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Still in short supply, iPhone 5 heads to India then China

That Apple plans to fill orders in those two populous countries at the same time that it’s still weeks behind fulfilling orders in the U.S. and elsewhere leaves little hope that Apple will catch up on backorders anytime soon.

The iPhone 5 may be fresh out of stock almost everywhere, but Apple is continuing its plan to bring the device to more countries.

Apple’s newest smartphone is reportedly set to go on sale in India on Nov. 2, according to a report in India’s Economic Times on Friday. But it’s not the only big country Apple’s planning to launch in soon: on Apple’s earnings call on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook told investors that the device would hit China sometime before the end of the year. That Apple plans to fill orders in those two populous countries –at the same time that it’s still weeks behind fulfilling orders in the U.S. and elsewhere — leaves little hope that Apple will catch up on backorders anytime soon.

The Economic Times report claims that the iPhone 5 launch had been pushed back in India, but that Apple is beginning to stock iPhone 5 inventory at several retail partners in the country in time for a launch next week. “A November 2 launch is certain and the stock is expected to start arriving at the master distributors Redington India and Ingram Micro within next two to three days” and pre-ordering will kick off in the next day or so, according to unnamed sources quoted by the Times.

A month after launch the iPhone 5 is for sale in 31 countries. But the wait is three to four weeks for a new device at many carriers and retailers, including Apple itself.

There are two issues plaguing iPhone 5 supply: intense demand coupled with a tricky manufacturing and building process. The company sold 5 million of the phones the first weekend it was available, but could likely sell more if it wasn’t having trouble getting them out of the factories in China. The builder of the iPhone 5, China’s Foxconn, says it’s the “most difficult device Foxconn has ever assembled.” The complicated design reportedly requires extreme precision when it comes to assembly.

Even when asked directly, Cook refused to say on the earnings call yesterday whether Apple would bring its iPhone supply in balance with demand by the end of 2012, which coincides with the all-important holiday sales period:

I’m not projecting whether supply/demand will balance, I’m saying I’m confident we’ll be able to supply quite a few [iPhone 5 units] during the quarter. But I can’t tell when that balance occurs, i can’t say. Demand is very robust.

That answer was certainly not a “yes.” The holidays plus India coming on board will be one challenge, but China is an even bigger beast. The country and its surrounding region represented 15 percent of Apple’s revenue in the last fiscal year, or about $24 billion. Apple’s products are in extremely high demand there — this is the country, after all, in which customers rioted and threw eggs at an Apple Store when it didn’t open on time for iPhone 4S sales earlier this year.

Apple has repeatedly reminded us that this is the company’s fastest rollout of a product yet. But that rollout hasn’t been without problems that could potentially sour customers on the brand if forced to wait weeks or months for something they’ve paid for. Granted, having outsize demand for your latest product is a problem most companies would kill to have.

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Wait a minute. Is this an Apple store?

In Microsoft’s pop-up store in Times Square store today, there was a little confusion, a little curiosity, and a lot of resemblance to another big tech company.

Microsoft opened a pop-up store in New York’s Times Square to promote and sell its new Windows operating system and its Surface tablet.

This week marked a pretty big time for Microsoft. It launched Windows 8 and its new Surfacetablet, and it also opened up its first stores — albeit temporary — in New York.

But the reaction to all three has been a little mixed. It’s uncertain what sort of demand Windows 8 will see, and reviewers say the company’s Surface is innovative but lacks apps.

In the stores, meanwhile, there’s a little confusion, a little curiosity, and a lot of resemblance to Apple.

The software giant officially unveiled Windows 8 yesterday during a New York event. To bring more attention — and garner more sales — it opened two temporary Windows Stores in New York, one in Times Square and the other in the Time Warner Center near Central Park.

Visiting the Times Square store felt a little like deja vu. Everything from the floors to the employees looked a lot like the fixtures in Apple’s iconic stores. Windows Store workers were wearing brightly colored shirts that say “Click in and do more,” and all had badges around their necks with their name.

The Windows Store itself featured large signs on the walls showing close-ups of Surface and minimal amounts of text, and demo stations were set up neatly around the room for customers to actually try out the tablet and its keyboard options. The Surface tables were pretty busy, though the Windows 8 table looked pretty lonely.

Both Manhattan locations are in heavily trafficked areas, which means the store clientele is a sort of hodgepodge of tourists, businesspeople, and Microsoft fans. In the Times Square location this morning, all of the visitors really wanted to see the Surface, but there also was some confusion about what it’s capable of doing.

One of Microsoft’s pop-up stores is in the Manhattan’s busy Times Square.

Microsoft employees patiently walked customers through demos and tried to explain the benefits of the Windows RT system. But no, they admitted, it doesn’t do some things consumers are used to doing on Windows, like playing certain games.

For some people, that didn’t matter. Melinda George, manager of the store, wouldn’t provide CNET with sales details, but she did say the store is running low on certain Surface products.

“We’re selling out fast,” she said.

One such buyer, Mark (who declined to give his last name because his boss thought he was on a bathroom break), said he owns Apple products and likes them, but he wanted something with broader functionality than the iPad — namely, access to more traditional PC applications.

He shrugged off concerns about legacy compatability and a shortage of apps, saying that happens with every new platform. And he noted that people always seem to find something to criticize about Microsoft.

“Microsoft could come out with immortality and people wouldn’t be a fan,” he said.

And Carlos Vargas and Federico Comes, lawyers from Puerto Rico in town on business, each bought a Surface after first considering the Barnes & Noble Nook.

“The Nook is fine is you really just want an e-reader,” Vargas said. But he wanted to access Office and other programs through his device.

Federico Comes and Carlos Vargas get a demo from a Windows Store employee.

Most people seemed pretty absorbed by the Surface, with one couple from out of the country saying they didn’t have time to talk because they wanted to focus on checking out the device.

And some of Microsoft’s own execs were checking out the store and new device, as were employees from partners like B&N.

The Times Square store opened at 10 p.m. ET yesterday, welcoming about 600 waiting customers, according to a Microsoft spokeswoman. At 10:30, Microsoft had a steady flow of visitors, and a security guard told CNET that about 1,000 people had entered the store between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

How many of those became Surface buyers is unclear. But if Microsoft’s main goal was getting attention for its new OS and device, it appears to have succeeded.

Who’s More Annoying, Fanboys Or Fandroids?

Check out this “Shit Android Fanatics Say” video. Could this guy be any more grating? Get it out of your system in the comments below. You’ll feel so much better.
Hat tip to Android and Me, our sister site, for spotting this video by Mobile Phone Finder in Australia.It appears to be a response to September’s “Shit Apple Fanatics Say, Part 1” from the same outfit:

The Evolution Of The Smartphone

This is an interesting walk through the history of the smartphone from HTC’s perspective. It points out key products, moments and announcements from the companies that pioneered the mobile computer. As the timeline enters the age of ubiquitous mobility, it brings in key stats about mobile usage in terms of data, time, and people. There are also some kind-of-funny jokes.

 

Microsoft Surface Day 1: The unboxing and bootup

My family’s new Microsoft Surface — the one that I convinced my wife to buy instead of an iPad — arrived this morning via FedEx. I haven’t had much time to spend setting it up and using it as I’d like, but I made sure to document the ceremonial unboxing and first bootup in the office.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be posting about our efforts to incorporate this new device into our lives, and also sharing my family’s reaction. My first goal this weekend is to get the new Xbox SmartGlass app working with our Xbox 360 in the living room, because that was one of the selling points of Windows 8 for me. But the big test, over time, will be whether the Surface makes my wife forget about the fact that she had wanted an iPad.

In the meantime, here are pictures showing the unboxing, plus quick video highlights of the first bootup.

Live Wallpaper lock screen support rumored for Windows Phone 8

We’re just days away from the grand unveiling of Windows Phone 8, and it appears that a previously unannounced feature has been revealed. Nokia Innovation has posted an image of what is described as a Live Wallpaper lock screen feature for Windows Phone 8. It appears to show wallpapers that automatically update with live information from first- and third-party apps for Windows Phone’s lock screen.

Bing, ESPN, and USA Today appear to support the feature, with current news displayed on the USA Today version. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of detail on exactly how this feature works in Windows Phone 8. Microsoft is holding an event in San Francisco on Monday, where the company will detail all of the new Windows Phone 8 features. The Verge will be reporting live, so stay tuned for more information on Microsoft’s latest mobile OS.

Microsoft plans to replace your actual windows with Windows 8

Microsoft announces a bold new plan to remove all windows and replace them with a new product it is calling Live Tiles, which bear little resemblance to the transparent windows you’ve been using to peer out at the world beyond.

In a shocking move today, Microsoft has begun a drive to remove all windows from homes around the world and replace them with what the company is dubbing “Live Tiles.” Though they are completely different than their glass predecessors, CEO Steve Ballmer claims that the Live Tiles can replace windows with “no compromises.”

Live Tiles do not open, allow for airflow, or let light in, but do come in a number of neon colors. Though they have none of the benefits of an actual window, the Tiles can display a fraction of a weather report, rotating pictures of friends, or a static picture of the outdoors. Once you’ve paid the $40 upgrade fee and your windows have been switched, the change is irreversible without a rebuild.

“What the hell?! I want my old windows back,” said disgruntled rural homeowner Andrew Couts who shelled out $40 for what Microsoft told him was an upgrade to his windows. “My home looks like a goddamn Fischer Price set. I can’t get anything done.”

Those living in older homes will not be able to directly interact with the Live Tiles, but starting today, Microsoft began selling a new line of homes specifically designed with Live Tiles in mind. Office buildings and businesses with windows will also be forced to upgrade to Live Tiles, though it took them so long to install their last set of windows that Microsoft plans to give them several years to catch up.

As part of the Live Tile rollout, stores that previously sold windows, crews trained to install windows, and companies selling window accessories will be forced to convert their operations to support the millions of Live Tiles attempting to fill the gaps where windows once stood.

Though Microsoft is attempting to eliminate windows around the world, Ballmer repeatedly referred to windows as Microsoft’s future.

“Microsoft is dedicated to windows. Windows is our past, present, and future. We’ll always make windows,” said the CEO before chanting the word “developers” several dozen times to a crowd of aging programmers and journalists. Though homes will be full of Live Tiles, Ballmer claims that Microsoft is, in fact, selling windows.

The world-wide plan to replace all windows comes after several years of testing in mobile homes. Though few mobile home owners have converted to the Tiles, the lack of voluntary adoption has only emboldened Microsoft.

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5: Gaming Keyboard, Assemble!

ometimes it seems like gaming keyboards are a dime a dozen. They are all pretty much the same; you can count on anti-ghosting technology and backlighting along with the ability to record macros on many keyboards. Mad Catz has a new gaming keyboard called the S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 that’s welcomingly different.

The keyboard has a modular design with five different components that can be assembled depending on your game playing desires. The central keyboard section has your tactile QWERTY layout and backlighting with 16 million colors to choose from. The number pad section of the keyboard is removable and has a number of macro keys that allow you to program multiple keystrokes to one key. It also comes with two lengths of cable allowing you to have it closer or further from the main section of the keyboard.

mad catz strike 5 components

The keyboard also has a Control Module with a tiny OLED display and extra macro recording keys for shortcuts, as well as media controls. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 also has a three-part active palm rest and two wrist rests for comfortable use. The palm rest has its own thumb wheel and an action button giving even more control over your game.

The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 5 keyboard can be pre-ordered right now for $199.99 (USD), and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.

STAR WARS Characters and Their Rides – Fun iPhone Wallpapers

Here’s an adorably cool set of art called, “Star Wars Characters and Their Rides” created by fettup. The artist took the prints that he created and turned them into iPhone wallpaper that you can upload to your phone if you want. Check out the series of illustrations below!

I’m going to assume you know how to get these images on your phone.

No Way! Someone is Building A Full Scale Millennium Falcon Replica

What. The. Eff.

Times are still tough for a lot of people in America these days, but who says citizens can’t spend ludicrous amounts of money constructing full-scale models of spacecrafts from their favorite science fiction movies? That’s exactly what Chris Lee is doing, putting a team together at Full Scale Falcon (via Geekologie) to build a full-scale replica of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and putting him in the running for one of the craziest and biggest Star Wars nerds I’ve ever heard of. (And that’s saying something.)

They’ve really thought this thing out, and it seems like they’re totally serious about getting this bad boy completed. Check out their specs:

Length: 114 feet
Beam (docking ring to docking ring): 81.485 feet
Height to top of body (not counting quad-laser turret): 24.878 feet
Height to top of dish: 30.889 feet
Clearance: ground to landing gear bay level: 7.779 feet
Clearance: ground to outside bottom of cockpit tube: 13.081 feet

Lee and his team are hoping to finish the project in the next 5-7 years, but I’ve got one piece of advice for them: don’t get cocky. Check out photos below of their progress so far and some renderings of what it should look like when it’s all done. You can visit their site for more info.