Tim Cook to Headline D11: All Things Digital Conference Next Month

Apple CEO Tim Cook will be the opening night speaker at the 11th D: All Things Digital conference next month. Last year, Cook joined hosts Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg for a 100-minute session that covered a wide variety of topics.

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There’s lots to talk about, from the explosive growth of the mobile market to intense competition from a range of rivals, most especially Google’s Android, as well as innovative offerings from Korea’s Samsung. It will also be interesting to talk about the changes at Apple under Cook’s leadership, who took over from the late co-founder and industry legend Steve Jobs, as well inquiring about what new products are in the pipeline and how the company is faring in an increasingly high-pressure market.

Tim Cook makes very few public appearances, but appears to be making the D Conference his preferred interview spot much like his predecessor Steve Jobs did. Jobs appeared on the D stage six times in nine years.

D11 will take place from May 28-30, 2013 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

    

KISI Launches Its Keyless Home Access Management Platform On Indiegogo

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Munich-based startup and TechCrunch Disrupt NY Battlefield contestant KISI Systems is launching its Indiegogo campaign today. KISI and KISIBox together comprise a keyless entry solution that lets users provide timed, revokable access to their own apartments on an as-needed basis. It’s the perfect complement to collaborative consumption services like Airbnb and TaskRabbit and in general a very useful addition to any household.

KISI takes its cues from enterprise-grade tools that allow businesses to control who can and can’t gain access to a facility – co-founder Bernhard Mehl explained that he and his co-founders decided it was an idea that would make perfect sense when applied to a consumer setting, too.

The KISI system is a combination of hardware and software, with a set price of $479 up front when it hits retail. Initially, backers can get it for $249 for the first Indiegogo supporters, and the best part is that the service is included with the hardware purchase, so this isn’t something that you end up necessarily paying for on a continual basis. There is a SaaS model planned as well, for people who’d like access to premium features, but Mehl says that in general, they aren’t interested in making homeowners feel like they’re renting the locks on their doors.

“We stripped an enterprise product down to a consumer-friendly version, and provide very easy-to-use key-management tools, so we have a web app and you can manage or see who accessed your apartment, or who currently has access on their smartphones,” Mehl says. “It’s a more decentralized or democratized access, so that it’s not the house owner who controls all the keys, but the resident themselves.”

KISI is designed for apartment tenants primarily, and can be made to integrated with your intercom system to provide complete building access from a web-based dashboard. Mehl says that where in the past this has been accomplished through sharing of hardware keys, that’s a dramatically outdated prospect, since it involves granting a type of access you can’t easily revoke, at least not without changing your locks. The platform is why KISI isn’t just another Lockitron, providing things like integration with an intercom system, and a record of when keyholders have accessed your apartment, and for how long.

The big opportunity for KISI is to take advantage of the rise of services like Airbnb, Exec and TaskRabbit, and collaborate with those companies to help provide temporary access to service pros who might only need it for a few minutes, a week or an afternoon.

“All the hardware parts are installed in your apartment, and you can open even the front door of the house with your smartphone, and yet nothing changes for anyone else who has physical key access” he said. “Up to now, you had to change the whole system to get automated access, but the cool thing is that we’ve managed to accomplish that without requiring a complete overhaul.”

KISI has already impressed enough to win an entrepreneurial startup grant from the German government, and they’ve won various prizes, including from the NYCEDC, which provided them with $25,000 for the “Next Idea” award.

KISI will launch in New York City and Munich first, and will then expand to other markets after that. It doesn’t replace existing standards like Z-Wave, but works with them, and can also be used in combination with existing devices like Lockitron, so there’s opportunity for it to grow into existing home automation systems.



Leap Wireless Reports Improved iPhone Sales Amid Customer Losses [iOS Blog]

iphone_5_black_whiteLeap Wireless today reported its first quarter financial results, noting improved iPhone sales amidst significant customer and revenue losses. Leap, which began offering the iPhone in June of 2012 through its subsidiary Cricket Wireless, announced in February that weak iPhone sales would prevent it from purchasing its full allotment of iPhones from Apple.

We are also seeing improved sales of our iPhone® offering, having worked with Apple on new advertising, pricing plans and other promotions, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them.

Despite an increase in iPhone sales, Leap Wireless is reporting a loss of 93,000 customers, along with a 4.3% decline in total revenue to $789.9 million from $825.6 million during the year-ago quarter.

Leap has a three-year contract with Apple that requires the company to purchase at least $900 million worth of iPhone hardware. As a super-regional carrier, Leap utilizes roaming agreements to serve its 5.3 million customers.

    

Apple Seeds Build 12E40 of OS X Beta 10.8.4 Developers [Mac Blog]

Apple today issued build 12E40 of OS X Mountain Lion to developers, a week after build 12E36 was released. Build 12E40 marks the fifth beta iteration of OS X 10.8.4.

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Apple continues to ask developers to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.

The update is available through the software update tool in the Mac App Store and Apple’s Developer Page.

    

Overheating HTC Evo Shift Burns Owner

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A Columbus, Ohio woman found that her HTC Evo Shift had branded her after overheating while it was under her waistband. The woman, Jennifer Grago, reported that she was using the phone’s FM radio while she did yard work.

“I didn’t have pockets so I just put the phone in the band of my sweats. Seemed like an alright option… I felt my phone getting warm so I moved it and trucked on. Figured sweatpants and 70 some degrees was a factor. Went to move it again and it hurt like a #%&@! and skin with it. I swear to god I almost passed out,” she wrote.

Best Buy, where she purchased the phone, told her that phones need “correct ventilation” and should be placed in form-fitting casing.

The phone left a clear outline of the casing on her skin. Phones, which are in essence compact radios, can easily overheat for various reasons but for a device to overheat so egregiously is frightening. Any phone, in the right conditions, can overheat. However, in this case, the device battery was faulty, a problem that was came to light when the FM radio app was running for too long. Devices like the iPhone can overheat when radio-heavy apps like Maps and Pandora run too long but they rarely get hot enough to burn skin. The Evo Shift is two years old and is currently available for free with contract on Sprint’s network.

3DLT Launches The First Store For Printable 3D Objects

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Cincinnati, Ohio is best known for the Bengals, Bootsy Collins, and Skyline Chili but it’s about to become famous as one of the first cities with a true market for 3D printable designs. 3DLT, a small company based in Cincy and founded by a team of programmers, is bringing the free-for-all world of 3D modellers into line and essentially making an Etsy for ABS.

The team consists of Pablo Arellano, John Hauer, Colin Klayer, and Tim Maggart and has raised $10,000 in personal investment thus far. Today they’ve announced a plan to give away $10 million in free 3D object credit. They are also going to build a network of 3D printers across the country to allow users to connect with printers who can build their purchases on demand.

“We’re big fans of Graphic River, iStockPhoto and other content marketplaces,” said Arellano. “We felt that when 3D printing became viable, a market for 3D printable content would be needed.”

“We are disruptive in two ways: We will accelerate the adoption of 3D printed products by the everyday consumer by offering a wide selection of well-organized, curated designs across multiple categories. We also make it easy for consumers – from your grandmother to your grandson – to purchase 3D designs they can print at home, online, or at a local 3D print shop,” he said.

They also aim to commoditize 3D printing and make it more “financially accessible” by partnering with 3D print providers.

The company launched on stage today at Disrupt in New York.

“3D printing is already being used extensively in the $23 billion prototyping market and quickly gaining traction in automotive, fashion, toys and many other areas. In the near future, everyday items, from frames to furniture, sneakers to stilettos, will be 3D printed. 3DLT is what the industry needs to cause a tipping point,” said Arellano.

AT&T Announces Upgrade to In-Store Smartphone Trade-In Program [iOS Blog]

AttAT&T has announced an upgrade to its in-store smartphone trade-in program. The plan will give an instant credit of at least $100 for any smartphone that is less than three years old, with more recent and valuable phones receiving larger credits.

The credits are good for the purchase any AT&T smartphone or accessories, meaning someone could trade in an older Android smartphone for a new iPhone 4S, or half-price on a 16GB iPhone 5.

Beginning May 1, consumers who trade in their current smartphone to AT&T* will be eligible to receive at least $100 off the purchase of a new smartphone, including the new Samsung Galaxy® S 4, BlackBerry® Z10 or 32 GB HTC One®. These devices are normally $199.99 with a qualifying two-year agreement but, with this limited time promotion, they will be available for $99.99.

This promotion applies to any smartphone AT&T sells, and gives customers access to the latest devices at a fraction of the cost or, in the case of smartphones priced under $99.99, for free.

The $100 promotion is for a limited time, though AT&T has not specified when it will end.

    

Mark Steber: What to Do If You Receive an IRS Notice or Letter

While fear is a completely normal reaction, here are three steps every taxpayer should follow if they receive an IRS letter.

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