands the sort of spotlight that’s Apple’s head honcho does. For those accustomed to Apple-hosted events, Jobs’ absence was felt: “This was not a Jobs-worthy event. But I thought for sure they’d throw them a bone with a white iPhone,” joked BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis

Verizon’s iPhone antenna ‘death grip’ proof?

vzapplOn the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.

But the blogosphere quickly picked up on one intriguing change in Verizon’s iPhone: the all-important antenna, which wraps around the device. You can see some pics from Gizmodo here, highlighting the differences between iPhones offered by Verizon and AT&T.

You will recall that the antenna for AT&T’s iPhone was the source of quite the uproar last summer, when some users complained of poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way.  The issue unexpectedly snowballed, giving rise to such memorable phrases as “Antennagate” and “iPhone 4 death grip.” Of course, none of it seemed to dent iPhone sales.

Closer look at Google’s Honeycomb

Google stole the show from Verizon at the opening keynote at CES, showing off its new Honeycomb software, the first version of the Android operating system specifically designed for tablets.

Android developer Mike Cleron wowed a packed hall with a quick spin around its features, including a new-look home screen, pixel buttons, multitasking, smooth video and an eye-catching 3-D mapping tool that lets you ’tilt’ the view to get a better idea of what you are looking at.

Google has posted a video of the new system in action on YouTube. YouTube Preview Image

RIM’s PlayBook looks smooth in first demo

CESEver since its announcement last fall, gadget geeks have been itching to take Research in Motion’s new tablet for a test drive. Tech reporters finally got some hands-on time with the device — the PlayBook — on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Amid a crush of iPad wannabes, RIM’s tablet proved to be a pleasant surprise.

Some companies used CES to show off less-than-fully-baked tablets, with vendors such as Motorola saying the software was not fully ready. The PlayBook (while also still a work in progress; the real deal will launch in February or March) was noticeably zippy (it sports a speedy dual-core chip). It also has an attractive, intuitive user interface, and played Flash-based videos from the Web at a snap.

It is of course way too early to say flatly that the PlayBook is a real-deal competitor to Apple’s iPad, but the initial take on the device in at least some prominent tech blogs seemed very positive. And with a slew of Android-based tablets hitting the market in the coming months, RIM’s tablet certainly offers a different option. RIM said flat-out that corporate interest in the PlayBook is “massive.” The mobile chief of AT&T said on Wednesday that his customers were looking forward to getting more information about the device.