Google, Amazon fill out top three
For a sixth year in a row, Apple has claimed the top position in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Companies list. The chart is based on a poll of executives. "Apple has had a rough time lately with its stock price in a free fall and the widely publicized failure of its Maps feature," Fortune writes. "However, it remains a financial juggernaut, posting $13 billion in net income last quarter, making it the most profitable company in the world during that period. The company has its fanatical customer base, and it still refuses to compete on price, making the iconic iPhone and iPad products that are still widely seen as prestige devices. Competition may be stiff, but so far it remains behind: In Q4 2012, the iPhone 5 was the world's best selling smartphone, followed in second place by the iPhone 4S."
Shipper expects large volume of 'small, lightweight packages'
Courier FedEx is bracing itself for a period of heavy shipping activity called a "surge volume," likely tied to Apple's impending new iPhone release. The period of September 21-24 has been identified by various sources, placing it nine days after Apple's planned iPhone announcement. FedEx had similar periods 10 days after the iPhone 4S announcement, and eight days after the iPhone 3GS presser.
Google Cloud Print can now print to offices
Google has expanded Cloud Print both for device support and, in a rare step, commercial printing. Those using a mobile app or Chrome can now push a print project to a FedEx office in the US with Print & Go self-service as an option. The gesture helps reduce the need for a home or work printer, particularly for phone or tablet owners who might be traveling and need to print a hard copy.
Verizon iPhone gets to official forum user
Verizon forum members discovered the first known regular customer to get an iPhone. In what appears to have been an after-hours visit to a UPS depot in Fort Worth, Texas, one buyer managed to get his and activated it the same day. It "works great," he said.
Source provides unconfirmed sales numbers
Some Verizon iPhone shipments are becoming stuck in Memphis, Tennessee, buyers say. Flights are reportedly being delayed or canceled, postponing deliveries that would normally arrive today until Monday. FedEx notes that the Memphis hub has been impacted by "severe winter weather conditions," causing "service delays and disruptions."
FedEx to offer free AT&T Wi-Fi at stores
FedEx announced on Wednesday that it is now offering free Wi-Fi access at around 1,000 of its FedEx Office Print & Ship Center locations across the US. The connection is powered by AT&T, and will arrive at its other stores by the end of October. This should bring the total closer to 1,600 locations.
Bloom Energy may help end centralized power
Bloom Energy today held the formal launch of its first technology, the Energy Server. A new approach to energy, it uses stacks of solid oxide fuel cells to convert air and most any other fuel source, including things as dirty as fossil fuels or as clean as biogas, into usable electricity. The process almost always produces less CO2 than traditional methods and, unlike solar power or similar methods, can run 24 hours a day without dependence on light or wind.
Senseaware sensor sends temps, drops, more
FedEx will be using a new Senseaware sensor in packages sent out to 50 of its medical clients this spring, which will allow the customers to get real-time updates on a package's status. This will not only include an exact location, but also temperature, whether or not the package has been opened or exposed to light. A built-in accelerometer will also detect drops, while a cell antenna will send out the collected data whenever the package is not in flight.