Monthly Archives: December 2011

How Apple’s Future Revolves Around Siri

iPhone-4S-ModelsIn recent weeks, Apple has hosted face-to-face meetings with several prominent media executives to share plans for future iPods and a new television platform, presumably called “iTV.” The company has explained how it plans to integrate all of its devices such as the iPhone and iPad via “Smart” Bluetooth 4.0, but the brain that will power all of these devices is none other than Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S.

With Siri, Apple has proved that it can make virtual assistants both useful and friendly. The technology, which helps users call, text, e-mail, schedule meetings, surf the Web and find answers to complicated context-sensitive questions, was born out of a $150 million project from DARPA and SRI Ventures, the largest artificial intelligence project in U.S. history to date. The unique feature has driven sales of the iPhone 4S to make the new smartphone one of the most successful product launches in the company’s history.

With the iPhone 4S launch in the rear view mirror, Apple is looking ahead, searching for new and innovative ways to integrate its powerful voice-activated technology into its other consumer-friendly iOS products, such as the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Here are the various ways Apple plans to make Siri into a flagship tool on all its devices.

iPod and Siri

A New York Times report discovered one quiet Apple project where Siri would power an iPod that would wrap around one’s wrist like a watch.

“Over the last year, Apple and Google have secretly begun working on projects that will become wearable computers. Their main goal: to sell more smartphones,” wrote Nick Bilton. “A person with knowledge of the company’s plans told me that a “very small group of Apple employees” had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices. One idea being discussed is a curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist; people could communicate with the device using Siri, the company’s artificial intelligence software.”

Presumably, Siri on an iPod would perform like it does on the iPhone 4S: Users could hold down the home button to activate Siri, and then users can ask her to play a song, artist or playlist, as well as pause or skip a song. There’s a good chance that Apple will expand Siri’s capabilities by the time one of these devices emerges. In the future, Siri might be able to play specific albums, or even be able to create “smart playlists” based off genres, number of plays and the mood of the music.

iPhone and Siri

Siri is already on the iPhone 4S, and Apple has no plans to remove the personal assistant from any future iterations of the popular smartphone. Siri is still in beta on the 4S, but by the time that beta sticker is removed, we hope to see a number of smart features added to the platform.

The original Siri app for iPhone could actually integrate with other applications such as OpenTable or RottenTomatoes; now that Siri is a key feature for the iPhone, expect the technology to grow even smarter.

The only way Siri can get smarter is for its programmers to literally expand the system’s knowledge base. Apple would be smart to tap the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia, as well as WebMD to add their libraries of useful encyclopedic data to Siri.

This could have unlimited potential in the several industries, but the medical field would enjoy the biggest boost. If Siri could ask a list of questions and respond to each answer uniquely, even furthering the conversation with the patient with qualifications and clarifications, doctors and nurses could literally save thousands of hours of asking patients the same laundry list of prying medical history questions. Doctors could attend to more important matters while Siri stays with the patient and collects data. There aren’t enough doctors to do the work that needs to be done, but Siri could potentially change that. IBM’s supercomputer “Watson” has this technology but it’s not available for consumer use.

See more tech news on the FOX Business Technology page.

iPad and Siri

While iPhones cast a broad appeal, people specifically approach iPads for business, education, and productivity purposes. Given that Siri can read messages aloud and accommodate back-and-forth interact with its user, the voice technology has incredible potential on the iPad.

“iPads in schools are helping kids learn in amazing new ways,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the iPhone 4S unveiling. “iPads can change the way teachers teach and kids learn. Almost 1,000 K-12 schools have a 1-to-1 program so a kid can enjoy the iPad for the entire day. And it’s not just happening in K-12; higher ed is also doing this. About 1,000 universities across the U.S., including schools like Stanford, Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago, all have iPad programs.”

More importantly, Siri on the iPad could aid people and children with learning disabilities like never before. Since the device first debuted in April 2010, educators have praised the iPad for its ability to attract children and keep them interested while also expediting their cognitive development. The iPad has hundreds of available apps that aid in fine-tuning social skills, motor skills, sensory skills, and communication and language skills. Therapists, autism experts, and parents call the iPad “a near-miracle device.”

Beyond the classroom, Siri for the iPad can be an assistant for professional settings, too.

“In the cockpit, pilots are using [iPads],” Cook said. “They’re replacing 40-pound flight bags full of paper manuals and log books and navigation charts and checklists, making the pilot more efficient and making the plane more fuel efficient. [iPads] are also showing up in hospitals, where medical professionals are using them to access patient records, review medical images, to administer bedside care.”

The iPad is already the most popular and best-selling tablet on the market, but with more applications, functions, and a bigger screen that appeals to audiences on the younger and older side of the age spectrum, Siri help launch the iPad into another stratosphere.

Apple TV and Siri

The next Apple TV device, as well as the “integrated television” project dreamed up by the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, will both reportedly showcase Siri in new ways. Jobs wanted to reduce the amount of clutter in the TV watching experience, namely in the number of remotes needed to control cable channels and peripherals like DVD players and video game consoles.

“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

Since Jobs’ death, his statements about the iTV have spurred development for the new product, which will also reportedly feature “Smart” Bluetooth 4.0, a quad-core A6 processor, and come in three sizes. In addition, future iPhones and iPads will reportedly become remote controls for this new Apple-made television, and it’s all made possible thanks to Bluetooth 4.0.

Manufactured by Broadcom, Bluetooth 4.0 prides itself on its “coexistence algorithms” and ability to connect with a greater number of wireless devices faster and more reliably. Assuming Apple plans to port Siri to its future devices, it’s entirely likely Siri could help users control and navigate the Apple iTV interface, especially for searching and discovering content in the same way as on the iPhone 4S.

“In the recent meetings with media companies, the Apple executives, including Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, have outlined new ways Apple’s technology could recognize users across phones, tablets and TVs,” said one Wall Street Journal report. “In at least one meeting, Apple described future television technology that would respond to users’ voices and movements, one of the people said. Such technology, which Apple indicated may take longer than some of its other ideas, might allow users to use their voices to search for a show or change channels.

Bluetooth 4.0, which also creates an instantaneous connection without the need for Wi-Fi or 3G, could also leverage the gyroscopes and accelerometers within the iOS devices to make each Apple handheld into a motion-sensitive game controller. For instance, if you’re playing a driving game, you hold your iPhone or iPad like a wheel and the car on the screen could mirror your turning motions. If Apple can achieve this kind of connection, Apple may finally be able to translate mobile gaming to “console” gaming and finally face down Microsoft and the Xbox360.

What’s Next for Siri?

With its ability to connect to other applications, tools and services, Siri has near-unlimited potential. Wolfram Alpha’s extensive knowledge base helped launch Siri, but the feature has a far more useful component if it can be used correctly: Memory.

Siri is an incredibly useful tool on the iPhone 4S, but human personal assistants still one-up Siri in their ability to remember what you told them. Sure, Siri can set up alarms and meetings and remind you of them ahead of time, but there’s no way to look up past conversations with Siri, and everything Siri does for you is immediately lost if you resume normal activities on the 4S.

Thanks to iCloud, Apple devices can instantly upload and share important phone data wirelessly, which allows users to store documents, contacts, e-mail and even music in the cloud. If Siri can leverage Apple’s free cloud service, Siri could store information about its user, including what routine activities they perform with voice-activation, and remember it for future recall.

We all have our morning routines. For some, it’s checking mail, Facebook, or Twitter. For others, it’s all about reading news articles or the weather forecast. How nice would it be if every morning, you could turn on your iPhone and see exactly what you wanted to see? Since Siri is so smart and so customizable, this would be a nice feature to give the user everything desired without any extra work.

Life is made simpler with a virtual assistant, but one with perfect memory could be incredibly useful. If WebMD’s library of knowledge were integrated with Siri, the system could remember past symptoms and cross reference current symptoms to create a well-informed plan-of action. Should Siri get ported to the Apple TV or iTV, the AI assistant could also remember a user’s favorite TV shows, channels and games.

If Siri really wants to be a viable personal assistant, it must find a way to retain information. Until then, it’s just a tool, albeit a flashy and funny one.


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Posted by on 28/12/2011 in IT


Intel’s 32nm Medfield SoC specs and benchmarks leak

intcmedfieldtabletplatfoIntel’s Medfield may still be a ways from breaking into the smartphone and tablet market, but we’re finally starting to get some concrete details on its specs and capabilities. VR-Zone got the bitty gritty on Chipzilla’s first true SoC and it looks almost ready to run with the big dogs. A reference tablet, running at 1.6GHz with 1GB of RAM (which also packs Bluetooth, WiFi and FM radio) was put through some Android benchmarks and held it’s own against a Tegra 2 and a Snapdragon MSM8260 — which pulled a 7,500 and 8,000 in Caffeinemark 3, respectively. The admittedly higher clocked Atom scored an impressive 10,500, though, power consumption on the pre-production chips was a bit higher than anticipated. At idle the fledgling Medfield was sucking down 2.6W and spiking to 3.6W under load. Ultimately Intel hopes to cut those numbers to 2W at idle and 2.6W while pushing out HD video — not far off from current-gen ARM SoC. Lets not forget though, benchmarks only tell part of the story — we’ll be waiting to see working hardware before declaring a victor. by engadget

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Posted by on 28/12/2011 in IT


Android Market surpasses 10 billion app downloads; Google kicks off $0.10 app sale

android-market-10-billionGoogle officially announced on Tuesday that there have now been more than 10 billion apps downloaded from the Android Market. As of July there had been 6 billion total application downloads, which means the Android Market is seeing incredibly fast growth. Google confirmed that its app store now has a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month and it wants to celebrate the success with Android smartphone owners. For the next 10 days, Google will offer several applications each day for just $0.10 a piece. Beginning Tuesday, Asphalt 6 HD, Color & Draw for Kids, Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro, Fieldrunners HD, Great Little War Game, Minecraft, Paper Camera, Sketchbook Mobile, Soundhound Infinity and Swiftkey X are each available for just $0.10. by bgr

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Posted by on 26/12/2011 in IT


Samsung Offers Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrade for GALAXY devices

BGR-T-Mobile-Galaxy-S-II-top-wmSamsung Electronics plan to provide the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for GALAXY devices. The platform update for GALAXY S II and GALAXY Note will start in the first quarter 2012, and other GALAXY devices will soon follow.

The ICS-upgradable devices are the GALAXY S II, GALAXY S II LTE, GALAXY Note, GALAXY R, GALAXY Tab 10.1, GALAXY Tab 8.9, GALAXY Tab 7.7, and GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus.

For upgradable models, Samsung will make separate announcements on details of OS updates schedule for each market according to market situation and carriers’ requirements.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Samsung GALAXY Nexus, the first Ice Cream Sandwich powered smartphone, were first unveiled at a Google/Samsung joint news conference in Hong Kong on October 19th.

Ice Cream Sandwich brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. It has a redesigned user interface with improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support and a full Web browsing experience. Ice Cream Sandwich also features a new People App which lets users browse pictures, messages and social network updates from friends, family and co-workers.

Ice Cream Sandwich also introduces innovations such as Face Unlock, which uses facial recognition to unlock the smartphone. Using NFC technology, Android Beam allows users to quickly share Web pages, apps and YouTube™ videos with friends by simply tapping two phones back-to-back. Users can even use fun effects while shooting video or video chatting with Google Talk™.

* Google, Nexus, Android, Android Market, YouTube, Google Talk, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Calendar are trademarks of Google, Inc.

source: samsungtomorrow

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Posted by on 26/12/2011 in IT


30 of the Best Apps For Your New iPhone

iPhone-4S1You just got a new iPhone, and now you need some great apps! The App Store can be a daunting environment to get used to, so we thought we’d take the time to point you in the right direction.

Here are some of the best apps available in the App Store for any new iPhone. We’ve got apps from multiple categories, so there’s sure to be something for everyone!


    Facebook for iPhone lets you stay connected and share with friends on the go. Start a chat, keep up with friends’ photos and status updates, look up a phone number, upload photos to Facebook and more—right from your iPhone.


    Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone (and iPod touch) Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it’s the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds & animation, or features like multiple timelines & smart gestures, there’s a lot to love about Tweetbot.


    Now a universal app for both iPad & iPhone, Twitterrific is the friendly, award-winning Twitter client that’s beautiful to look at easy to use and full of elegant features. Effortlessly read and compose tweets, search, filter message types and much more.


    Call, video call and instant message anyone else on Skype for free with Skype for your iPhone or iPod touch. Plus call and text your Contacts (or any other number) at Skype’s low rates. It’s great value with Skype Credit. Skype for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is free to download and works over 3G* or Wi-Fi.



    Pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects or tilt-shift blur to breathe a new life into your mobile photos. Transform everyday moments into works of art you’ll want to share with friends and family. Share your photos in a simple photo stream with friends to see – and follow your friends’ photos with the click of a single button. Every day you open up Instagram, you’ll see new photos from your closest friends, and creative people from around the world.

LED Light for iPhone

    The fastest and most elegant iPhone 4 light app, featuring instant-on startup, a beautiful easy-to-use interface, and powerful advanced features.


    Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos. Everybody has a creative side… Camera+ will help bring that creativity out in you, all with a fun, innovative, and beautiful design.



    Get free access to Spotify Premium now! With Premium you’ll get access to 15 million tracks from thousands of albums and artists on your iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad. If you haven’t tried Premium before, you can try it on your mobile for 48-hours, completely free. You don’t even have to enter credit card details. Simply download this app

iTunes Movie Trailers

    iTunes Movie Trailers puts the newest and most exclusive movie previews in HD in your hands. Browse trailers, clips, and featurettes for the biggest Hollywood blockbusters and independent cinema; view stunning HD photos; explore a year-long calendar of movie releases; find showtimes near you and get ticket into directly from your iPad or iPhone.


    Just download this free app and you can instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix.


    Hear a song you don’t know? Shazam identifies it instantly – the 4th most downloaded App of all time.



    Google Reader Client.


    Fill Flipboard with the things you like to read, from the smallest blogs to publications like Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair, and use Instapaper or Read It Later to save articles to read later. Connect Flipboard to all your social networks, and you’ll have a single place to enjoy, browse, comment on and share all the news, photos and updates that matter to you.


    Save web pages for later offline reading, optimized for readability on your iPhone or iPod touch’s screen. Featured by Apple and critically acclaimed by top blogs, newspapers, and magazines! Great for long articles and blog posts that you find during the day and would like to read, but don’t have the time when you find them. Save with Instapaper, then read later when you’re commuting, in a meeting, or waiting in line.

Amazon Mobile

    The Amazon Mobile App allows iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to quickly search, shop, compare prices, read reviews, and make purchases on Amazon using a simple, yet elegant, interface. To make on-the-go shopping and price comparison even easier, the Amazon Mobile App includes helpful shopping features that allow users to scan a barcode, snap a photo, or type a search, to quickly compare prices and check availability.


Angry Birds

    The survival of the Angry Birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the greedy pigs who stole their eggs. Use the unique powers of each bird to destroy the pigs’ defenses. Angry Birds features challenging physics-based gameplay and hours of replay value. Each level requires logic, skill and force to solve.

Tiny Tower

    Tiny Tower lets you build a tiny tower and manage the businesses and bitizens that inhabit it!

Infinity Blade II

    The God King has been defeated, an unlikely hero has emerged and now you must discover the truth behind the secrets of the Infinity Blade. The continuing journey of young Siris unfolds as you delve deeper into the world of the Deathless tyrants and their legion of Titans. Can you unlock all the mysteries and successfully wield the power of the Infinity Blade in this timeless swordplay adventure of champions and villains?

Temple Run

    From the makers of the award-winning best-seller Harbor Master® comes the most exhilarating running game on the App Store. Test your reflexes as you race down ancient temple walls and along sheer cliffs. Swipe to turn, jump and slide to avoid obstacles, collect coins and buy power ups, and see how far you can run!

Whale Trail

    Fly Willow the Whale high through the sky in the magical world of Rainbow Land. Watch out for the angry sea monster Baron Von Barry who is ever close on Willow’s tail. Collect Blubbles, loop the loop, smash the grumpy Thunder Bros enemies and meet friends along the way.

Jetpack Joyride

    Suit up with a selection of the coolest jetpacks ever made and take to the skies as Barry Steakfries, the lovable hero on a one-way trip to adventure! From the creators of the worldwide phenomenon Fruit Ninja comes the action-packed Jetpack Joyride, Halfbrick’s most anticipated iPhone game ever!


    SHADOWGUN puts you into the role of John Slade, the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter. Your mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, maniacal genius and leader of his own mutant army. Infiltrate Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fight his personal guard of cyborgs, battle droids, and genetically-enhanced humanoids. Using state-of-the-art weaponry, ships, and the assistance of S.A.R.A.—Slade’s personal android assistant—SHADOWGUN combines intense tactical combat with 3rd person action.


Find My iPhone

    If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map. You can then choose to display a message or play a sound, remotely lock your device, or erase your data on it.


    Control iTunes and Apple TV using your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad over your Wi-Fi network. Choose playlists, songs, and albums as if you were right in front of your computer or Apple TV. From anywhere in your home change a song, pick a playlist or browse through your entire library.  With a flick of your finger, you can even control every aspect of the Apple TV user interface.  Use your device’s QWERTY keyboard to quickly tap out the title instead of clicking letters on the Apple TV screen. Then keep tapping to play, fast forward, rewind, and pause to your finger’s content. Remote has been fully optimized to take advantage of the large screen real estate of the iPad as well as the spectacular Retina display in the iPhone 4, and new iPod touch. Mobile Speed Test

    Use for easy, one-tap connection testing in under 30 seconds—accurate anywhere thanks to our global network.


    Transform your iPhone, iPad or iPod to remotely control your computer through WiFi. Extended keyboard, Multi-Touch Trackpad and Apple Remote.


    1Password is an award-winning password and identity manager with more than 1 million users worldwide. This is a special edition of 1Password *just* for iPhone and iPod touch. If you own an iPad, check out 1Password Pro—our universal app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch!



    The Wunderlist mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch will boost your productivity. Organize your to-do lists on the go and synchronize them with your free Wunderlist account. View and modify your tasks on Windows, Mac, Linux,iPad, Android and the Web. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide use Wunderlist everyday. Wunderlist – your tasks anywhere, anytime.


    Pages is the most beautiful word processor you’ve ever seen on a mobile device. This powerful app has been exclusively designed for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Create, edit, and view documents wherever you are. Use dictation in iOS 5 on your iPhone 4S to easily create and edit documents. Pages works with iCloud, so your documents stay up to date across all your iOS devices — automatically.


    Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. After you install Dropbox on your computer, any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, your iPhone and iPad and even the Dropbox website! With the Dropbox app, you can take everything that matters to you on the go.

You can check out Apple’s own

App Store Essentials: Hall of Fame” list in the App Store. Have fun with your iPhone! by idownloadblog

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Posted by on 26/12/2011 in IT


Analyst disses iPad mini as new mockup measures 7.85-inch iPad against 9.7-inch iPad

ipad-mini-ciccaresedesign-001CiccareseDesign has quite a head-turning portfolio of Apple product mockups. Gorgeous, brave and imaginative… most are, however, poised to remain a wishful thought. Its newest rendering is especially interesting as it depicts what a rumored 7.85-inch iPad would look like compared to the existing 9.7-inch device. According to supply chain sources, Apple is set to release the iPad mini in 2012, with the production slated for the second quarter.

For those that never held Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire, this mockup helps people understand why a smaller iPad might make sense. Still not convinced? Print a pair of downloadable PDFs (Home Screen, Keyboard) at 100 percent size. You will immediately get a feel of how a 7.85-inch Apple tablet could measure against the iPad. You can also view it in actual size in the iPad’s web browser here.

Of course, if such a device is on Apple’s roadmap, the company would be wise to equip the iPad mini with the same 1024-by-768 pixel resolution display found on the original iPad to avoid platform fragmentation and make the existing apps run without having to update with new assets and user interface changes. The mockup is a collaboration between CiccareseDesign and MacRumors.

Steve Jobs on the prospect of 7-inch iPad during a fourth quarter conference call in 2010 with a Wall Street analyst:

    It’s meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.

Wedge Partners’ Brian Blair  wrote in a note to clients today that Apple will stick to the 9.7-inch form factor:

ipad-mini-ciccaresedesign-002    Don’t expect a 7-incher. While we believe Apple has tested 7-inch screen prototypes for over a year, we don’t currently expect the company to release anything in the 7-inch size in 2012. We believe Apple is highly likely to keep the iPad 2 on the production line after the launch of iPad 3 and offer it at a lower price point in an effort to address demand at the mid-tier, what we view as the $249 – $499 range. We believe iPad 2′s price could drop to the $349 to $399 range with Apple offering a single 16GB model.

Watch the video below to hear Jobs’ full comment on “the avalanche” of 7-inch tablets that were poised to enter the market shortly following the iPad’s April 2010 debut (also from the Wall Street analyst conference call): by 9to5mac

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Posted by on 26/12/2011 in IT


iPhone Apps Gone Free Just In Time For Christmas!

App-Store-logoWhatsApp Messnger

WhatsApp Messanger is a bit of a legend in the mobile app world, offering a free way to send messages to your friends and family, so long as they have the app installed too.

That might seem like a limiting factor – what if the recipient does not have a phone that is supported by WhatsApp? Well, given the fact WhatsApp is available for the iPhone, Android, Nokia and BlackBerry handsets then the chances are your friends can at least give WhatsApp a try. At the usual price of $0.99 it was worth a punt, but for the risk-free price of free, it’s a no-brainer.


LogMeIn is roundly accepted to be one of the best remote desktop applications on the planet, and at its previous price of $30 it was still considered something of a bargain. At the new low price of free, then you really can’t go wrong.

The reason for the new price tag is a change in business model, which has left the app being offered for absolutely nothing with a basic – still plenty for most – feature set, with more options made available via an in-app purchase subscription model. It’s an interesting move to the freemium model, but if you can make do with the free version then you are onto a winner.

Jetpack Joyride

There is not really that much to be said about Jetpack Joyride, and we are willing to bet a small sum that you already own this wondrous little game.

The critically acclaimed game by the same developer as Fruit Ninja has been taking the mobile gaming world by storm of late, and if you do not already own this little gem then you really should, especially considering it is absolutely free!

source: Apple, redmondpie

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Posted by on 26/12/2011 in IT

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