While Apple may not be exhibiting at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, Apple is making an impact on the show, according to one columnist. In addition the numerous accessories and gadgets for the company's tremendously popular iPod, Apple is on the minds of many of the largest consumer electronics companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Sony--behind closed doors, many companies are struggling to develop strategies to counter Apple's gaining momentum in the digital music/video industry and in the consumer electronics space. "Jobs' company is on the minds of lots of tech executives these days, whether or not they mention it out loud. Bill Gates' presentation gets graded, consciously or not, by the standard set by Jobs' famously theatrical presentations--and his performance Wednesday night was 'his attempt to out-Job Jobs, and it didn't work,' sniffed one tech executive cum drama critic."
Gefen this week introduced a range of connectivity solutions for Apple's Cinema Displays. The new HD-Mate acts as the interface between multiple HDTV sources and an Apple Cinema Display. It supports high definition resolutions up to 1920x1080i and comes equipped with one DVI and two component inputs that connect satellite television systems, camcorders, DVD players and gaming systems such as the Xbox 360. A total of three HD sources can be connected at the same time using the HD-Mate, which allows the user to easily switch between sources using a simple push-button menu on the unit itself. It features intuitive on-screen menu pages, accessible through the menu buttons on the HD-Mate unit, to offer image adjustments to accommodate different view outputs and screen sizes.
Gefen (booth 2746) this week introduced its Wireless USB Extender, which allows any USB 2.0 peripheral to be powered from remote distances up to 30 feet from a Mac without cables. The first-of-its-kind device for the US market supports the instantaneous transfer of data using Freescale Semiconductor's Ultra-Wideband wireless solution. The Wireless USB Extender uses small sender and receiver units connected to the computer and the extended USB device. It can connect cameras, keyboards, printers or any USB 2.0 device located up to 30 feet from the computer. Freescale's UWB technology enables high transfer rates of video, audio and data streams wirelessly, reaching rates 100 times faster than Bluetooth technology while maintaining wire-like quality, according to initial testing.
ezGear has introduced its ezStart nano Starter kit for owners of Apple's iPod nano. The company says the value-priced Kit includes everything to use, charge, share, and protect the iPod nano, including ezCharge Car Charger, ezPower wall charger, ezSkin nano protective case, ezGold earphone splitter, and ezCassette cassette adapter. The ezCharge Car Charger delivers fuse protection and is compatible with the iPod USB synchronization cable, while the ezPower Wall Charger is a power transformer that charges the Nano via your iPod USB synchronization cable. The ezSkin nano is a silicon case that protects the Nano from dirt and scratches and includes an integrated clickwheel cover, a screen protector, a removable belt clip, and a removable neck strap. The kit included with the Frost white or Onyx black versions. ezGear says that the five items sell separately for $130, but are available for only $60 via the ezStart nano Starter Kit.
Audiovox this week introduced several high-tech digital products at CES, including a universal iPod docking station that recharges while playing iPod or MP3 content (model CE602IP). Features include super bass speakers, iPod shuffle adapter and AC/DC adapter. The company says that it is compatible with all iPod products and other MP3 players. It will retail for $70. (Expected date of availability was not noted.) The company also launched a digital MP3 player housed in designer-style sunglasses (model MP256SG). The device includes an interchangeable, polarized shatter-proof lenses, 256MB flash memory, a built-in rechargeable battery, and up to 8.5 hours of music playback (per charge). Additional features include digital voice recorder, integrated microphone, PC/Mac compatible USB drive, and support for MP3/WMA/ADCPM. It offers standard USB 2.0 connectivity (via an included cable) and ships with carrying bag for $130.
Valor Multimedia has introduced the first multimedia interface for the iPod, which it says enables any iPod to play video on any multimedia system--either in the home or in the car. The company says that its new iLink enables users to to watch movies stored on the iPod, listen to both MP3 and WMA audio files as well as iTunes audio files, view photos on any attched video monitor, and more. Users can also control the iPod with a wireless IR remote control and display on-screen menus on any video display. Valor claims iLink will work with any brand of car or home audio/video product and will charge the iPod when connected.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives