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Apple is being sued by an unhappy iTunes customer, alleging that the company broke antitrust laws by only allowing iTunes to work with its own iPod music player. Court filing showed that that the customer says the system freezes out competitors, according to Reuters: "The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in San Jose. One antitrust expert called it a long shot, but Californian Thomas Slattery is hoping for unspecified damages for being 'forced' to buy an iPod, one of the most successful electronics products in years. The key to such a lawsuit would be convincing a court that a single product brand like iTunes is a market in itself separate from the rest of the online music market, according to Ernest Gellhorn, an antitrust law professor at George Mason University. There is legal precedent for such claims, but courts usually conclude competing products as viable alternatives, Gellhorn said."
Logitech Harmony 880
Logitech announced it will preview a new universal remote control optimized for people buying complicated new HDTVs and personal video recorders (PVRs). With a large color display, the Internet-powered Logitech Harmony 880 remote control offers navigation that simplifies the use of these new homeentertainment systems. The new Harmony 880 features a color LCD and finely sculpted buttons along with colorful icons (in addition to text) on the LCD screen to allow for quick and easy command of home entertainment equipment. The rechargeable remote features eight customizable buttons (four located on the left and right sides) and is easily configured via a USB connection to a PC. The setup leverages an large online database of home electronic devices, allowing users to easily modify or add new functinos for various home electronic devices. A single-charge lasts one-week under normal use, according to the company. It will be available in April for $250.
Logitech desktop solution
Logitech today announced that the "world's first" laser mouse, will soon be available in combination with a cordless keyboard. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 3100 solution features the Logitech MX 1000 Cordless Laser Mouse along with its Logitech keyboard with navigation controls. Logitech says its exclusive laser illumination and tracking technology enables the mouse to see approximately 20 times more surface detail than typical red light-emitting diode (LED) optical mice, allowing it to track with more precision and work on more surface types. The package will be available in March for $150.
Free iTunes sampler
Apple is offering iPod owners thirteen free songs on the iTunes music store. Many readers report discovering the offer, called "iTunes New Music Sampler," when restoring their iPod using the update utility. It is likely that purchasers of iPods will also be greeted with the offer when they configure their new iPod.
10GB iPod mini?
Hitachi says it is planning to at least double the capacity of its 1-inch Microdrive hard-disk drive within this year, paving the way for a larger capacity iPod mini, according to IDG News Service. Apple has used the 1-inch 4GB drive in its very popular iPod mini, but rumors have suggested that next week Apple will upgrade the capacity of iPod mini to 5GB, utilizing a similar drive from Seagate. The report says that Hitachi expects that new drives are due in the second half of this year and will be able to hold between 8GB and 10GB of data.
Jobs to give away mansion
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is offering one of his homes for free to anyone who can afford to dismantle the 35-room mansion and remove it from his San Francisco estate, reports Scotsman.com. When Steve Jobs bought the sprawling house two decades ago, he planned to tear down the building he describes as "an abomination" and to redevelop the land, but he has been met with much opposition from conservationists, who lobbied to save the 17,000sq ft red tile and stucco mansion, arguing it should be protected as a listed building. Planning commissioners ruled the house was historically significant and demolishing it would create a "significant unmitigated impact". They agreed to make Mr Jobs wait 12 months for his demolition permit, during which time he will have to pay for a marketing campaign to entice a bidder.
OS X Keyboard
Matias today announced its new OS X Keyboard, with an extra Control key, plus features inherited from its higher-end sibling, the Tactile Pro. At $40, the company "wanted to offer some of the unique features of the Tactile Pro, but at a much lower cost." According to Matias, "with OS X based on Unix, a lot of new Mac users are accustomed to having Control where Caps Lock normally is, so they can press it faster. Repositioning Caps Lock also makes it harder to hit by accident. We think a lot of users will appreciate these improvements." Unlike the Tactile Pro, the OS X Keyboard uses rubber dome keyswitches, for quieter operation and tactile response. The OS X Keyboard will make its debut next week, at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
New Canon printers
Canon today introduced a new dye-submliation photo printer for printing photo-quality prints and a mobile printer that supports wireless printing via Bluetooth. The new Compact Photo Printer SELPHY CP-400 replaces the CP-220 compact photo printer. The printer generates photos and postcards in approximately 81 seconds using dye sublimation technology and water and fade resistant prints, which it says last up to 100 years. The printer can create high-quality 300 dpi color photographs in three different paper sizes from a computer via USB or by direct camera-to-printer connection. These sizes include 4 x 8-inch personalized greeting cards or invitations; 4 x 6-inch postcard size or 2.5 x 3.5-inch credit card size pictures. The 4 x 8-inch paper cassette is an optional accessory.
Canon LiDE 500F scanner
Canon today introduced its slim new futuristic-styled CanoScan LiDE 500F Color Image Scanner, which provides consumers with a space saving, photo, document and film scanning solution. As the flagship model in Canon's slim-line family of LiDE scanners, the CanoScan LiDE 500F scanner offers 2400x4800 optical resolution and 48-bit color depth as well an innovative design that allows it to be positioned on the desktop in any of three different ways--in addition to the traditional portrait orientation, the scanner can be positioned in landscape or upright scanning positions. It is expected to ship later this month for $130.
Apple sues rumor site
Apple today has sued a Mac rumor site in an attempt to close down and curtail product leaks as well as help protect what it alleges to be its trade secrets. CNET.com reports that the lawsuit against Think Secret lends credibility to published rumors about its plans to offer a cheaper Macintosh and its own line of office software. "Apple on Tuesday sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets. The suit, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets. However, in filing the suit, Apple identifies specific articles that contain trade secrets, indicating that at least parts of those reports are on the mark."
Apple wins favor over MS
The entertainment industry believes that Apple has better products than Microsoft, according to a recent survey. According to a recent survey by market research firm In-Stat, half of TV and movie industry professionals say that piracy is a threat to their bottom lines, and 27% have already lost revenue due to the illegal theft or reproduction of their intellectual property. The survey of 1,806 respondents was conducted to better understand the entertainment community’s perceptions about emerging digital technologies and their impact on electronic entertainment. Respondents said that both Apple and Microsoft represent potential competitive threats to the entertainment business and opinions of which computer company had the best products currently on the market ran two-to-one in favor of Apple, but Microsoft is coming on strong.
Poporn, Hess Events List
In Brief: Roxio has released the French and German versions of its Popcorn DVD utility and says that the Japanese version will follow in a few weeks....The Hess Events List offers a comprehensive source of events for Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco 2005, including special events, parties, training, and book signings.... Playboy magazine is offering to its paid subscribers galleries of photographs that can be viewed on digital media players such as the Apple's iPod.... Fueling speculation that Apple will debut an new productivity suite next week at Macworld, several readers note that USPTO shows "iWork" as an Apple trademark filing from August, 2004.
Roku PhotoBridge HD1000
Roku today reduced pricing and upgraded its software for its PhotoBridge HD1000 digital media player. The Roku PhotoBridge HD Gallery Collection, which includes six Roku Art Packs, has a new lower retail price of $400, while the base configuration is priced at $300. Roku says the "market's only" high-definition digital media player works with analog TV as well as displays photos, music, art and video on any TV. Version 2.0 of software, now available as a beta from its website, features many enhancements, adds support AAC music files, enhancing its support for iTunes. The update also adds support for UPnP AV to more easily share photos, music, and video files. Roku also says the software provides enhanced support for DVDs, allowing them to be played back without the use of third-party software.
SleepLess 1.6 is the latest version of the utillity to prevent a Mac from 'sleeping,' without changing system settings. The latest version offers Keychain support. iCooked 1.1 is a for overclocking iBooks with IBM 750FX processors. [Download - SleepLess, iCooked]
burnItAgainSam v1.3 ($15) is the "only shareware available on the Mac" that offers the ability to burn "linked" multisession CD-Rs. "Instead of showing a CDR icon for each session, the CDR burnt using burnItAgainSam shows all the files ever burnt together, as if you had burnt them at once." [Download - 510KB]
Budget 4.5 ($30) is the latest version of the personal finance tool for Mac. This release adds new rule-based split deposits that greatly enhance the ability to budget variable income such as contract and commission based jobs. [Download - buy]
NewsFire 0.6 is a stylish RSS reader. This new release includes the highly-requested ability to group feeds together along with improved categorization of articles in smart feeds and groups. [Download - buy]
RadioTracker 1.8 provides a compact interface to iTunes. RadioTracker was distributed under the name "RadioParadise" until version 1.6. Version 1.8 fixes bugs and adds a circular track-bar in RP mode. [Download - 680KB]
Schick offers a simple and fast way to exchange small files, such as Documents, Pictures, URLs, and so on. Schick is Rendezvous-enabled, requires no configuration, and automatically fetches username and user image from your Address Book. [Download - 444KB]
GS raises AAPL estimates
Goldman Sachs has raised its estimates on Apple, saying that strong iPod shipments--estimating 4.5 million units shipped in the December quarter-- will drive strong first quarter earnings from Apple, which are due next week. The firm also cited strength in Apple's other consumer offerings as well as higher traffic and close rates at Apple's retail stores, according to Forbes. Goldman, however, cautioned investors until after Macworld Expo and maintained an "in-line" rating on the company: "While we remain extremely positive about Apple's fundamentals and continue to look for entry points, we think that investors would be better served to wait until after Macworld and Apple's earnings when the stock's 2005 outlook can be judged in a more settled light."
Canon Mini DV camcorders
Canon today introduced a new line up of entry- and mid-level Mini DV camcorders. Due next month with prices starting at $550, the company unveiled the Elura 80, Elura 85 and the Elura 90 as well as new entry-level models (ZR100, ZR200 and ZR300) with prices starting at $350. Canon now offers high resolution 16:9 Widescreen shooting mode in its new Mini DV camcorder line up, FireWire connections for easy connectivity, and other features. Canon's new 'two-in-one' Elura 90 ($700), Elura 85 ($600) and Elura 80 ($550) camcorders offer consumers the ability to capture both Mini DV digital video and digital camera photos using a 1.33 megapixel CCD image sensor.
Lexar flash, MP3 players
Lexar Media today previewed its customizable JumpDrive Expression flash drive, a new 2GB flash drive with improved performance, and new flash-based digital music players. The JumpDrive Expression is a stylish, high-speed USB 2.0 flash drive, which it hopes will bring "an element of fun and personality to an individual's portable storage needs." Each JumpDrive Expression comes with three different colored "mood bands" available in a range of hues including Pistachio, Orange, and Periwinkle. The mood band wraps around the drive to form a durable protective cover that secures the USB cap to the drive so it won't be lost or misplaced. Due next month, the JumpDrive Expression will be available in 256MB ($50), 512MB ($70) and 1GB ($100) capacities.
New Olympus cameras
Olympus today announced three new digital cameras, including the C-5500 Sport Zoom (pictured at right), Olympus D-425, and the C-7070 Wide Zoom. The C-5500 offers 5.1-megapixel CCD, a large 2-inch LCD, an array of manual and automatic functions for straight out-of-the-box operation, a 5x optical zoom lens (f2.8/f4.8 - f8.0, 38mm - 190mm equivalent), a 4x digital zoom, a fast startup of less than one second, nearly instant shutter release time, and a burst mode of 2.7 fps. The compact camera measures 4.9" x 3.3" x 3.9" and weighs 8.6 ounces--ergonomically designed to fit comfortably your hand. The C-5500 will be available next month for $350 along with a 16MB xD-Picture Card, four AA batteries, a USB 2.0 cable, an A/V Out cable, wrist strap, and Olympus Master Software.
Stitcher Express 1.0 ships
RealViz has released a new stitching application called Stitcher Express 1.0, which allows both professional and amateur photographers to quickly create panoramas. Based on a simple drag, drop and stitch paradigm, the software can create panoramas from a series of standard digital photos in just a few clicks. It offers semi-automatic stitching of photos, automatic light equalization, the ability to remove objects from images, creation of full sphere panoramas, choice of panorama format (cylindrical, spherical, or snapshot), automatic trimming to optimize size, QuickTime VR support (cylindrical or spherical), and integration with Adobe Photoshop. Stitcher Express will be available as a standalone application ($120) and bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3 ($190). It is now available in both English and French.
Konica color laser printer
Konica Minolta today introduced its color laser alternative to inkjet printers: the magicolor 2400 series is an affordable color solution designed for the home office user and the small business environment. Replacing its magicolor 2300 family of printers, the new printer series is nearly 20% smaller, almost 30% lighter (now 48lbs) and 25% faster than their predecessors. Both the magicolor 2400W (Windows only) and 2430 DL models print up to 2400 dpi resolution on any type or grade of paper and also offer print monochrome speeds of 20 ppm as well as 5 ppm color print speeds. The magicolor printers can handle up to 8.5" x 14" (legal) size sheets of various types of media, including plain paper, letterhead, thick stock, glossy stock, OHP transparencies, laser-quality labels, and envelopes. The Mac-compatible magicolor 2400DL offers an Ethernet and USB 2.0 port and is expected to cost $500.
Seagate 400GB backup drive
Seagate today announced that it is now shipping its Seagate External Hard Drive with new capacities up to 400GB. Available with easy push-button backup and bundled backup software, the stylish and rugged drive also offers a convenient on/off switch for power savings and data security as well as an unique interlocking design that enables users to stack multiple drives horizontally or place the drive vertically to conserve desktop space. The drive is now available in a FireWire/USB 2.0 model (200GB, 300GB and 400GB capacities) a USB 2.0-only model (160GB and 250GB) and includes a one-year warranty for all parts and labor as well as free lifetime technical support.
140M digital music sales
Sales of recorded music in the United States are on the rise for the first time in four years--fueled in part by sales online digital music, according to The New York Times. "The recording industry registered sales of about 667 million albums, an increase of about 1.6 percent, according to year-end data expected to be released today by the market research firm Nielsen SoundScan. Album sales at one point surged by as much as 8 percent over last year's pace, but fell victim to a lackluster holiday season. The data, covering a 52-week period, also show that the industry is beginning to tap the power of the Internet to generate sales, though free music still flows through online file-sharing networks. Sales of digital tracks through services like iTunes from Apple exceeded 140 million..."
Audiovox iPod Mobile Kit
Audiovox has announced a new iPod car adapter that allows iPod users to play songs through any car stereo system. The Audiovox iPod Mobile Interface Kit allows for a direct connection of the iPod to most factory radios for playback through the cars audio system. In addition, it allows the radio controls to operate the iPod and also enables users to control the iPod using the steering wheel controls. The system will also charge the internal battery of the iPod, according to the company. The kit is easy to install with a plug-in connection to the CD Changer port. The company says the iPod screen will display all the Song/Artist data, and browse, as if it were not connected. The module will be available later this month for $200 and customers will be required to call a toll-free 800 number to obtain the appropriate cable for their car stereo (which the company will deliver within 24-48 hours).
Free FileMaker training
FileMaker today announced the availability of a free FileMaker Online Video Training program for customers who purchase and register their FileMaker 7 by March 25, 2005. The free two months of video training, a $60 value, is valid in the U.S. and Canada for purchasers of new, upgrade and education (boxed retail versions only) of FileMaker Pro 7, including Developer, Server, and Server Advanced versions. The FileMaker Online Video Training is provided by the Virtual Training Company and offers customers an easy way to learn FileMaker at their own pace. The training program provides step-by-step instructions, self-paced online tutorials and convenient accessibility through the user's web browser. In addition to accessing FileMaker Pro 7 training videos, participants will also have access to 250 training videos for many of today's leading software applications.
ATI debuts Radeon X800 XT
ATI Technologies today introduced the Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition graphics card. Leveraging superior shader technology and offering improved rendering, the company says Mac users can now experience high-definition gaming at even faster frame rates. The Radeon X800 XT is single PCI-slot solution that doubles the performance of the previous generation graphic cards, offering Power Mac G5 a solution that supports high resolution monitors such as Apple's 30-inch Cinema HD Display. The new GPU offers a host of new features, including dual digital display connections, (one Dual Link DVI and one ADC port), 16 pixel pipelines, six vertex pipelines and 256MB of GDDR3 memory. The new card will be available for $500.
WebSTAR V 5.4 released
4D, Inc today announced the release of 4D WebSTAR V v5.4, an upgrade to 4D WebSTAR Server Suite, including 4D Mail. The paid upgrade delivers ClamAV email scanning support, a ClamAV installation option, and automatic server testing and recovery for ensuring Web, FTP and Mail service availability as well as numerous other improvements. 4D WebSTAR V customers can upgrade for just $99, a promotional rate that will expire January 31, 2005. New purchases of 4D WebSTAR V with 4D Mail and 100 4D Mail user accounts are priced at $400. During the promotional period, 4D is also offering the 4D Mail unlimited user account expansion pack for $500, a $1,000 savings.
Adobe Acrobat 7.0
Adobe today announced Acrobat 7.0, a family of desktop applications that enable workgroups to manage a range of essential business activities. Acrobat 7.0, the latest update to the Adobe Intelligent Document Platform, provides users the ability to assemble documents from multiple sources, create intelligent forms, and collaborate on projects inside and outside the firewall, among other capabilities. The Acrobat 7.0 family offers different functionality to address specific customer needs: Acrobat 7.0 Professional provides more advanced control over engineering and design documents for technical and creative workgroups; Acrobat 7.0 Standard is ideal for business professionals in organizations of all sizes; and Acrobat Elements is a license-only product that allows enterprises to put Adobe PDF creation capability on every desktop.
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