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Intel ships "Merom"
Intel today announced that systems based on Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology are now shipping with Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors, although systems are note expected to ship from manufacturers until late September. The company said that more than 200 Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology-based designs from PC manufacturers, resellers and integrators around the world will incorporate the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor (formerly codenamed "Merom") this year. Apple already uses Intel's Core Duo in its consumer MacBook and professional MacBook Pro laptops, but is expected to use the new chips in a revision to its higher-end laptops. The new Core 2 Duo processors consume less power, allowing manufacturers build cooler, sleeker and smaller systems, Intel said in its announcement. Intel also said the new processors deliver improved performance for videos, gaming and multimedia activities--especially when running multiple applications simultaneously.
Bob Dylan silhouette ad
Apple has created (and now posted) a new silhouette-style television ad touting iTunes and iPod. The new commercial features silhouetted Bob Dylan wearing an iPod while performing a song from his new album, Modern Times, which is available for pre-order from the iTunes Music Store and is expected to be released on Tuesday. iProng reports that the ad differs from any of Apple's previous silhouette ads "in that the ad features mostly black and white coloring as opposed to the traditional pink, yellow, blue, and green," but did not provide any details on where the ad was first sighted. The commercial is not yet available online at Apple's website. However, users can pre-order the album with four bonus videos and and special fifth video along with pre-sale Ticketmaster access for tickets to Dylan's upcoming tour for all pre-orders. (Yesterday, Apple also debuted three new "Get A Mac" commercials.) [updated: images after the jump]
Apple iMac Versus Sony LS1
Upon the announcement of Sony's new LS1 PC and TV hybrid, many drew immediate comparisons between its 'floating' design and the 20-inch iMac that preceded it earlier in the year, suggesting that Sony took direct inspiration from Apple's earlier computer. Regardless of the exact inspiration, the two computers are in fact very different, reports CNET. After reviewing the two systems, the news organization notes that the iMac and LS1 are targeted at different users and have distinct advantages over each other. The iMac has superior graphics and is considerably less expensive, but misses the integrated NTSC tuner and recording functionality of the LS1 that let it serve as a true media center. Click through for important considerations beyond the CNET article.
Ultra Hi-Def photo printer
Epson today introduced three Ultra Hi-Definition photo printers, which "deliver the ultimate professional-level prints to the home photo enthusiast at amazing print speeds." Using new ink technology, the new product line includes the Epson Stylus Photo R260 and R380 photo printers, along with the Epson Stylus Photo RX580 photo all-in-one. Epson's Claria technology uses a newly designed print head to help the the company offer the fastest photo print speeds of any previous Epson model and print longevity, which it claims is superior to lab photos. In addition the new line utilizes DX5 technology to allow the company's MicroPiezo print head to deliver five sizes of ink droplets--as small as 1.5 picoliters--to create grain-free photos. Epson touts borderless 4"x 6" photo prints in as fast as 13 seconds (draft mode), a better-than-lab quality borderless 4"x 6" photo in as fast as 30 seconds (default mode) and everyday black and color text documents in up to 30 ppm.
PS3 games: $59.99?
Another pair of supposed GameStop lists has come in through GamersReports. These ones show the costs and release dates of PS3 games (running into May), but there are a couple of odd points that stand out. First, all titles are listed at $59.99 US, which is even more expensive than a high-profile release for the 360. There's also the quirk of several games being scheduled for November 1st and 7th - one to two weeks before the PS3's official launch. If those dates are real, GameStop will probably keep the cases in inventory, since it's unlikely that Sony would approve of such early pre-sale. That would rob their marketing campaign of any thunder they might have drummed up.
Samsung Z610 Cellphone
Despite Sony's conspicuous use of the Walkman name in its attempt to dominate the music phone market, its Korean rival Samsung is clearly set on distinguishing itself as the most music-friendly phone brand. Particularly strong evidence of this is the company's upcoming Z610, discovered today in an FCC filing by Czech site iDNES. It bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple's iPod, including a glossy and minimalist white shell with chrome accents and simple music controls on the front. Detailed specifications are not available in the filling; it will be a 3G-capable slider phone with AAC/MP3/WMA music playback, a microSD slot for extra storage, and two cameras for video calls and photography. As FCC updates point to imminent releases, expect the Z610 before the end of the year. Photos of the front and back are available after the jump.
Gateway Core 2 Duo Laptops
A final but still very significant introduction of laptops using the mobile Core 2 Duo processor comes today courtesy of Gateway's new laptop line. Though its website has yet to update with the new models, the company today announced a series of new models to take advantage of the extra performance. All but its ultraportable NX100 series will see the Core 2 Duo in their lineup and start at 1.66GHz. A new line of M-series workstation laptops is making its debut at the same time: though little was made public in the announcement, the line will start with the 14-inch M255-E that uses a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, and 80GB of hard drive space. Other M versions will use processors between 1.83GHz and 2.16GHz. Gateway's new computers should be available starting August 31st for a $999 starting price.
EVE Online banker absconds
Remember kids, blind faith is bad faith. The founder of the Eve Intergalactic Bank, an institution in the space MMORPG EVE Online, recently took off with 790 billion ISK's of in-game currency. The plan of the bank was to let players store money while accruing interest; instead, "Cally" simply took the ISK's and left behind a 10-minute video admitting to it. Here's where the story ceases to be funny: ArsTechnica estimates that the real-world value of the currency could be as much as $170,000, making Cally a rich man while sabotaging EVE's economy in the process. Selling the ISK's would break the game's EULA however, and Cally might face legal trouble if he interferes with the business of CCP, EVE's creators.
Mellel 2.1 released
RedleX today released Mellel 2.1, a major update to its leading word processor for Mac OS X. Version 2.1 adds several key changes and new features including switching the file format to XML, enhanced Find and Replace capabilities (full Regular Expressions support), improved Full screen mode, better paragraph and character style palettes, and several minor bug fixes an performance tweaks. "The move to XML is important for many of our users because it frees them from any future worries," said CTO Eyal Redler. "The XML-based file format is becoming the standard in word processing." Mellel 2.1 is available for download now, priced at $50 for a single-user license. Version 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Trial Version - 8.3MB]
TEAC R-1B Retro Stereo
The appeal of a vintage radio design built using modern technology is very strong. Not everyone cares for the larger size of most traditional sets, however. A reasonable compromise is a design based on the early transistor radios that made portable sound possible. TEAC, which has already released numerous stereos in the nostalgic mode, today unveiled the R-1B stereo in Japan. Its power output is meek at 1.5W, but it features both an AM/FM radio tuner as well as an auxiliary input jack for an iPod or most any other modern audio source. Currently on sale in Japan for $90 US, a variant of the R-1 already appears at American TEAC website and should therefore be ready very soon.
EndNote X released
Thomson ResearchSoft software has released EndNote X, a tool for organizing references and creating bibliographies using simple input and structural methods. Version "X" features a new method of PDF organization making use of the EndNote library compression to make easy back up files. Also featured in EndNote X is a new library view, file type support for Apple's Spotlight technology, new alphabetical reference sorting, support for more reference types, enhanced support for electronic sources, single file compressed libraries, improved search fields, and a customizable toolbar alongside new quick access commands. This release of EndNote costs $90 to previous buyers and $240 to new customers. EndNote X is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 51.1MB]
MS "Classics" rebranding
When an otherwise decent game's sales start to plummet, one strategy publishers have adopted is to rebrand the title at a lower cost. Microsoft has already decided to go down this path with the Xbox 360, heralding a new "Classics" lineup that will begin with Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero. As 2old notes, this approach is more about sales than age and quality; Call of Duty 2 is just as old as PDZ and arguably better, but will not be in the initial Classics rollout.
Radius 320 Display
Virtually every multi-display user has had to cope with the physical separation of screens as part of their workflow, resulting in wasted space. A new alternative is the Radius 320 multi-screen unit from Seamless Display. The new design places three 20-inch LCD panels side by side for an effective screen resolution of 4800x1200, with no bezels in between to disrupt the appearance. The display requires three DVI signals from one or more video cards, but does not require any specific operating system or drivers to achieve its effect - an advantage for Mac Pro users seeking the most contiguous screen area possible. Radius 320 units are available for sale through special order at the company website; pricing varies by location.
In brief: Apple's Boot Camp is compatible with the latest beta of Windows Vista RC1-5536.... Merom is now shipping and showing up "in the wild" after being introduced alongside the desktop Core 2 Duo, code-named Conroe.... In an interesting note, the world's largest high-definition TV is now working in the Royal-Memorial Stadium in Texas, reports Electronista.... PangeaSoft has released a teaser site for an upcoming game referred to as Pangea Arcade; which it says is "Coming this fall".... ExtremeZ-IP has been contracted by the largest privately held printer in North America, Quad/Graphics to simplify sharing between 50 Windows servers and 600 Macs used by customers and employees.
Toys R Us: Wii is $299?
If this story is true, Nintendo may have gone back on its long-standing promise to keep the Wii under $250 US. A store director with Toys R Us says that the preliminary price of the Wii is actually $299. He adds that the price may change before launch, but it seems mysterious that vendors would be given one figure while gamers are fed another. Could Nintendo be planning to correct us at its big event on September 14th? Or were reps at the Toys R Us meeting in Orlando being confused and/or pessimistic? It might be wise not to proclaim this news as a revelation.
LCC 2.1 for OS X released
Logitech has released an updated version of Logitech Control Center for Mac OS X. This new solution offers native support for Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary and adds support for Logitech's new MicroGear Precision scroll wheels. Also included in this update is support for search buttons now included on new mouse models allowing users to select text and press the search button to instantly search for the item. Howevr, the updated software does not bring any Mac compatibility to previously unsupported mice, keyboards, or other peripherals. Version 2.1 is available immediately at no cost to users. This version requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later running on any Mac using either built-in USB or PCI adapters. [Download - 11.6MB]
Sony downgrades graphics
Today, the PS3 is a little less of the supercomputer that's been promised. The Inquirer reports that Sony is downgrading the console's RSX graphics processor, shifting it from 550 MHz core and 700 MHz memory to speeds of 500 and 650 MHz respectively. The speculation is that Sony may be having trouble with reliable yields of 550/700 chips, which is the same problem that makes high-end PC processors more expensive than mid-range ones.
Dell Core 2 Duo Laptops
As a company habitually quick to use the newest Intel processors, Dell is understandably prepared to take advantage of the mobile Core 2 Duo, which it has done today across several models in its portable lineup. The most complete change is to the XPS line that sees all its existing systems upgraded with the new processor, beginning with the unusual choice of a 1.73GHZ Core 2 Duo as the base processor for the $1200 M1210 and ending with the 2.33GHz upgrade option on all three XPS models. The more mainstream Inspiron E1705 and Precision workstation laptops also receive Core 2 Duo options. As with other manufacturers' Core 2 Duo systems announced today, Dell's updated models are expected to ship in early September.
Aspyr update on Mactels
Aspyr Media on Monday released its August newsletter detailing its progress on Universal updates for its game titles and other details on upcoming games. To date, Aspyr has released four Universal out-of-the-box games and Universal patches for six additional titles. Today, Aspyr confirmed plans to release Universal patches for Civilization III Complete, Command and Conquer Generals (and expansion packs), Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, SimCity 4 (and expansion packs), and all releases of Star Wars Jedi Knights. There are other unannounced titles which are going to take longer to transition, according to the company newsletter. Aspyr released The Sims 2 Open for Business earlier today, and announced in this newsletter plans for two unannounced games in time for the holiday or start of next year; however, no details were offered about the games. "One of our goals for Mac development in the new world of Intel Macs is to ship more of our Mac games close to the release of the Windows versions, and we hope to have a couple good examples of this in the coming months," the company wrote in its monthly newsletter.
Alienware Core 2 Duo
Continuing today's focus on Core 2 Duo laptop updates is Alienware, which is launching three new models built around Intel's new mobile processor. The new system lineup addresses all but the company's smallest laptops. First is the budget 14-inch Sentia m3450, which starts at $849 and includes a modest 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 512MB of RAM, and 40GB of storage. Occupying the mid-range at $1200 is the Area-51 m5550, which adds a 15.4-inch display, 128MB Radeon X1400 video, and a 60GB hard drive. Lastly, desktop replacement users can opt for the 17-inch Area-51 m5750 and its included 256MB Radeon X1800 at $1400. All of these systems can be upgraded to a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM or extra hard drive space; the m5550 can additionally receive a graphics upgrade to a 256MB GeForce Go 7600. The three new designs should ship in early September.
What Is A Chumby
Small electronics are rarely built to be modified; in many cases, manufacturers are openly hostile to users who would try to load unofficial firmware or open the unit to change the hardware. Chumby's self-titled device taks the opposite approach. Though it initially ships as a digital clock, the Chumby is designed to be extremely flexible. Connecting a Chumby to a computer and registering it lets the user download widgets (in the same vein as those from the MacOS X Dashboard) that take advantage of the Chumby's touchscreen, speakers, USB, and WiFi. Widgets already exist to let users view specific websites or view photos. The device has a plush back that can easily be changed to cater to a different look or removed entirely to give access to the main circuitboard for more determined enthusiasts. Mass production does not officially begin until March 2007 when the Chumby will be available for $150, but prospective developers can contact the company and obtain a unit in advance if necessary.
Tempest sequel for XBLA
Designer-programmer Jeff Minter, whose work is currently seen in the Neon media visualizations for the 360, has unveiled an XBLA sequel to his Atari Jaguar game Tempest 2000, which in turn was a sequel to the 1981 arcade classic Tempest. Nicknamed "Space Giraffe," the new game will cost 400 Microsoft Points and feature the same sort of psychedelic vector graphics found in T2000, or in Bizarre's 360 game Geometry Wars. Unlockable extras will include Neon effects using the Xbox Live Vision camera. "Gilesgoat" claims that a PC port is planned as well.
The Sims 2 Open ships
Aspyr Media today announced that The Sims 2 Open for Business for Mac is now shipping, ahead of the original plan to ship the expansion pack in September. The Sims 2 Open for Business allows Sims to create their own businesses. Sims can design clothing boutiques, beauty salons, florists, high-end electronics shops, bustling restaurant chains, or virtually any other type of business. Players can hire staff as the business grows while putting talented Sims to work making toys, running the register, crafting floral bouquets, giving sales pitches, or manufacturing robots. The game allows players to pick a business theme, set prices, and treat customers as desired. Players can turn talents into cash by learning the tricks of the trade, training good employees, and firing slackers. The new game is available now fore $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and The Sims 2 (full version) as well as a PowerPC G4-, G5-, or Intel-based Mac running at 1.2GHz or faster.
Philips GoGear SA13335
Those looking for a balance between barebones flash audio players and more advanced players such as the iPod nano might find Philips' new player a worthwhile if fairly conventional option. The 1GB GoGear SA13335 contains many of the now-standard features of its class, including MP3/WMA audio, FM tuning, and voice recording. Its advantages are primarily in design and software. This GoGear model uses a 128x64 OLED integrated seamlessly into the shell and a suitably minimal control set to choose music. Users also have their choice of operating system: though Philips only officially supports Windows, the company mentions that both Mac and Windows users alike can transfer music to the player by dragging and dropping files while the SA13335 is connected to the computer via USB 2. It should be available soon, though an official retail price has not been set.
Rayman Wii exclusive
The new entry of Ubisoft's signature platformer will be a Wii exclusive until May of 2007, says Spanish site MeriStation by way of GoNintendo. That should give the Wii a seven- to eight-month lead on other ports of the game, which will include the PC, 360, PS3, and DS. Why such a narrow focus in development efforts? It seems that Ubisoft wants to take unique advantage of the Wii hardware (i.e. the Wiimote) and step down to more standard platforms once the coast is clear. It remains to be seen whether a Rayman game can draw players to Nintendo.
Logitech Z-10 Speakers
Computer keyboards often ship with media buttons to control basic music and video functions without having to switch to the program. This is not always useful: without track information, users still have to look at the program on their screens if they need to identify a song or control Internet radio. Logitech's new Z-10 speakers reduce that dependency by integrating a screen and touch-sensitive controls into one of the satellites. By connecting the speakers to the computer through USB and installing (currently Windows-only) software, listeners can see exactly see and control tracks played from a number of music jukebox programs, including iTunes, WinAmp, and Windows Media Player. The Z-10 speakers can also be cued to four Internet radio presets and displays general system information when not playing music. Auxiliary input and headphone jacks allow the Z-10 to accept more conventional audio as well. Logitech ships its new speakers in September for $150. See a full-sized photo after the jump.
Forms To Go 3.0 released
Bebosoft has released a new version of Forms To Go, a utility which generators email scripts with PHP, Perl, and ASP. It allows users to create scripts to process HTML forms and send the field values through email. The utility also can store the emails in MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS Access databases or text files and also features the ability to validate field data and filter script execution with security features to avoid spammers and form hijackers. Version 3.0 adds form validation by access code, support for PostgreSQL databases, different email address support based on field values, and support for multiple file attachments in confirmation emails. Forms To Go 3.0 ($60) requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and no longer will run on Mac OS 9 systems. [Download - Trial]
TiVo Series 3 Ship Info
Even before launch, the TiVo Series 3 is quickly becoming the flagship model with the most features, including support for dual HDTV tuners and external storage. It should then come as little surprise that new retail information places the Series 3 at the very top of the TiVo product lineup in terms of price. An early entry into the Best Buy retail SKU system lists the new model as available for $799 - well above the $469 for the current 180-hour Series 2 with dual standard-definition tuners and a 3-year plan. However, it should also arrive soon enough that those who can justify the price will not have long to wait. The same Best Buy system also lists the Series 3 as in stock for September 17th, just a few weeks away. Though retail stocking systems are not always reliable sources of information, prior news of the Series 3's beta testing phase makes a launch feasible in three weeks' time.
Crucial RAM, iTunes
In brief: Samsung is catching up to Apple's iPod market-share in Taiwan as the company achieved 7.8 percent--just behind Apple's 8.0 percent. .... New reports indicate that Intel may launch Merom as soon as today-- Merom is rumored to be the CPU used in the next version of Apple's laptops.... Crucial, a leading memory upgrade supplier, has released new Mac Pro compatible RAM upgrades starting at $200.... Apple has released a new playlist for iTunes Music Store customers featuring upcoming albums from top selling artists including Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and the Barenaked Ladies.... The Mac Attack, a weekly podcast covering Mac hints, tips, and tricks, is celebrating its first anniversary.
Qosmio G35 Core 2 Duo
As previously expected, the first Core 2 Duo laptops have been announced today. Most of these announcements will focus on performance models such as Toshiba's new variant of the Qosmio G35. The G35-AV660 is an upgrade to the already high-end AV650 model that introduced HD DVD to laptops. Its drive can still only read the next-generation format (though it can read and write CDs and DVDs), but numerous other aspects of the system have received an upgrade: the AV660 receives a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, an increase to 2GB of RAM, and 240GB of total storage to make it one of the more complete media center laptops available. Accordingly, the $3500 price will limit the AV660 primarily to users whose laptop replaces their desktop computer and television at the same time.
Madden NFL 07 demo on XBL
The demo for EA's much-hyped 360 version of Madden NFL 07 is out on the Xbox Live Marketplace, presently for the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The EA marketing machine has been operating at high capacity for nearly a month. The full Madden has been received with mixed reviews however, mainly due to glitch and polish issues and the absence of some desired features.
Apple image in recession
Apple has had a golden aura about it for many years that has been unmatched by other computers makers, but BusinessWeek believes that the image may be in a slight hit. Apple has faced recent hardships such as recent stock option controversy, poor iPod plant worker conditions, and large battery recalls. In contrast, BusinessWeek says Hewlett Packard has been gaining a large amount of momentum with recent earnings reports, environmental initiatives, and never making use of the Sony batteries which plagued both Dell and Apple -- HP had called these batteries "unreliable and unqualified" beforehand. Despite these strides towards 'corporate excellence', BusinessWeek says that, "Try as it might, HP's products come nowhere close to Apple's in terms of style, elegance, or newsworthiness." The company may never capture the power and market grip of Apple, but it has the potential to become a market leader.
5.5dbi antenna for 17" MBP
QuickerTek has launched a new 5.5dBi antenna for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The antenna boasts more than double the wireless range and signal strength of the integrated AirPort Extreme card, according to the company. The new WiFi extending antenna offers 5.5dbi of RF gain, which will allow users to use signals from greater distances. The antenna attaches to the top of the monitor area and features the ability to fold or swivel in the direction of the base station or completely fold-over for easy travel. QuickerTek recommends professional installation if users have not installed a similar device in the past. This new product announcement comes after a similar version was released for the 15-inch MacBook Pro and a earlier removable transceiver was released for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The new 5.5dBi antenna is available now for the 17-inch MacBook Pro for $100 and requires any version of Mac OS X. [image included]
Music Challenge ships
Ohana Games has released a new game for Mac which makes use of the Apple Remote. The new game, Music Challenge, allows players to test their music knowledge in a game show-format. The game features a host named Gina and claims to be the first game released to make use of Apple's new multimedia remote (bundled with the majority of its Mac line--with the exception of the Mac Pro). The game takes place on the Hawaiian island of Kauai where users must answer questions about their music library, directly integrating into iTunes. Up to three additional players can join in the game in a hot-seat format. The game's iTunes integration allows album art use and the resuming of previous music when the game is over. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and iTunes 4 (QuickTime 6) or later running on a 800MHz PowerPC G4/G5 processor or faster. Music Challenge is available now for $10 from Ohana Games' online store.
Keyspan VoIP Phone
Keyspan has launched a new Mac compatible voice over IP phone. The Cordless VoIP Phone allows users of Skype to send or receive both computer-to-computer calls and computer-to-phone calls. Mike Ridenhour, president of Keyspan, touted the phone's portability: "Finally, there is no need to sit at your PC when using Skype. The Keyspan Cordless VoIP Phone lets you use Skype anywhere in your home or office." The phone offers support for features such as Caller ID and Speed Dial for both Skype and Skype Out numbers displayed on the built-in LCD. The display also allows users to view their contact list, status information, the time, and their signal strength. The phone also features a single button top launch/quit the Skype application running on the connected computer. Rechargeable batteries (through the included cradle) deliver 120 hours of standby and talk time of up to 15 hours. Keyspan's Cordless VoIP Phone ($80) connects to the user's PC or Mac with a USB receiver for and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or higher, and a Skype account. (Availability currently not known) [image included]
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