&subidApple's College promotion offering students a free iPod nano with the purchase of any Mac will come to a close tomorrow (Saturday, September 16). Users get a free iPod nano along with the traditional education discounts of about 10 percent on laptops and Desktops. In addition, Apple has updated its listings of refurbished digital media players following the debut of its revamped iPods, lowering prices on its fifth-generation video iPod, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle models. Apple's refurbished video iPods include the 30GB model in white as well as black for $179 that stores up to 7,500 songs, and its 60GB model in white as well as black for $229 that stores up to 15,000 songs. Apple is currently only offering refurbished 2GB iPod nanos in white as well as black for $99, storing up to 500 songs. Refurbished iPod shuffles include the 512MB model with a free Apple armband or external battery pack for $49, holding up to 120 songs; as well as the 1GB model for $79 that stores up to 240 songs. Apple's refurbished iPods come with free shipping as always, and a one-year warranty. The Apple Store Canada is also offering refurbished iPods, pricing the 30GB video iPod at $209; the 60GB video iPod at $259; the 2GB iPod nano at $119; the 512MB iPod shuffle with a free Apple armband or External Battery Pack at $59; and the 1GB iPod shuffle at $95.
Previously thought of only as a maker of children's toys, LEGO earned a considerable amount of respect from serious hobbyists when it developed the Mindstorms line of robot construction kits: creative designers could not only build whatever machines the parts allowed, but program them to perform actions LEGO itself never intended through an open software kit. The Danish company today invited yet more openness by announcing that it would license third-party hardware for the Mindstorms NXT robot system, which gives builders even more options for robot designs. The first device under the new licensing scheme comes from HiTechnic, whose NXT Compass Sensor adds the option for hobbyists to guide their robots based on magnetic North. HiTechnic expects the compass to ship in October. An RGB sensor that responds to colors of nearby objects will follow by the end of 2006.
Apple.com ranked No. 14 among all Web properties during the month of August with more than 31.5 million unqiue visitors, according to a new report, while Yahoo! Sites maintained the number one ranking, attracting more than 131.3 million visitors. Apple's PC Rival Dell jumped 12 spots to number 35, drawing 18.1 million unique visitors, a 23- percent increase from the previous month--in part due to the recall of Dell laptops. comScore Media Metrix also noted that Youtube.com continued its rise, increasing 19 percent to reach 19.1 million unique visitors, making it the 32nd most-visited Web property in the U.S., an eight-spot increase from July when it debuted in the comScore Media Metrix Top 50 for the first time. comScore said that the total number of US internet users was just over 173 million from work, home, and university locations. The Time Warner Network (121 million, Microsoft (119 million), Google (108 million), and eBay (80 million) rounded out the top 5, respectively.
Troll Touch, a custom touchscreen system provider, today announced the immediate availability of the companyís internally integrated touch solution for the 24-inch iMac. Troll Touch customers can purchase complete touch-enabled machines directly from the company or supply their own previously purchased iMacs for touch-enabling. Touchscreen conversion turnaround time is currently 10-15 business days, according to the company. Integration of the companyís custom designed touch components is accomplished at Troll Touch's Valencia, CA. facilities. Troll Touch seamlessly integrates its PSR-1 touch technology on a variety of Macs including the iMac, eMac, MacBook and iBook laptops and the 20-, 23- and 30-inch Cinema displays. The companyís touchscreen technology operates with any non-sharp pointing device, such as a stylus, fingertip or gloved hand. Cost of the touchscreen system on the new 24-inch iMac, including installation, is $1350.00.
Virtual Programming has released Hearts of Iron II - Doomsday as a digital download with a boxed version expected to follow in the near future. "As the German war machine falls, two great nations rise to claim power. In the West, there is the United States, leader of the allied nations, and in the East lies the Soviet Union under communist rule. As both nations attempt to claim superiority, a new war is waiting around the corner; this time, the conflict will decide who will be the remaining superpower. Play as the ruler of one of 175 countries through World Wars II and III. As the Allies and the Soviet Union clash in Europe, the fate of the world hangs in the balance." In addition to the four grand campaigns (1936, 1939, 1941 and 1944) of the original game, one extra "what if" scenario (1945) has been added; it features a continuation war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The time limit has also been extended to 1953 and additional warfare and diplomatic options have been included. It is available for $25.
The highest-quality webcams available today typically operate at a 1.3-megapixel resolution, which is enough for windowed video chats but falls short for full-screen chat and still images. Microsoft hopes to remedy this problem with the LifeCam NX-6000, a laptop equivalent of its earlier VX-6000 model. The sensor inside the NX-6000 can record 2-megapixel video at a 1600x1190 resolution that is almost a perfect match to the full size of many laptop and 20-inch desktop displays. Hardware in the camera can also interpolate still images to an even sharper 3200x2380 (7.6-megapixel) picture. Microsoft has logically made integration with Windows Live Messenger an important feature and has a call button to start video chats quickly. For portability, the lens can slide into the camera body. NX-6000 cameras begin shipping in November for $100.
Microsoft has vested interest in promoting online music and video stores that rely upon the company's standard, but may be opting out of protected Windows Media for its new Zune player. The latest word from the tech giant suggests that the device can import unprotected Windows Media and video, mentioning nothing of the protected format adopted by many of Microsoft's partners. A lack of support for stores such as Napster and URGE could signal a closer adoption of an Apple-like proprietary ecosystem with the Zune player and Marketplace, or a preference for protection-free stores such as eMusic, according to Electronista. Microsoft has yet to formally announce the format it will use for its online store.
Paltalk, which claims it "services the largest online video chat community on the internet [sic]," has decided to sue Microsoft over technology used in Xbox Live. The company alleges that Live violates two US patents: 5,822,523 and 6,226,686, which relate to "gaming communications through a group message server to maintain a consistent environment for all players, as well as establishing groups for online game play." The suit was filed in the US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. It has little chance of succeeding however, because Xbox Live is almost four years old, and Microsoft would likely settle out of court before giving up a significant source of revenue.
Microsoft's announcement yesterday of its Zune media player left out details such as the company's longer-term strategy for the Zune name. Microsoft is now addressing those unanswered questions, according to Electronista, as the new device will support the unprotected formats of the iPod. Zune will support H.264 and MPEG-4 video as well as AAC audio, alongside the expected MP3 and Windows Media formats. Despite the wide-aspect screen, however, video will remain limited to the same 320x240 resolution as Apple's iPod. Microsoft has also said that its current strategy is relatively limited, and that videos will not yet be available to buy at the Zune Marketplace. Despite this, the software giant has openly stated its intent to produce a Zune-branded music phone -- positioning its future handset in direct competition with the Apple music phone expected next year.
Samsung today unveiled the YP-T9B in Southeast Asia, a digital media player featuring Bluetooth wireless capability in an effort to rival Apple's iPod nano. First released to China, the new player is a variant of an earlier 4GB flash player that adds Bluetooth support -- something the iPod nano currently lacks. Users can connect to any Bluetooth headphones or speakers that fit the A2DP wireless audio profile, and the YP-T9B can use the wireless link to sync with a computer within range, according to Electronista. The new player also supports video playback on a 1.8-inch screen, and can play OGG audio files as well as MP3 and WMA formats. Samsung's YP-T9B boasts 30 hours of battery life when playing audio and 6 hours for video. Samsung neglected to mention when, if ever, the device will launch in the U.S.
As the owner of the Windows Media format, Microsoft has a vested interest in promoting online music and video stores that rely upon the company's standard. Its PlaysForSure program was designed to encourage a single standard for protected music across all Windows Media stores. New revelations, however, indicate that Microsoft may be opting out of protected Windows Media for its just announced Zune player. Microsoft's press release for the new music player only indicates that the device can import unprotected Windows Media and Video, observes a Harvard University blog by Derek Slater. The Zune Insider Blog, run by Microsoft marketer Cesar Menendez, similarly describes the Zune's Windows Media support only in terms of unprotected content. If true, the lack of support for stores such as Napster and URGE may signal either a closer adoption of an Apple-like proprietary ecosystem with the Zune player and Marketplace or a preference for protection-free stores such as eMusic. Microsoft has not formally announced the format it will use for its online store.
Sega has formally announced Seaman 2, a PS2 sequel to the incredibly bizarre Yoot Saito game for the Dreamcast. In the original, players were asked to feed and care for a sea creature with a human head; you were also expected to chat with the creature on the DC microphone. Seaman 2 will have the player in much the same situation, except that the creature is now a tiny hominid. 1UP notes that the microphone will be attached to a special controller available with the game. Voice talent is unannounced, but the English port of the first game starred Leonard Nimoy.
Apple's revamped video iPod may produce high margins for the company, according to a tear-down of the device performed by analyst Craig Berger of Wedbush Morgan Securities. The tear-down revealed potential gross margins between 45 and 50 percent on Apple's revamped iPod video, with consideration for continued hard drive price drops, according to AppleInsider. "Apple should see strong gross margins on these devices in the mid-40 percent range, per our [bill-of-material] cost estimates," said Berger. "Apple is not scaling the capacity of the iPods that fast, and with the hard drives used in the iPods getting cheaper as time goes on, Apple can lower the price point on its 30GB iPod while still maintaining gross margins."
There are many devices inherently limited by the need to use alkaline batteries: cameras rarely last longer than a few weeks of steady photography, and few portable speakers have enough continuous power to challenge home speakers. A new research breakthrough at Brown University may encourage us to rethink the possibilities of portable electronics, according to ZDNet. Experiments conducted by scientists using a polymer-tipped plastic film have resulted in a hybrid battery that can both recharge and supply power over a long time. The design was 100 times more powerful than an alkaline battery in testing, opening the possibility of electronics that last far longer on a single charge or can draw more power at once. Equally impressive is the thickness, which is no greater than an overhead projector sheet; researchers speculate that devices could have batteries as part of the shell rather than carving out valuable space inside. "You could wrap cell phones in it," says Dr. Tayhas Palmore. The technology could be refined and ready to use in a few years' time.
In the midsts of a famine, any scrap of food will do. American McGee has fed a few to Gamasutra, who had a chance to interview him about topics including his new game and outsourcing work to China. On the former topic, McGee confirms that "I can say we're going back into the fairy tale world, but this isn't going to be another 'dark,' Alice-like game. We're going to bring a lot of humor to this new world. I can say that it's based on the world of Grimm's fairy tales and that the game will be developed and released as episodic content." This would indicate that the tone has changed from what he said several weeks ago.
One Mac developer today released Tables 1.0, a new spreadsheet application for Mac OS X enabling users to organize and present data in a simple manner. The software supports calculations to add and multiply numbers, as well as the ability to process data using various functions. Supported column formats include numbers, dates, and currency. Tables also features extensive formatting options, and allows users to create invoices, lists or reports with support for photos as well as PDF documents. Tables 1.0 is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Apple vice president of design Jonathan Ive plays a critical role at the Cupertino-based company, forging new product designs with his close crew of about a dozen designers. Ive's list of achievements begins with a vertical fax machine that he never sold, followed by Apple's Newton MessagePad 110 in 1994, which was dubbed far ahead of its time. Ives helped Apple to recover from its long slump with the creation of the original iMac in 1998, according to BusinessWeek, and designed the elegant Apple Cinema Display which made its debut in 1999. The tiny G4 Cube followed shortly afterward, preceding the company's debut of its industry-leading iPod digital music player in 2001. Ives and his team went on to design the Titanium PowerBook in 2002, the "lamp" or "half-an-egg" iMac, the Mac mini, the new panel-style iMac, and even the iPod nano. Ive's is also responsible for designing the Apple remote, the 13.3-inch widescreen MacBook, and the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.
Nintendo of America's marketing VP, Perrin Kaplan, has supposedly erred in saying that the Wii will be region-free by default. A Nintendo UK spokesperson tells GamesIndustry that the Wii will in fact be "region-locked," meaning that games released in Japan (for instance) will probably not be playable on Wiis bought in Europe or the Americas. Conversely, it seems likely that PS3 games from the East will have no obstacles in North America.
Instead of targeting the whole spectrum of digital audio players, as Creative has done with its lineup, Samsung has held to the larger sphere of flash-based players. The company is one of the iPod nano's primary competitors, especially in southeast Asia where the Korean players enjoy much more success. That region is understandably the first to see Samsung's latest response to the nano, known as the YP-T9B. Released first to China, the new player is a variant on an earlier 4GB flash player that adds Bluetooth support. Users can connect to any Bluetooth headphones or speakers that fit the A2DP wireless audio profile; the YP-T9B can also use the wireless link to sync with a computer. Samsung also bests Apple through conventional means: the T9B can play video on a 1.8-inch screen and has OGG audio support to complement the common MP3 and WMA formats. Battery life also lasts for a long 30 hours of audio and 6 hours of video. North American launch details have not yet been announced. A full photo of the player is available after the jump.
In brief: The staff at Macitynet and iPodnet have selected their acclaimed best products shown at Apple expo in Paris among software, hardware, and accessories updated or announced in 2006.... Graphicxtras.com has released an update to the plug-in set 20 'Randomtouch' ($15), a set of four plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator.... Belkin today announced that its existing accessories -- such as the Tunetalk Stereo, TuneCOmmand AV, and TuneBase FM -- are compatible with Apple's new second-generation iPod nano.... MacSpeech today released a new ScriptPak for GarageBand 3, adding more than 100 commands to iListen that offer virtually the same functionality via voice command as provided by keyboard shortcuts and menus.... The latest EMUG meeting revealed that one of its own members, iDubai, will be racing in the Gulf Radical Cup series, and has offered to display EmiratesMac on his car.
The creator of Super Columbine Massacre, Danny Ledonne, has told a Canadian TV show that he feels no guilt for having made the game. The homebrew project was recently implicated in the shootings at Dawson College in Montreal. Speaking with Canoe Live, Ledonne said that what he really feels is "regret for a young man that had lost touch with reality and just seemed to really have no grasp on any kind of moral compass." Ledonne also felt a need to explain the game's concept once more. "Frankly I made my videogame because videogames have become one of (society's) scapegoats...I was a student in a Colorado high school at the time of (Columbine)...videogames were being blamed for the shooting when investigators said there were so many warning signs that needed to be addressed."
Apple's decision to aggressively price its 30GB video iPod at $249 likely took Microsoft by surprise, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. "We believe Microsoft is re-thinking its pricing strategy amid potential wider losses to stay competitive in the marketplace," Wu said. Microsoft yesterday officially unveiled its Zune player alongside an online store, announcing further details of the portable player's specifications and capabilities. "We remain underwhelmed with the much-hyped Zune, which is essentially a repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat, with limited differentiation vs. existing Windows Media devices," the analyst said. Wu suspects Zune will still see modest success due to Microsoft's vast resources and strong brand name, but at the expense of its Windows Media partners such as Sony, iRiver, and Toshiba. Microsoft also hinted that it is working on a Zune cell phone, following widespread rumors that Apple is placing the finishing touches on its own mobile handset.
Mophie has unveiled its Wraptor protective case for Apple's new iPod shuffle, designed to enhance the movement of Shuffle users on-the-go. The Wraptor is a sleek case designed to prevent "headphone dangle knots." The clear composite case encloses the Shuffle, and features grooves to wrap headphones around while maintaining access to Apple's built-in belt clip. Mophie's Wraptor is slated for shipment in October for $15.
Yesterday's announcement of the Zune media player was high profile, but left many details unknown, including the company's longer-term strategy for the Zune name. Many of these are now being addressed. The new device will support the unprotected formats of the iPod, says Microsoft's Cesar Menendez. H.264 and MPEG-4 video as well as AAC audio will be playable on the Zune alongside the expected MP3 and Windows Media formats. Despite the wide-aspect screen, however, video will still be limited to the same 320x240 resolution as Apple's iPod. Microsoft has also said that its current strategy is relatively limited, according to Reuters. Videos will not yet be available to buy at the Zune Marketplace and the initial Zune player resembles more conventional media players. Nevertheless, the software giant has openly stated its intent to produce a Zune-branded music phone - positioning its future handset in direct competition with the Apple music phone expected next year. Click through for more information about the Zune through official video demonstrations.
One Mac developer has released Yasu 2.0, updating the maintenance utility for Mac OS X 10.4. The update features a new icon, several new task options, a new "Finish" menu for improved control over tasks performed when Yasu completes all tasks, and administrator accounts that can store their password in the keychain. Yasu 2.0 also offers the option to quit other running applications while it performs tasks, includes the ability to securely delete internet-related files, and provides several other enhancements to make the application more stable and easier to use. Yasu is no longer freeware, costing $3.50 and requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later. An earlier version is also available for users running Mac OS X 10.2 or 10.3.
PC Magazine has reviewed Apple's new 8GB iPod nano, and honored the tiny player with its Editor's Choice award. Noting the new Nano's thickness, aluminum enclosure, brighter screen, search functionality, and extended battery life, the new Nano is still "trumped" on features when compared to the Sansa e200 -- which offers an FM tuner, a voice recorder, and video playback capability. Nevertheless, Apple's new 8GB Nano offers features unavailable with Sansa's e200, such as gapless playback and lossless compression. "It's a good bet that this will be Apple's most popular iPod yet, and with good reason." While the matte black finish "picks up tons of fingerprints," the new Nano feels smaller in-hand and features a slightly concave center select button. "The iPod's navigation system is still the best in the business," according to PC Magazine, and aside from the "Scrub problem" which can cause various glitches, the new Nano "is another solid digital audio player from Apple."
Even though the 360's Tony Hawk game will support up to eight players through Xbox Live, the PS3 version will have no online play whatsoever, says IGN UK. Neversoft has only received its developer kits in the past three weeks, and it still hasn't received all the software libraries it needs. As a result, Neversoft feels it would be a mistake to put in a multiplayer component it can't test. Compensation should (hopefully) come in the form of celebrity cameos or additional gameplay modes. The news backs up claims that Sony has been having a hard time producing enough devkits to satisfy the developers it so desperately needs to court.
MaxUpgrades today began shipping MaxSink, a heat sink designed to provide effective heat dissipation of fully buffered DIMM memory modules operating at 533MHz or 667MHz. MaxSink's design can effectively dissipate heat generated from memory chips and Advance Memory Buffer on fully buffered modules while keeping the temperature within operating limits, according to MaxUpgrades. The heat sink is precision machined aluminum, and features unique mounting for uniform pressure distribution. The company boasts the lowest thermal resistance between DRAM chips (BGA) and the heat sink for optimized heat transfer with thermal conductive interface pads. The heat sink is designed for fluctuating memory module temperature variations with a step design to incorporate thickness variation of AMB and FBGA memory chips, and features a surface that is treated to minimize thermal resistance. MaxSink is available for $40.
Micro Heaven today launched a new section on its website dedicated to accessories for Apple's new second-generation iPod nano, and began shipping the EzSkin Nano 2nd Gen from Ezgear as well as the X-clip StreetParty 2nd Generation from Gear4. The EzSkin Nano 2nd Gen protects the iPod with high quality silicone featuring a dust reducing coating. the case comes with an integrated belt clip, an ezShade Nano screen protector, and a neck strap. The Ezgear EzSkin Nano 2nd Gen case is available for £20, while the Gear4 X-clip StreetParty 2nd Generation is scheduled to ship in approximately five weeks for £30.
XM Satellite Radio subscribers who want portability have largely had their choice of player limited to the Pioneer Inno or Samsung Helix. A third device should soon be available, according to Orbitcast. Online retailer JJI Electronics posted but subsequently removed a pre-order page for the upcoming SkyFi3 from Delphi. The new handheld would mark the first handheld satellite radio in the company's SkyFi line, which has only had dedicated car and home radios so far. Though not a live radio when away from the included external receiver, the SkyFi 3's features will be relativly advanced compared to rivals from both Sirius and XM. A large 2.8-inch screen will give enough room to tune live content and see relevant track information; 10 hours of recording is also possible with built-in memory. There is also a unique microSD slot that can store up to 500 of the user's own songs on a 2GB card. Songs heard on the radio can be tagged for purchase later on Napster. According to JJI, the SkyFi3 should see an add-on kit for live portable radio and will ship in late October for $200.
What more can we say? If you missed out on Nintendo's US press event for the Wii, you can watch it in its entirety here.
JAMF Software has released Casper Suite 4.0, an update to the Casper client management suite. Casper Suite is currently the only Mac software that can push as well as pull updates, creating .PKG as well as .DMG packages, according to the company. The new release is designed to decrease liability and security risks by blacklisting unwanted applications, email notifications to alert administrators of unwanted changes on client computers, and automate software update delivery from one or more internal software update servers. Casper Suite 4.0 also enables smart computer groups based on various criteria, and manages local accounts as well as directory bindings through remote policy-based management. The latest iteration of Casper Suite requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, and adds pilot projects for extended evaluations at low cost as well as subscription-based pricing.
GPS mapping is not always about real-time locations. In many cases, users only need to plot an earlier path for security or even simply personal curiosity. The TrackStick GPS drive is designed precisely for these people who have no need for the expense that comes with a real-tme receiver. Although it has only 1MB of onboard storage, the TrackStick can mark its GPS position at regular intervals for several months before it fills up - making it possible to track a long vacation or product shipment through its entire route. An owner can then plug the drive into a USB port to export the results to formats such as Google Earth maps, web pages, or raw comma-separated values. In more advanced formats, the drive's updates can be converted to a visual route instead of simple data points. The manufacturer Telespial Systems asks users to e-mail them for retail information but says the TrackStick is available now.
Apple has released Bootcamp 1.1.1 beta, an update to its software that allows users of the Intel-based Macs to run Windows. Released earlier this year as a beta and expected as part of the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard system release next year, the software allows Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP (although support for Vista is expected when it is released). Version 1.1.1 adds support for Apple's recently Core 2 Duo-based Macs, including the new 24-inch iMac. It also improves support for Apple keyboards and wireless connectivity on Mac minis, according to the company. The update is 186MB. Apple notes that "If you previously installed Boot Camp beta, you can easily update to Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta. You don't need to partition your hard drive again (unless you want to change its size) or reinstall your Macintosh and Windows software or documents, but it's very important to update the Boot Camp Assistant software, create a new Macintosh Drivers for Windows CD and install the updated software it contains on Windows XP." [updated]
Using the simple headline "No Internal HD DVD Plans," Xbox community manager Tony Hynes has (through Gamerscore) denied any truth to stories that Microsoft is planning a 360 with an internal HD-DVD drive. Taiwanese Website DigiTimes had been reporting that Microsoft is searching for partners and certification in Taiwan. That may still be the case, thankfully, since the hypothetical revision to the console would be out by mid-2007 at the earliest. It's doubtful that a community manager would know everything the company might be planning.
Ken Winograd and Space-Time Associates announced today the release of a new version of their Mac accounting and bookkeeping program called TinyBooks 4.0. The simple, flexible, non-bloated, single-entry bookkeeping and accounting system is designed for Sole Proprietors, home and other small businesses, and family finances. It offers current and year-to-date "on-the-fly" totals, fully automatic bar-charting of all expense and income accounts, a non-modal Reports Window for easy standard and custom reporting and searching, easy export of all transactions, support for non-fiscal years and recurring expenses, and more. TinyBooks includes a Professional Invoice Printer for quickly creating invoices on plain white paper and intuitive support for handling virtually any kind of taxes from any country, including State Sales Taxes, GST (Goods and Service Taxes), PST (Provincial Sales Taxes), VAT (Value Added Taxes) and more. A single-user license is $50.
MacMice today began shipping Danger Mouse BLK, the new matte black version of its flagship USB laser mouse. The black Danger Mouse has a matte black outer shell with two button, scroll button, and scroll wheel functions. The new device features a 1,600dpi laser pickup mechanism for tracking on difficult surfaces. The black Danger Mouse also features a notchless "MicroScroll" mini scroll wheel, providing users with an enhanced sense of precision, according to MacMice. The mouse includes a five-foot black USB cable, and is compatible with the standard mouse drivers included in either Mac OS X or Win XP systems. The Danger Mouse BLK is available for $30.
Seagate today announced during a keynote presentation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the hard drive that 1.8-inch hard drives -- such as those found in the iPod and similar players -- should reach 275GB of storage by 2009. The massive storage increase is possible simply by scaling existing techniques, according to Dr. Mark Kryder of Seagate. Additionally, 2.5-inch laptop hard drives will likely triple in capacity to 500GB, while desktop-sized drives should reach a 2.5TB upper limit. The rapid advancement of storage is crucial as games, music, and HD video consume ever larger amounts of data, according to Electronista.
The introduction of perpendicular bit storage removed a previously insurmountable limit to the maximum capacity of hard drives, as evidenced by Hitachi's near-doubling of last year's ceiling through a 1TB desktop hard drive expected late this year. As part of a keynote presentation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the hard drive, Seagate today outlined a future for its hard drives that would see storage blossom dramatically by 2009. 1.8-inch hard drives - such as those found in the iPod and similar players - should reach 275GB of storage that year simply by scaling existing techniques, said presenter Dr. Mark Kryder. Additionally, 2.5-inch laptop hard drives should triple in capacity to 500GB and desktop-sized drives should reach 2.5TB. The rapid advancement of storage is crucial as games, music, and HD video consume ever larger amounts of data.
FriendTech has begun shipping the iDea Wireless Home Dock, a device designed to stream content directly from an audio player via Wi-Fi without the need for a computer. The base station features an iPod-specific dock as well as a more generalized cradle for the PSP, music phones, or other digital audio players. Either device can send audio through an RF-based transmitter to compatible receivers, such as the company's own HD-Audio adapter, according to Electronista. Connected directly, the docking station can also broadcast 5.1 surround sound from supporting devices or iPod photos and videos through the built-in RCA and S-video outputs. FriendTech is already shipping the Home Dock with a remote for $150, with individual receivers available for $50.
Nintendo's PR campaign continues in London, where the company has been holding a press event similar to the ones in Tokyo and New York City. Far less of the information is new, but there are important facts emerging. The European launch date is December (not March!) 8th, and the system will cost 249 Euros, or 179 British pounds. The box contents should be the same, including Wii Sports. Games will cost between 49 to 59 Euros or 34 to 39 pounds. Eurogamer also mentions that WarioWare Smooth Moves, the Wii sequel to the eminently popular WarioWare Touched for the DS, should arrive shortly after the console's launch. UPDATE: Nintendo says that an extra Wiimote will be 39 Euros (29 pounds), a nunchuck 19 Euros (14 pounds), and the classic controller another 19 Euros (14 pounds). UPDATE 2: The Wii is coming to Australia on December 7th for $399.95 AUD.
Announced previously, video cards based on the GeForce 7950 GT are now reaching the market in force. Many are identical to NVIDIA's reference design; a particularly notable model, however, is the XFX GeForce 7950 GT Extreme. It ships at a factory-default 570MHz core clock speed and 1.5GHz for memory, offering that extra amount of performance for gaming. XFX has also opted to cool the entire design through the passive cooling of a heatpipe, effectively silencing the video card altogether. The new GeForce card is also comparatively future-proof with two dual-link DVI ports each capable of driving a 30-inch Cinema Display as well as HDCP decryption support for playing back copy-protected HD video. Regular pricing for the Extreme card reflects its extra features at $330. XFX is shipping the new model today.
The president of Nintendo of America tells Next-Gen that instead of being a loss leader, as with most console units, each Wii sold will turn a profit for Nintendo. Sony and Microsoft take (or will take) hits with the sale of each 360 or PS3; the profit is meant to be earned on games or accessories. Says Fils-Aime, "We will make a profit on the entire Wii proposition out of the box - hardware and software. That really is a very different philosophy versus our competitors. We are a company that competes only in the interactive entertainment space so we have to make a profit on every thing we do."
Wireless streaming audio is typically very dependent upon a computer to function. Those who would rather stream content directly from an audio player can now choose the iDea Wireless Home Dock announced recently by FriendTech. The base station has an iPod-specific dock as well as a more generalized cradle for the PSP, music phones, or other digital audio players. Either device can send high-quality audio through an RF-based transmitter to compatible receivers such as the company's own HD-Audio adapter. Connected directly, the docking station can also broadcast 5.1 surround sound from supporting devices or iPod photos and videos through the built-in RCA and S-video outputs. The company is currently shipping the Home Dock with a remote for $150; individual receivers are also available for $50.
Publisher Majesco has joined the ranks of companies putting their software on Valve's Steam network. The first games available are Advent Rising, BloodRayne, and BloodRayne 2. The costs of Advent and BloodRayne 2 are set at $19.95 US each, while the original BloodRayne is discounted at $9.95. 1UP reports that Double Fine's Psychonauts will be coming to Steam in early October, though the price has yet to be solidified. It will probably be no more than $20.
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Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN