Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Vista, which is scheduled to ship to the masses in late January, may actually help rather than hinder Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' -- which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2007 -- according to one report. "We believe that the fact that Vista is designed to be much like Apple's OS X will, in the consumers mind, make the transition from using XP to Vista very comparable to making the transition from XP to Tiger," MarketWatch wrote in a recent report. "We believe this could provide ample opportunity for Apple to gain greater market share with consumers. With Apple's next-generation operating system, Leopard, due in April 2007, we believe Apple will continue to stay more than a step in front of Microsoft."
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published numerous patents from Apple regarding various technologies, which range from 'storing a movie within a movie' to the utilization of podcasts on portable media devices. The patents include an 'Apparatus and method for storing a movie within a movie,' which relates to a hierarchical movie structure, and more specifically, to a structure for embedding a movie within another movie; 'Virtualization of graphics resources' relating specifically to virtualizing resources for computer graphics; 'Method of managing a calendar and a computer system for implementing that method;' 'User interface for accessing presentations' which relates to access or retrieval for page document and search result presentations; and 'Acquisition, management and synchronization of podcasts' as well as 'Techniques and systems for supporting podcasting' and 'Utilization of podcasts on portable media devices,' all of which relate to acquiring and playing podcasts on a portable media device.
In brief: Apple mistakenly enabled 'TV show,' 'music video,' and 'movie' categories that appeared in the 'podcast' sub-menu of 14 international iTunes Music Stores which do not sell the listed items, according to one report.... iPod Xtras is offering various products at discounted rates throughout 'black Friday,' with certain items going on sale as others are removed throughout the day.... A recent surge in email spam touting penny stocks and penis enlargement pills was linked to a Russian tech gang controlling a botnet powered by tens of thousands of hijacked computers.... Macgamestore.com has announced a 5-percent-off coupon usable throughout the store this Thanksgiving weekend to purchase any game at 5 percent off.... iDevGames is inviting developers to put their skills to the test by creating unique 3D games within 30 days.... Google sites were revealed as the most visited UK sites in the month of October, edging out Microsoft for the first time, according to ComScore.
Consumer Reports readers have ranked Apple no. 1 for consumer satisfaction in two of three categories including the best place to buy directly from the manufacturer and best walk-in store. "Apple definitely is doing something right," said Greg Daugherty, a Consumer Reports editor. "The highest-rated one of all, in terms of satisfaction, was buying online from Apple. Its retail store also was at the top of the retail category and not far down from the web site in terms of satisfaction." Survey respondents cited both selection and service as reasons for the Cupertino-based company seizing the top spot, as well as the fact that Apple employees are known for being well-informed and helpful, according to TechWeb.com. "People are willing to pay a little extra for that," Daugherty added.
Japanese manufacturer Elecom today announced the ASP-P200S, an iPod stereo dock with 2.1 channels. The P200S features a subwoofer, which can be rotated vertically over the docking port to make the product easier to store and carry. Three adapters are included to support all fourth- and fifth-generation iPods, including Minis and Nanos. The device can be recharged during playback; it also ships with an AC adapter and a stereo output cord for headphones or other external speakers. The satellite speakers are rated at 3W each while the subwoofer can reach 6W. The P200S will be available in Japan in mid-December--in either white or black finishes--for 8,820 yen ($76) with tax.
French cellphone maker Sagem today unveiled a special variant of its my400v handset targeted at surfers. The company has partnered with surfing gear producers Oxbow to customize both the look and content of the phone. Similar to the Miami Ink RAZR, the new Sagem device features tattoo-like outer shell art; however, it also comes preloaded with surfing-related software, according to cellular provider Vodafone. Subscribers with the Oxbow-tailored phone can more easily keep track of weather, find beachside accommodations, and download Oxbow media. Technical features remain unchanged and are distinguished by a VGA camera. The phone will initially be limited to Vodafone's French affiliate SFR but is likely to make an appearance in the near future for the UK and other European countries where Vodafone operates.
The UK's Office of Communications, also known as Ofcom, will soon lift a ban on portable FM audio transmitters used for wirelessly sending music from a music player (e.g., Griffin's iTrip), according to Electronista. While these devices were given preliminary legalization with the 2003 Wireless Telegraphy Exemption Regulations Act, Ofcom has only recently finished consultations with concerned parties that would assuage early fears about signal interference. FM transmitters and similar equipment were effectively blocked by the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act, which gives licensed UK broadcasters unrestricted access to assigned frequencies and thus bans any electronics which override those broadcasts over even a short distance. The ban will be officially lifted on December 8th, Ofcom says, but transmitters will still require Europe's CE health and safety certifications before they can be sold in the country.
Nike today launched the C.O.R.E. Backpack ID, a customizable bag made for students and other frequent travelers that extends the range of iPod-supporting equipment beyond the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. A pocket in the strap connects to any dockable iPod, integrating the Apple player with basic track navigation and volume controls on the strap itself. Electronista notes that the backpack provides an additional pouch for earbuds, a padded laptop division in the main bag, and a front organizer pocket. Users can personalize the bag with custom color choices, a 'Nike Flow Backpanel' to improve cooling, and security zippers. The bags are priced from $105 when customized with iPod controls, and varies with personalization options.
New independent research conducted in the UK by Marketing Assistance examining the entire online shopping experience has placed Apple just behind Amazon and Dell in the top 10. Further examination of the UK's leading nonĖfood online retailers revealed that even the best online retailers could deliver a much better shopping experience, according to Blast Radius. The research analyzed the top 28 UK online retailers selected by traffic volume, and graded performance in the run up to Christmas of 2006. Researchers purchased a single item from each of the sites, then sought to return the product once it was received. Researchers graded experiences against a set of 36 subjective and objective criteria through each step of the process.
FRWD has just launched its W Series GPS wristwatch. Described as an outdoor sports computer, the new timepiece pairs wirelessly with an accompanying GPS receiver to provide a complex array of information to runners and other athletes in real-time, FRWD says. Beyond distance, speed, and location, the W Series also monitors altitude, heart rate, and pitch. This information can be relayed either to a Bluetooth-capable cellphone or a PC; the latter can not only display pre-recorded routes in Google Earth but even show the results of as many as five separate runs in a special race mode. The watch itself has settings to help athletes set goals as well as to focus only on heart rate for indoor exercise. FRWD sells a basic W100 model with receiver, USB adapter, and watch for 299 Euros ($391). An upgraded W600 adds a charger, a heart rate belt, and enhanced software for 399 Euros ($522).
Students with learning disabilities at Louisa-Muscatine Elementary School are using iPods as learning tools this semester, which school principal Scott Grimes says is improving worksheet and quiz scores. "It literally came out of an 'Aha!' type moment that this could happen now," Grimes said. Louisa-Muscatine officials chose to apply the technological approach this year with special education students such as fourth-grader Samantha Garcia, who experimented with an iPod to take a test, according to DesMoinesRegister.com. Samantha said it would be "cool" to use the iPod in class, and reported completing her test more quickly than usual. The iPod allows students to remain in the classroom to take tests, which is more comfortable for them, according to principal Grimes.
The UK is lifting a ban on portable FM transmitters such as the Griffin iTrip, writes The Register. They were blocked under the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act, which gives licensed broadcasters unrestricted access to their assigned frequencies. Units like the iTrip function by overriding FM frequencies within a small range. The path to making such devices legal was begun with the 2003 Wireless Telegraphy Exemption Regulations Act, but Ofcom, the UK's wireless regulator, has only recently finished consultations with concerned parties. The ban will be lifted on December 8th. Transmitters will still require CE certification for health and safety.
Nike today extended its range of iPod-supporting equipment beyond the Nike+iPod running kit by offering the C.O.R.E. Backpack ID, a customizable bag made for students and other frequent travelers who often bring music in tow. A pocket in the strap connects to any dockable iPod, integrating the Apple music player with basic track navigation and volume controls on the strap itself, letting owners change music without removing the iPod from a safe location. The backpack provides an additional pouch for earbuds, a padded laptop division in the main bag, and a front organizer to keep smaller items separate. Pricing begins at $105 for the bag when customized with iPod controls and varies depending on personalization options.
Trekstor today launched the Vibez, its mini music jukebox that stands to compete with Apple's iPod digital music players. The device is the first to use a 12GB one-inch hard drive which stores as many as 250 albums, the company claims, and is the first third-party player to use an enhanced version of the Rio interface (Sonic Blue), which sold its code to SigmaTel in 2005. Trekstor praises the programming which gives the new player support for many formats that many newly released players lack, including OGG and the lossless FLAC standard that are playable alongside newer MP3 and WMA files. According to Electronista, the updated Rio software also allows for crossfading between tracks and viewing JPEG photos sorted by EXIF data. With an estimated battery life of 20 hours, the new player offers line-in as well as microphone recording. The Vibez is supplied with Sennheiser headphones, a line-in cable, and a neck strap. The player is compatible with Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows systems with 8GB ($170) and 12GB ($200) editions.
Apple has hired research firm Advanis to conduct a survey that may help determine the existence of the hotly debated iPod 'halo effect,' a term defining Windows users who purchase Mac computers following exposure to the company's iPod digital media player. The survey asks various questions about future PC purchase intentions, according to ITWire, prompting whether participants use iTunes on a Mac or a Windows system. Further questions inquire as to whether users have purchased a new computer since since shopping on iTunes, and whether they plan to purchase a new computer within the next year. The online survey of existing iTunes Music Store users also asks expected questions about music consumption, iTunes client experience, preferred music genre, and digital music player preference.
Samsung's mobile division has just launched what it says is only the second mobile TV phone to ever reach Italy. A more advanced counterpart to the P920 released in the country this spring, the P930 adds support for HSDPA broadband and sports a dual TV tuner capable of picture-in-picture for watching two digital broadcasts at once. Video capture is a similarly high priority, as the handset ships with both a rear-facing 2-megapixel camera for stills as well as a lesser VGA camera for video calls. The P930 is set to debut with Telecom Italia by the end of this month; though it supports only Europe's DVB-H format, the company says it has committed to mobile TV in the US and will introduce phones similar to the P930 when American carriers begin adopting mobile TV next year.
Sirius' new Starmate Replay Boom Cube is a cheaper alternative to products like the Stiletto 100, simply merging a satellite radio receiver with a set of portable speakers. The STB2 has four microdrivers and a subwoofer, and should in theory work anywhere within satellite range. The antenna can be stored inside the stereo for the sake of convenience. Power comes from eight D-size batteries, or else the included AC adapter. Sirius is currently selling the STB2 for $100 from its website.
Brando Workshop today launched the iTransmitter, a device that broadcasts audio from an iPod on variable FM frequencies to a car stereo. The gadget connects to an iPod via the dock connector, drawing power from the player to negate the need for external batteries. The unit features three buttons for access to preset frequencies as well as a backlit display, and charges the iPod by using a supplied car charger. Further features include full access to the FM spectrum (88.1MHz to 107.90MHz), Stereo output, and three one-touch buttons for pre-set frequencies. The iTransmitter is shipping for $30, and is available in black as well as white.
West-Forest-Systems today released CDFinder 4.7, an update to its media cataloging software for Mac systems. The latest release offers improved cover prints with templates, adds a new 'quick find' feature, enhances the user interface, and includes faster cataloging capability. CDFinder is designed to help users organize and track digital media assets by cataloging photos, audio files, and other data files. CDFinder 4.7 can import existing Disk Recall, DiskWizard, FindIt, Disk Tracker, Catalogue, and CatFinder catalog files. The business version of the software offers networking support to share archived files with other systems. CDFinder 4.7 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is priced at $30.
Elecom's ASP-P200S iPod dock is a 2.1 sound system, with the subwoofer placed on a vertical hinge so the dock can be more easily carried. The remote tucks into a crevice for the same reason. Using a set of three adapters, the P200S supports all fourth- and fifth-gen iPods, including Minis and Nanos. Players can be charged at the same time they're in use. The subwoofer produces 6W of sound while the satellites produce 3W apiece. The dock comes with an AC adapter and a stereo output cord, and will go on sale in Japan in mid-December. Black or white versions will be available for 8,820 yen ($76) with tax.
Cellphone carrier Alltel on Friday revealed that it has begun carrying the RAZR V3m, the music-oriented and increasingly pervasive version of Motorola's popular handset. While the phone is functionally similar to earlier models, Alltel notes that its variant supports the most advanced features of its network, such as the company's EVDO-based Axcess Broadband and video messaging. The provider plans to offer both a red-colored model -- though one unrelated to the (PRODUCT) Red charity -- as well as a more conventional silver. Both versions are priced very aggressively, Alltel says. In a rare move, the carrier offers two of the silver handsets for $80 when linked to two-year contracts on both devices. Subscribers buying the more exotic red V3m can obtain a similar deal for $100.
Native Instruments today released KORE 1.1, an update to its Universal Sound Platform. The new version brings a wide range of functional enhancements, including support for the new SingleSound format, optimized integration with recently released NI software instruments, pre-listen functionality, an additional selection of inspiring KoreSounds, and the ability for the KORE software to operate without the hardware controller attached. The SingleSound format complements the existing MultiSound format in KORE, and optimizes handling of patches that only utilize a single instrument or effect. The format allows for sound categorization and attributes, and is also used by Massive, Absynth 4, Battery 3 and FM8, maximizing integration and compatibility between KORE and individual instruments.
Westshore Craftworks has debuted its new GS iPod stands, which are modeled after guitar stands with a tether that loops around the top of the digital player. GS stands feature a lacquered hardwood base with a steel wire bracket that facilitates all full-size iPods with or without a case. iPods are positioned to accommodate a standard sync cable, making the stand a quasi-dock to charge and play music as the portable media player sits upright. The company is offering four different styles of stands with two round bases in glossy white, glossy black, glossy 'sunburst,' and glossy black 'grand piano' lacquer. Westshore Craftworks' GS iPod stands are priced from $35-40, and work with all full-size iPod models.
The first information about HTC's upcoming Cavalier smartphone has been revealed, according to information and photos obtained by Italian site SoloPalmari. The Cavalier is widely expected to serve as a replacement for the just-released Dash and should offer a significant overall improvement over the earlier model: processor speed has been doubled, with the 200MHz OMAP core now replaced by a much faster 400MHz Samsung unit. Internet access speed has also been increased with the addition of support for the often faster HSDPA and UMTS wireless standards to complement the existing choices of GPRS and EDGE. Similarly, the camera has been upgraded from 1.3 to 2 megapixels, while battery capacity has increased slightly to 1050 mAh. Other elements, such as built-in WiFi and the distinctive touchstrip for scrolling, have carried over from the Dash. The phone will see its earliest release in spring of 2007, but is likely to arrive in North America through either Cingular or T-Mobile. Click through for a full-sized photo.
Sony has announced the discovery of a defect in several models of its Cyber-shot line of cameras. Sold between September 2003 and January 2005, the affected models include the DSC-F88, DSC-M1, DSC-T1, DSC-T11, DSC-T3, DSC-T33, DSC-U40 and DSC-U50. The problem involves sensitivity to heat and humidity, which can cause the cameras to stop displaying LCD images, or to cease taking photos entirely. Sony is offering free repairs to anyone suffering from the defect. Reuters notes though that while over one million cameras were produced in the specified time period, Sony only anticipates a rough number of 4,000 needing to be fixed. Neither will this affect its earnings, the company says.
Trekstor today officially launched the Vibez, its long-anticipated mini music jukebox. The player is the first to use a 12GB one-inch hard drive and stores as many as 250 albums, the company claims. Software is also a cornerstone of the design, as the Vibez is the first third-party player to use an enhanced version of the interface and software inherited from Rio, which sold its code to SigmaTel in 2005. The programming gives the new player support for useful formats that even newer players ignore, according to Trekstor: OGG and the lossless FLAC standard can be played alongside newer MP3 and WMA files. The updated Rio software also allows for crossfading between tracks and viewing JPEG photos sorted by EXIF data. Trekstor estimates the battery life at 20 hours and offers line-in as well as microphone recording. The Vibez is compatible with Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows PCs and is already shipping from J&R in 8GB ($170) and 12GB ($200) editions.
Security researchers have published an exploit that targets an unpatched kernel vulnerability in Mac OS X which could allow malware developers to take advantage of how Apple's Safari Web browser downloads online image files, and could lead to arbitrary code execution. The new exploit was revealed as part of the "Month of Kernel Bugs," according to eWeek.com, and details the steps necessary for attackers to take advantage of the vulnerability. "Mac OS X fails to properly handle corrupted image structures, leading to an exploitable denial of service condition," wrote the security researcher who discovered the flaw. "Although it hasn't been checked further, memory corruption is present under certain conditions." Security researchers at Secunia rated the exploit as "highly critical," which is the company's second most severe threat ranking, saying that local users could exploit the bug to gain escalated privileges or utilized by malware writers to compromise a vulnerable system. The vulnerability is caused by an error in the Mac OS X AppleDiskImageController, which surfaces when the system handles corrupted image files, according to the report.
Fabrix Cases today unveiled its Fabrix Delux laptop case. The new case is cushioned with quilted internal padding to provide protection against scratches, light bumps, and knocks. Each case is hand-sewn to precise dimensions to fig snugly around Apple's MacBook or MacBook Pro, according to Fabrix. The Fabrix Delux laptop case features a full frontal flap with a Velcro strip to fasten the laptop within the case, a horizontal pocket at the rear of the case to stow iPods or other small devices, and a hidden compartment to store an Apple Remote. The new case is priced at $45, and custom size options are available for non-MacBook owners.
Next Limit Technologies has released Maxwell Render -- its light simulator software -- and RealFlow4 -- its fluid and dynamics simulator -- for Mac. Maxwell Render is designed as an unbiased rendering engine based on the physics of real light, and runs natively on both PowerPC systems as well as Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. RealFlow4 also runs natively on both of Apple's platforms as a Universal Binary. The company also announced that Apple is promoting its products on the company's website. Maxwell Render is priced at $1,000 for a downloadable version, while RealFlow4 is available for $2,700. Both applications are available as a bundle for $3,300 (system requirements were unavailable).
RTX on Thursday said it had released the DUALphone 3088. The Skype phone is the first such device to ship that doesn't require a host computer to work, according to the company. Its use of DECT allows it to be setup with a Skype account as long as its included base station is connected through Ethernet to a modem or router; the cordless handset can in turn send and receive phone calls to any real-world phone number or Skype user. Support exists for virtually every voice-related function, RTX claims. Conference calls, contact lists, and voicemail boxes function as they do on a PC. RTX will make its DUALphone available on December 1st across Europe for 159 Euros ($206) after tax. A North American release is possible but remains unconfirmed.
Sprint today started shipping the Samsung M610, a clamshell phone the company says is the thinnest such phone ever to be released in the US at 0.47 inches. Despite this size, the phone is comparatively advanced for its mid-range status, according to the carrier. The M610 has a central, 2-megapixel camera that can swivel to either face outwards for conventional photos or inwards for self-portraits. Sprint further says the phone supports all the company's Power Vision services, including EVDO Internet access as well as mobile TV. Bluetooth and a microSD card slot for additional storage complement the design. The phone is available today from Sprint for $330 as a stand-alone purchase and for $180 with a two-year contract.
JAYS said late yesterday that it has unveiled two new audio accessories to help owners of Sony-Ericsson's Walkman phone better enjoy their music without sacrificing quality. The m-JAYS music adapter (pictured, right) is designed to let any standard 3.5mm earbud or headphone set plug into the proprietary connectors of most Sony-Ericsson music-capable cellphones while retaining the ability to place calls. Using an answer button, a microphone built into the adapter can handle outbound voice without demanding that users lift the cellphone to their head, the company says. Accordingly, JAYS has also revealed the j-JAYS (left), a set of in-canal earbuds meant to properly enhance the sound from cellphones using the m-JAYS adapter as well as any other portable music player. The earpieces have an exceptionally strong level of bass but use 9mm drivers that maintain the quality of high- and mid-range frequencies, according to the company's claims. Both the j-JAYS and m-JAYS will be available in black or white; the former is expected to ship in December for $49, while the latter will follow in January for $29. Versions of the m-JAYS for other phone manufacturers will follow soon afterwards.
Faronics has announced the release of Deep Freeze Mac 3.2, its software solution that instantly protects and preserves original computer configurations, eliminating routine maintenance, while allowing complete unrestricted access to the computer. This new version adds the ability to pre-designate up to four Thawed partitions with the Deep Freeze Assistant, tag user ThawSpaces with the user's icon, visual notification when ThawSpace is being created, enhanced Check for Updates feature, and the ability to Check for Updates from within ARD (Apple Remote Desktop). The company guarantees 100 percent workstation recovery on restart, provides password protection and complete security, and protects multiple hard drives and partitions.
Antares Audio Technologies has released new Universal versions of Auto-Tune 5, its professional pitch correction application and AVOX (the Antares Vocal Toolkit), which offers five state-of-the-art vocal processing modules to create vocal effects for audio post-production applications. Released earlier this month, Auto-Tune corrects intonation problems in vocals or solo instruments, in real time, without distortion or artifacts, while preserving all of the expressive nuance of the original performance; version 5 adds better pitch detection, a sleek new user interface, and a host of new features and productivity enhancements, including compatibility with pen tablet input, realtime graphical vibrato depth adjustment, multiple simultaneous Graphical Mode instances, realtime pitch tracking display, and more; it is available as TDM ($650; $170 upgrade) or as RTAS, VST and Audio Units ($400; $100 upgrade) for Mac OS X.
XtremeMac today debuted its Luna alarm clock and audio system for iPod. Offering an on-screen menu system, Luna allows users to sleep and wake to an iPod or the radio, and also serves as a complete speaker system for home or office. Luna's menu system provides user-friendly control over all of the alarm and audio functions using four large, multi-function knobs located on the top of the unit. The four simple controls eliminate the complexity of the myriad buttons typically found on an alarm clock, according to the company. In addition, the unit can be controlled by the included wireless remote which features advanced audio and alarm functions. Luna features two independent alarms that offer customized source (iPod, radio or buzzer), volume, dimmer, and snooze time options. Users can also select gradually increasing and decreasing volume for the alarms and sleep timer.
Iridient Digital has released RAW Developer 1.6, an update to its critically acclaimed RAW image conversion software for Mac OS X. The update brings numerous performance improvements throughout the application including much faster initial file loading and support for image preview caching. In addition, three new noise reduction filters have been added for better handling of images shot at higher ISO settings or from cameras with high levels of noise. The new update also allows users to store camera default settings on a per ISO basis so completely customized adjustments can easily be setup to handle images shot at different ISO settings. This release adds support for 9 new camera models including the Leica M8, D-LUX3, Digilux 3, V-Lux1, Panasonic DMC-LX2, DMC-FZ50, DMC-L1, Fuji S6000fd/S6500fd, S9100/S9600 and Kodak P712. RAW Developer 1.6 is a free update for all currently registered users. New licenses are $100. RAW Developer requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and PowerPC G4/G5- or Intel-based Mac
Native Instruments has released Reaktor 5.1.2, an update to its modular sound design studio. The new version brings Universal Binary support, allowing users of Intel-based Macintosh computers to run their application natively for maximum performance. Version 5.1.2 also features improved integration with Native Instruments' universal sound platform KORE, resulting in faster loading of KORE sounds based on Reaktor instruments and effects. In addition, the company has released a demo version of Battery 3, a significant revision of Native Instruments' industry standard drum and percussion sampler. The demo version is based on the latest 3.0.1 version of Battery, which brings several enhancements and optimizations, and is now available as an update for registered users of Battery 3.
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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