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Hot topics of discussion on the MacNN Forums include: The possibility of new PowerBooks with Intel processors next week at Macworld Expo.... Rumors regarding new Intel-based iBooks next week.... The possibility of an iPod shuffle revision next week.... The prospect for a fast "virtual PC" environment on Intel-based Macs.... A 20-inch laptop computer concept shown at CES this week.
IDG World Expo today announced that a host of companies are expected to debut or feature a wide range of new products at Macworld Conference and Expo, January 9-13th at San Francisco's Moscone Center. As announced yesterday, the event is set to feature over 300 exhibiting companies over a five-day period. LaCie is expected to roll out six new products, while FileMaker already announced that FileMaker Server 8 Advanced began shipping on January 4th. Belkin introduced its CableFree USB Hub that provides wireless connectivity between a computer and any USB peripheral, and Micromat introduced TechTool Protege--its new Mac OS X troubleshooting and diagnostic tool stored on a bootable 1GB Firewire-based flash drive.
As one in four households now owns a digital audio player, according to published reports, and 70 percent to 80 percent of these own an iPod, makers of home and car audio equipment are quick to offer more iPod-friendly options. Car audio makers are looking to upgrade their iPod cable connectors, making them faster and more intuitive this year. Alpine upgraded its iPod connection kit, claiming it is now 200 times faster than the previous adapter. The new kit eliminates the black box and is now a $30 cable that works with Alpine 2006 models from $179 up.
Pictureal has announced a new service for video iPod owners: professional editing of your home movies and pictures. Customers can use a pre-paid FedEx kit-- or upload data online- to send raw footage to Pictureal who will post the edited version online along with unedited footage and a scene index within days. Pictureal offers templates and tools for turning home video footage into short music videos, video greetings and photo montages. These shorts, as well as raw unedited video, can be transferred from Pictureal to the video iPod in MPEG-4 format. Once finished, the MPEG-4 files can be transferred to PDAs, cell phones, Sony PSPs, and personal websites as well as the iPod. Pictureal accepts video by upload or in any format including VHS, S-VHS, VHS-C, MiniDV, Hi8, Digital8, MicroMV, DVCAM, Beta and DVD. Pricing for tapes shipped begins at $30 per hour of video sent, with prepaid packages ranging from $100 (3 hours of video and one DVD) to $300 (12 hours of video and three DVDs). Finished files may be stored online, or downloaded for $2 each.
D2Audio, the manufacturer of Intelligent Digital Amplifiers, today announced the new family of Geneva Sound Systems, powered by D2Audio's Intelligent Digital Amplifier technology. Geneva Sound Systems are a single cabinet unit which incorporates multiple speakers internally to deliver a broad audio range for iPod music players, as well as CDs and radio. The iPod fits into a dock at the top of the "piano-lacquered" cabinet, and it can be controlled via an infrared remote. The Geneva Sound System features iPod dock, built-in slot-loading CD, FM radio, multiple audio source support, and 600 watts of stereo sound. The large size retails for $600, while the xtra large for $1,100; each is available in red, black or white. White large and xtra large speaker stands retail for $75 each. Pre-orders are now being accepted online with a "coming soon" message.
iPod users everywhere will soon be able to record television content and easily play it back on their TV. Advanced Technology Office (ATO) today introduced the first--and only--video recorder for Apple's fifth-generation iPod, the iSee 360i. Users can store their favorite shows and movies directly from TV, cable, satellite, DVR, or any other analog source on their iPod, and play that content back on any TV with an "analog in" connection at standard 640 X 480 TV resolution. Users can view previously-recorded video on the integrated high-quality 3.6-inch LCD screen, or on their TV: "With the iSee video recorder millions of iPod owners can add the power of video to their unit without having to purchase a new one," John C. Scott, ATO co-founder and former Apple executive said. "The iSee video recording capability also dramatically expands the universe of content playable on the iPod." [updated]
EzGear today began shipping the ezArmor Video Onyx Black for Apple's iPod, a protective case made entirely from anodized aircraft-grade aluminum. The case is designed to match the iPod's profile, while the interior is lined with neoprene that offers cushioning against sudden impacts and scratches. A clickwheel cutout provides full access to the iPod's ports, and the case features a clear protective screen for the liquid crystal display. The ezArmor Video Onyx Black is available with a removable belt clip and neck strap for both 30GB and 60GB iPod video models, and is priced at $35. Yesterday MacNN noted the release of the white ezArmor Video from ezGear.
iDiddy today unveiled the Commuter Leather Folio case for iPod nano and iPod video. The case features a reinforced cover with a soft PVC window to protect the device as well as numerous pockets to stow various items; it also includes a zippered compartment designed to store and earbuds using two molded posts. Each Commuter case is hand-crafted from leather, and each ships with an Opticover--a protective film coating that covers the screen to prevent accidental scratches in the iPod's liquid crystal display. The iDiddy Commuter series is priced at $50, and will be available on January 9th.
H2O Audio announced its new waterproof housings and headsets for iPod nano and shuffle models. The patented H2O for nano or shuffle provides a unique full-function click-wheel assembly design that gives users ready access to all of the iPod’s proprietary command and control functions even when fully submerged in water. Additional features include the custom form-fit case, durable elastomeric diagonal T-seal, full view Menu screen, impact and scratch protection, secure armband, compatibility with standard and H2O Audio waterproof headphones, and safety from water, wind, dust, and sand. H2O Audio's waterproof nano housings retail for $80 and will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2006. Shuffle housings retail at $40, also shipping in the first quarter of 2006.
Upcoming products from the Apple-Intel partnership will help Intel's bottom line in the coming quarters, but the transition may not be complete by the end of year as many industry observers had speculated, according to an investment research firm. J.P. Morgan, which maintained a "neutral" rating on Intel in anticipation of overcapacity, raised earnings estimates after the firm's checks indicated that Intel is on track to begin shipping processors for Apple's new PCs this quarter, according to the Forbes report. "We expect the PCs to be introduced at MacWorld next week," wrote the analyst in a research note on Friday. The firm also said that about 55 percent of this year's Mac shipments will have Intel CPUs: JP Morgan estimates just over 8.7 million Macs for the 2006 calendar year, which translates into roughly 4.8 million Intel processors. Every 1 million Intel-based Macs would augment Intel's earnings per share by a little less than 1 cent, according to the report. The firm raised its 2006 estimates for Intel to earnings of $1.59 per share on revenue of $42.8 billion, from earnings of $1.55 per share on revenue of $42.2 billion, according to Forbes.com.
Verizon Wireless has announced that it will offer a new music service, dubbed "V Cast Music," allowing subscribers to download songs directly to their phones for $1.99 each. The move stands to threaten Apple's iTunes Music Store which sells music online for 99-cents per track, but cannot stream the songs over-the-air to mobile handsets. The new service--set to launch on January 16th--will be powered by Microsoft technology and give cell phone users the ability to build a music library on their phone without the need for a personal computer, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Apple's competitors are unlikely to make a dent in the iPod's market share, and the iPod will continue to dominate the market in 2006 according to one research firm. Investment research firm Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster today released a research note stating that he believes Apple's competitors are still lagging in terms of form factor, intuitive user interface, and "cool factor." The firm does not believe that new Nano- and Shuffle-like players SanDisk and Samsung, which surfaced today, will erode the iPod dominance and said that it is bewildered by Sony's offerings: "We continue to be shocked at how Sony's devices miss the mark despite the resources that are being put into creating a competitive product."
Digidesign announced today that Digi 002 systems now include the Digi 002 Factory software bundle at no additional charge. Using the Digi 002, customers can record, edit, process, mix, and master Pro Tools projects. The Mac-compatible portable system can also be used as a stand-alone 8x4x2 digital mixer complete with EQ, dynamics, delay, and reverb with snapshots. The Digi 002 system includes Pro Tools LE software, the Pro Tools Ignition Pack (with third-party software applications), and 50 Digidesign and Bomb Factory plug-ins, as well as the following collection of added plug-ins: Bomb Factory BF-3A, Moogerfooger Ring Modulator, Moogerfooger Analog Delay, SansAmp PSA-1, Cosmonaut Voice, JOEMEEK SC2 Photo Optical Compressor, JOEMEEK VC5 Meequalizer, Tel-Ray Variable Delay, Voce Spin, and Voce Chorus/Vibrato. Digidesign is no longer offering the Digi 002 without the Factory bundle, and pricing for Digi 002 Rack and Digi 002 Rack Factory products will remain unchanged. The Digi 002 system retails for $2,500 (system requirements not available).
Wurlitzer Jukebox and Vending has released the Wurlitzer One More Time Special Edition for iPod CD Jukebox. The modernized version of the 1940's jukebox features an iPod docking station and Bose Acoustimass Speakers. To play the jukebox through an iPod, the iPod must simply be placed in the docking station, integrating yesterday's jukebox with "today's" popular music player. The OMT Special Edition for iPod also stores 100 CDs vertically in a carousel with a CD priority system. The jukebox measures 59.8 x 32.1 x 25.2 inches, weighs 346 pounds, and retails at $9,500.
Redbug Technologies has released Mapwing Creator Pro 1.1, a free Mapwing upgrade that offers enhancements and bug fixes. Mapwing is an application for building, sharing, and exploring virtual reality (VR) tours. Using only a digital camera and computer, users can create VR locations or "points" out of images and connect these together to form tours, which can be enhanced with an interactive map, text comments, website links, and detail image hotspots. Mapwing's Flash Viewer is a server-side Flash/PHP application used to embed Mapwing tours into web pages and create streaming Mapwing tours. The free upgrade includes improved image and hotspot performance, new circular-styled points, an enhanced undo system, numerous bug fixes, and Mapwing Viewer has been upgraded to version 1.1.4. Mapwing Creator Pro 1.1, a free upgrade for registered users, is available for $300 license and runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8.
In Brief: iCompositions, a community for sharing music made with Apple's GarageBand, is giving away a free collection of 264 loops to registered users, bringing iCompositions members more than 780 free Apple Loops.... FastMac and MacMod.com have teamed up to showcase a variety of custom Mac mods at the FastMac (booth no. 827) during next week's Expo, including the 2005 Great Mod Challenge Mod of the Year, the Real Wood iPod.... Team Feral, located at the heart of the gaming area (booth no. 2616), will preview all its latest releases next week--complemented by the best force-feedback steering wheels and joypads from Logitech--as well as offer Commandos 2 multiplayer tournaments in the games arcade throughout the show.... Verizon's new V cast Music service is compatible with SanDisk's microSD (previously TransFlash) flash memory cards--up to 1GB--that can store/transfer music downloaded from a mobile phone to Windows-compatible PCs.... XtremeMac has debuted a high-end sound system dubbed Tango (pictured at right) that is designed to deliver high quality audio output from any Dock connector iPod.... NY Times columnist David Pogue will visit the Apple Store in San Francisco to showcase his "Mac OS X: Missing Manual, Tiger Edition" and offer 25 of the best Tiger secrets.
iDiddy today announced its wearable iDiddy Dolphin for iPod nano, a rubber case designed to protect the device against knocks, dings and scratches. The PVC iPod nano case ships with a new fabric iLanyard, featuring 16.9mm earbuds. The iLanyard is designed to work exclusively with iDiddy cases for iPod nano, and includes an earphone jack precisely molded to the shape of the iPod. Rhodium plated rings hold the earbuds in place against the iLanyard when they are not in use, preventing the earbud wires from tangling. Dolphins are available in "shark" gray, "deep sea" black, "shasta" blue, and soon in "Pacific" red with an attached "3600" belt clip for $35.
MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for Quicken 2006 which installs over 200 commands into its iListen speech recognition application, allowing the user to do virtually anything by voice in Quicken 2006 that they would normally do using keyboard shortcuts or menus. The new ScriptPak also includes voice commands for Emergency Records Organizer and Home Inventory, programs included in Quicken 2006. It requires iListen 1.6.8 or later as well as Mac OS X 10.4 or greater. The ScriptPak for Quicken 2006 is available immediately from the MacSpeech website and sells for $10. MacSpeech offers several iListen packages, including a software-only solution for $100, and a software/headset-microphone bundle for $150.
Terra Soft Solutions today released Yellow Dog Linux 4.1, a special distribution of the open-source operating system that runs on most Apple hardware with a G3 processor or better. Version 4.1 now supports Apple's latest PowerBooks and G5 PowerMacs with dual-core CPUs and offers support for backlit keys, PCMCIA cell phone/modem support, and support for Atheros wireless cards. Other features include dual-head configuration via the graphical user interface, the ability to install directly to and boot from FireWire drives, and USB device auto-mount under both KDE and GNOME. The update provides greatly improved sound support, a graphical "Up2Date" package install/update tool, and basic 64-bit development/runtime support. Yellow Dog Linux is available for free (see website for hardware requirements).
4Flix.net has announced a new Macintosh- and iPod-friendly video download service without Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. Hundreds of feature-length movies, TV shows, independent films and more are now available for playback, and will be compatible with the "upcoming Mac Mini," placing 4Flix.net in direct competition with Apple and its own iTunes' video download service, which delivers content with DRM restrictions, limiting playback to up to five computers. Customers may download their purchases-- priced at $1.99 or less each- to their computers and then move the files freely between viewing devices, including portable media players and living room-based media centers. 4Flix.net's advanced video compression codec allows for high resolution at lower bitrates, enabling smaller file sizes with superior quality. Besides the video iPod, the DRM-free media files are cross-platform and play on any Mac or PC with Apple's QuickTime 7 installed. The DRM-free service helps to break the 'content logjam' by providing consumers with control over their digital media, according to the company.
The Apple Specialists Marketing Co-op (ASMC), representing 160 Apple Specialist Dealers and Service Providers, has announced its "Apple Specialist Pavilion" at Macworld Expo next week. Apple specialists from 25 states will be at booth no. 2225 from January 9-13, with exhibits, demonstrations and consultation space and including a theater with presentations every half hour. Several new products will be announced and exhibited in the booth during the show. Kevin O'Connor, color management guru, will be the featured presenter in the pavilion. Expected presentation include news and tips on Mac OS X server, XSAN storage solutions, Adobe Creative Suite 2.0, color management workflow solutions, and new Mac POS software from Xsilva. Vendor partners in the Pavilion include Actoris Software, AppleSauce Polish, Etchamac, EZQuest, Protective Solutions, Trans International, XSilva Systems, and X-Rite."Our theme this year is 'Problem Solved, to highlight the fact that Apple Specialists provide complete solutions -- not just products off the shelf."
XtremeMac today launched a new addition to its growing line of audio products, a high-end sound system dubbed Tango. The speaker system is designed to deliver high quality audio output from any Dock connector iPod, and offers audio/video output for integrating the iPod into a home entertainment system. The full-featured 2.1 speaker system offers a trio of powerful speakers, including a downward-firing subwoofer, which provides deep powerful bass and crisp, clear vocals. A sound stabilizer provides grip on most surfaces so that bass vibrations do not cause the unit to shift.
In Brief: PodShop, makers of iPod accessories, today announced that in response to the U.S. Postal Service's rate increase that takes effect on January 8, the company will be offering free shipping on its products indefinitely.... A MacNN reader notes that Mac users are out of luck if they want to activate their XM Radio online as it requires the use of Internet Explorer running on Windows.... In addition the Nano-like SanDisk player noted earlier today, Samsung has also released a similarly thin, flash-based player.... Several new products for iPod owners have surfaced at CES in Las Vegas, including new Shure E500 headphones, new iPod-compatible car head units from Clarion, new RF-based remotes from Targus, new accessories from Kensington, iPod car accessories from Speck's new Electronics Division and several new products from Belkin, including its TuneBase FM devices, Sport Sleeve for Nano, TuneCommand AV, and TuneFM.
Miglia Technology today announced the MediaBank Solo, an external consumer storage solution available with an extended three year warranty. “MediaBank Solo ships pre-configured with Western Digital hard drives, known for their industry leading reliability. The combination of the robust and stylish case and WD drives puts MediaBank Solo in a class of its own. We are so confident about the quality and reliability of MediaBank Solo that we ship it with a 3 year warranty.” The MediaBank Solo is available storage capacities of 160GB and 300GB as well as in a case-only version. Made from impact-resistant aluminium, the case is used as a heatsink to keep the hard drive cool without the need for a fan. The Solo also features two FireWire 400 ports as well as a USB2.0 connector. Pricing for the is $200 (€100 ex. VAT) for the 160GB model and is $270 (€150) for the 300GB model. The case-only version is $100 (€50).
Rumors are circulating that Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney are on the brink of signing a megadeal, either the possible sale of Pixar to Disney or a new distribution pact between the two companies. Continuing talks have reportedly been migrating toward Disney acquiring all or part of Pixar, which would make Steve Jobs--CEO of Pixar and Apple Computer--a major Disney shareholder, and possibly the media giant's chairman. Some analysts have speculated that by selling Pixar, Jobs could focus on running Apple, while others doubt the executive is willing to sell even a part of Pixar, which he bought in 1986 from George Lucas for $10 million. Pixar's market value is now almost $7 billion, according to a report from bizjournals.com. [updated]
Speck Products today announced a new Electronics Division, expanding its innovative and unique line of iPod accessories to include electronics for iPod. Speck's new line of "made for your car" iPod electronics includes leather-clad iPod chargers, docks, and FM transmitters (pictured at right) that are designed to compliment the look a car's interior. "Most folks who are passionate about their iPods are also passionate about their cars," said Tim Hickman, General Manager of Speck Products. "Our new line of iPod electronics really integrates the iPod into your car. The leather and chrome details look great against your dashboard and leather seats. The typical white plastic FM transmitter just doesn't make sense with your leather interior."
The annual events listing for Macworld Expo, which takes place next week, is now available: The Hess Memorial Events list, compiled by Ilene Hoffman, offers a comprehensive guide to the Expo, from booths at which prizes can be won, to parties and get-togethers, to the keynote address by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs' address will kick off the Expo at 9:00 AM Tuesday morning, January 10, the ending event being the Mac Life Expo Wrap Up Panel on Friday, January 13 at 3:00 PM. The organizer said that the listing will be updated with more events as they are announced. Users can also view archived events from last year's Expo.
Samsung this week announced yet another new ultra-slim, lightweight flash-memory player, which much like the SanDisk e200 series players noted earlier today, closely resembles the "look and feel" iPod nano. The YP-Z5 Music Jukebox works seamlessly with music subscription services, and features a long lasting rechargeable battery for up to 38 hours of continuous music playback. The 4GB flash player features 1.8-inch LCD screen, a slim, durable body, and support for Microsoft Plays For Sure Audio Download and Subscription with support for MTV's Urge, Napster, Rhapsody, and Yahoo. The player is made from durable aluminum, which it says will prevent scratches and smudges. The "slim photo jukebox" weighs only 2 ounces and features a touchpad interface. Although it does not support video, users can view photographs and album art with dynamic effects as well as perform pan and zoom functions on digital photos. The YP-Z5 supports JPEG, OGG, MP3, and WMA; it will ship both silver and black in February for $250.
Skype has released a new update to its internet telephony application. Skype 1.4 brings a host of new features to the free software allowing anyone with an Internet connection to "make free Internet calls, stay in touch, and express themselves online." Version 1.4.35 can now forward calls to other Skype accounts or regular phones and pause iTunes automatically when you get a call. It also allow users to express themselves with mood messages. The company also added drag and drop support for adding contacts to chats and calls and new support for enhanced notifications with Growl, which notifies users of new messages and when users come on- and off-line. Skype 1.4 runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. The company also offers a Skype widget for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which lets you dial calls, look up country codes and check calling rates.
Kensington today debuted two new iPod accessories. At the CES show, the company showed off its Entertainment Dock 500, which features video-out ports (RCA or S-video) to share videos and photos from your iPod through your TV. It also features a wireless RF remote to conveniently listen to music through your stereo or play a soundtrack while you view a collection of photos. The device also simultaneously charges iPod in the cradle. It will be available in the spring for $100. The Kensington Accessory Adapter for iPod shuffle plugs into the USB connector on the Shuffle, enabling users play music or charge the iPod through many iPod-compatible accessories. "From docking stations and chargers to FM devices and speaker systems, the Accessory Adapter for iPod shuffle lets you get maximum entertainment from the iPod shuffle." It is also expected to ship in the spring for $20. The company also showed off its SX 2000 Speakers for iPod.
Apple has turned to the courts for relief, after patent licensing talks broke down with Burst.com. Burst on Thursday announced that it was sued in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by Apple for declaratory relief, alleging patent invalidity or non-infringement. The suit follows a breakdown in protracted negotiations for issuance of a license of Burst's patents to cover Apple's iPod and iTunes products, according to the company. The digital media patent dispute is, in part, over "faster-than-realtime" streaming technologies found in Apple's media player and iTunes Music Store for playback of videos and may also be related to other video distribution technology patents. Late last year, industry pundit Robert Cringely said that Apple would face patent (as well as technology) hurdles if it were to introduce a "storage locker service" to help store and distribute video.
Targus today introduced its latest additions to its line of iPod accessories, including two new RemoteTunes wireless remotes, as well as an adapter that provides compatibility between older accessories with new iPod products. The two new RemoteTunes connect to the 30-pin iPod dock connector and are compatible with the newest iPods, including the iPod, iPod nano, iPod mini, 4G and photo models. "Whether the iPod is in another room or in a backpack, pocket, purse or briefcase, users can adjust the volume, change the song selection or turn off the iPod with a RemoteTunes, which are small enough to easily carry around." Featuring RF technology, the RemoteTunes devices do not require line of sight functionality, enabling control of the iPod even through walls.
SanDisk today a new iPod nano-like MP3 player. The top-of-the-line SanDisk Sansa e200 MP3 player features a large 1.8-inch color screen and 6GB of storage, and up to 256 hours of music playback. The device also allows users to view photos and personal videos. The company also introduced the Sansa c100, a value-conscious MP3 player with a color screen and compact size. Featuring a remarkable resemblance to the Nano, the company touts its industrial design and sports a click-wheel like interface as well as features a new "universal accessory connector" to help promote the proliferation of an accessory market. As with many clones, the player offers several features not available on the iPod, including a user-replaceable battery, an FM tuner with on-the-fly recording, an icon-based menu for navigation, and a microSD expansion slot for additional capacity and support for content cards that can be exchanged with mobile phones. The Nano-like player will be available in March in capacities of 2GB ($200), 4GB ($250), and 6G ($300).
Micromat today announced TechTool Protege, a compact, bootable diagnostic and repair tool that contains the full-featured Macintosh troubleshooting program TechTool Pro, Micromat's disk partitioning program DiskStudio, as well as several other utilities on a compact, 1GB FireWire flash drive. Its tiny size makes it easy to carry at all times so that one can test and repair Macintosh computers--whenever the need arises. Leveraging the included software durable, solid state device can diagnose Macintosh hardware, diagnose and repair hard drive problems, optimize and defragment hard drive volumes, rebuild volume directories, recover data from damaged volumes, and partition hard drives without losing data as well as perform other diagnostic functiions TechTool Protege is available today and will be shown at the Macworld Expo. It is available for $230.
ZappTek has announced iPDA 3.0 (formerly iPod It), which allows users to easily transfer information to their PDA. Version 3.0 introduces a new name, adds document support (Word, RTF and text — including the ability to select folders containing documents), the ability to select multiple Mail folders and Entourage categories, and much more. iPDA supports transferring information from Entourage, Stickies, Mail, Address Book and iCal. Users can transfer Word, RTF and text documents for quick access and reading on-the-go as well as download weather forecasts, news and RSS feeds directly to your iPod. iPDA 3.0 is a free upgrade; new licenses are $20. It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Apple is reportedly moving aggressively to protect its 'pod' trademarks. According to a report on The Alarm Clock, Apple has filed a trademark infringement claim against a company that owns--but is not yet using--the term "spod". The Spodradio website claims to be the next-generation of mobile radio, enabling users to subscribe to podcasts on smartphones without the need to connect to a PC--and thus bypassing Apple's iTunes. The report says that Apple has filed a trademark infringement claim in a Hamburg-based civil court: "As a result the court decided to forbid Stuttgart-based Liquid Air Lab, the company behind Spodradio, to use the name Spod until the case comes to court. The firm is not using Spod at the moment but had filed a trademark claim along with 'spodradio' last fall, according to Liquid Air Lab's founder Mikko Linnamaeki.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k