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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.
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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