? All Tech Radio Episode 356
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  • Referencing "sources who have proven accurate in the past," the website iMore reports the next-generation iPhone and iPad mini will be announced on September 12, with both products available for purchase on September 21. The fall release puts the phone and perpetually rumored tablet on the market in time for the holiday shopping season. It's all but certain that Apple will announce a new iPhone soon - the iPhone 4S is ripe for an update, and iPhone 5 rumor reports are hitting critical mass. In fact, just this Sunday, a website in Japan reported it had assembled the new phone's chassis from ramdom leaked parts. However, an imminent small form factor iPad - rumors peg the display at 7.85 inches - is much less certain. The smaller iPad would go toe to toe against the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, entering a sizing category with proven consumer interest. While Apple dominates the tablet market, it has yet to release a device that challenges the smaller tablet field.
  • Apple says Mac users downloaded 3 million copies of Mountain Lion, its latest operating system, in the first four days it was available. That makes it the fastest launch of an Apple operating system ever, the company says. It released Mountain Lion Wednesday. Apple charges $20 for the software. That pays for downloads for all of a buyer's personal computers. Apple also provides the OS for free to buyers who bought a Mac on or after June 11. Mountain Lion brings features from the iPhone and iPad to the Mac. The enhancements include tight integration with Apple's online storage service, iCloud, and a "Notification Center" that shows incoming mail, calendar reminders and other events.
  • Apple, reportedly in talks with Twitter over the past few months about taking a big stake in the microblogging service to help shore up its social networking deficiencies, hasn't reached a deal with the San Francisco startup, according to reports. The size of the investment Apple had been mulling could have been "in the hundreds of millions of dollars," according to The New York Times, which cited unnamed sources as saying that talks in recent months put Twitter's valuation by Apple's lights at more than $10 billion, or at least $1.5 billion more than the company had been valued previously.
  • Google fiber started last week in Kansas City. "Google Fiber starts at a speed 100 times faster than most Americans have today," Milo Medin, vice president of access services at Google, said at the Fiber event today in Kansas City. According to Google, the connection will run at 1,000Mb per second -- much faster than Comcast's 100 mb top speed in Portland. Fiber-optic connections provide much faster speeds than DSL and cable. The faster Internet connection will enable faster web surfing, video streaming, and uploading; downloading a movie will take just a few minutes.
  • At the Defcon conference in Las Vegas last week the NSA chief appealed to hackers at the conference. Gen. Keith Alexander said he either wanted the hackers to help the NSA. The unspoken statement was that if you don't the NSA will find you out and hurt you. DefCon founder Jeff Moss told the crowd that he asked Alexander to speak at the conference to educate conference goers about the NSA, which he described as one of "spookiest, least known" organizations in the world. After reports of Alexander's appearance started making the rounds, skeptics took to online forums to express their doubts about helping the NSA make the Internet more secure "from exploitation, disruption, and destruction."
  • Google Maps has expanded the number of locations upgraded with new high resolution satellite imagery and among them is London's Olympic Park. In a post on the Google Lat Long blog, the company says the aerial, satellite and 45 degree imagery has been upgraded in 25 cities and in 75 countries and regions around the world. The upgrades are visible in both Google Maps and Google Earth. The updates feature new satellite tours of the Olympic Park, shot in May while the final touches were being made to the construction. Parts of London now also have access to new 45 degree imagery. Just click on maps at google.com and type in London.
  • Mecha-heads rejoice: A Gundam-style giant robot has come to life in Japan, promising joyrides aplenty in this 13-foot humanoid machine on wheels. Suidobashi Heavy Industry showed off its Kuratas mecha bot over the weekend in Makuhari just outside Tokyo. Kuratas is a four-wheeled, 30-joint exoskeleton that can be piloted from its cockpit or remotely with a 3G touch-screen phone. It was demoed at the Wonder Festival, where legions of robot fans gathered. Kuratas can move its massive torso, arms, and hands, and has a few "weapons" like a "LOHAS launcher," but it actually shoots BB pellets and fireworks. It can also grab things (like humans) with its claw-like fingers.
  • The value of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's stake in the company he founded has plunged $7.2 billion since its initial public offering. Zuckerberg was worth $19.1 billion, based on the IPO price of $38 a share back in May. He sold 30 million shares on the stock's debut day in order to raise cash to pay taxes, but he still had 503 million shares at the conclusion of the IPO.
  • The countdown clock on Nextel's final year of service begins in earnest. Sprint declared that Nextel's network will go dark by June 30, 2013. For the millions of customers that remained loyal to the brand, it will be a time of transition. For those of us who joined Nextel early and helped build it, it's a bittersweet time as we reflect on what we helped create. It's also time for many of us to celebrate not just the fact that the company thrived for many years -- but in fact that the company managed to survive at all against what seemed to be impossible odds
  • The most important confrontation in the "thermonuclear war" Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs launched against Google's (GOOG) Android operating system two years ago is scheduled to begin in earnest Monday when two armies of opposing lawyers meet in a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. The highly-technical confrontation pits the world's most valuable company, whose iPhone once dominated the touchscreen smartphone market and whose iPad still has the largest share of tablet computers, against South Korea's largest manufacturer, which makes tablets and phones that run Google's Android operating system and whose smartphones are now outselling Apple's.

email from listeners:

  • Shawna from Portland asks "What will happen if Facebook's stocks continue to fall?"