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Forums January 10
Forums roundup: Members are giving a mixed response to Apple's iPhone, questioning the use of Cingular and lack of expandability..... Much like the iPhone, the AppleTV is receiving criticism, in this case for the 'limited' 720p resolution.... One user is questioning whether or not OS X is truly superior to Vista, stating that Vista is more forward looking.... Other members are also expressing displeasure, this time with the lack of Mac products at MacWorld, as most of the keynote was dedicated to the iPhone.... Meanwhile, one member is looking for options to fix their MacBook Pro after it was dropped on pavement.
CNBC interviews Jobs
In brief: CNBC interviewed Apple CEO Steve Jobs shortly after his keynote speech to talk about the iPhone and Apple's bold move into the cellular handset market, and touched briefly on the stock options scandal which has repeatedly cast doubt upon the vision of company shareholders since its discovery.... MacNN has blogged about Macworld, highlighting some of the events that have taken place thus far.... Other World Computing today announced from the floor of Macworld 2007 that it has sold more than half a million OWC-branded memory modules.... Newer Technology today announced that it will provide a fully licensed version of Prosoft Data Backup II for Mac OS X with all models of its miniStack V2 and miniStack USB 2.0 external hard drive storage enclosures.... Aquafadas Software today announced that single-user licenses of its PulpMotion software are on sale for $20 -- down from $25 -- until January 14th.... MacSpeech has released a new ScriptPak for PhoneValet Message Center 5.0 from Parliant, adding nearly 100 commands to iListen that allow users to do virtually anything in PhoneValet possible from using Mac keyboard shortcuts or menus.
Cisco sues Apple on iPhone
Cisco on Wednesday sued Apple, claiming that the company doesn't have permission to name its forthcoming device the iPhone, which debuted at Macworld Expo. The two companies were reportedly negotiating a deal for the iPhone trademark, which is currently used by Cisco's consumer wireless division for its line of VOIP-based wireless phones. Although the deal was not final when the iPhone was announced, Cisco said it anticipated that Apple would sign off on the (undisclosed) terms on Tuesday. MarketWatch reports Cisco has owned the trademark for "iPhone" since 2000, the result of its purchase of InfoGear, which owned the trademark previously. According to the report, Cisco on Wednesday asked a U.S. District Court judge for Northern California to order Apple not to use the name for a device that it introduced on Tuesday during the annual Macworld Expo.
Cisco Sues Apple
Cisco tonight said that it will sue Apple after an apparent failure to resolve a trademark dispute over the iPhone name, according to the BBC. The two electronics firms, which were initially thought to have been close to a settlement that would let both use the name for their voice handsets, did not reach an agreement originally expected by Tuesday evening. No explanation was provided for the alleged stall in negotiations, though Cisco implied in a statement that a breach of trust had taken place.
"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith," said the company's general counsel and senior VP Mark Chandler.
UPDATE: Apple on Thursday morning disputed the claim, arguing that Cisco's claim is "tenuous at best," according to spokeswoman Natalie Kerris. "There are already several companies using the iPhone name for VoIP products," she said. The statement indicates a likely prolonged court battle between the two rivals.
iPhone details surface
Additional details have surfaced on Apple's iPhone, which the company's CEO Steve Jobs debuted during his keynote speech at Macworld in San Francisco yesterday morning. The iPhone's operating system is a closed non-standard version of Mac OS X, featuring a custom user-interface layer to operate the device. No plans yet exist to provide iTunes Music Store access to the phone, but a Cingular representative revealed that Apple is likely working toward releasing other iPhones in the future. "Think in terms of Nano vs. Video vs. Shuffle. It will happen," the Cingular rep said. The device currently 'side-loads' music via a USB cable, but Apple hasn't ruled out the possibility of syncing wirelessly in the future. The new device also features auto type-correction which considers adjacent keys when users accidentally hit the wrong 'keys' as displayed on the touchscreen, correcting the typo automatically.
G-Tech Bluetooth bags
Launching later this month is the G-Tech Bluetooth Messenger Bag, which lets users control an iPod or cellphone without removing it from its compartment. Like the company's existing iPod Backpack, smart fabric located in the strap takes the place of conventional buttons. Speakers are also built in, connecting to a device through a 3.5mm input jack. The Bluetooth bag is of course wireless, and has extra controls, namely for muting music to take a call. A third-party receiver/transmitter is needed to control iPods. The price of the Messenger has not been finalized, but it should be comparable to that of the Techno and Psycho backpacks, which range between $80-100.
802.11n Macs shipping
Apple has revealed that most of its recently shipping Core 2 Duo-based Macs already are compatible with the 802.11n standard that is included in Apple's new Apple TV and new AirPort Extreme Base Station. Apple says all Intel-based iMacs with Intel Core 2 Duo (except 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac) are compatible as well as MacBook and MacBook Pro's with the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The company also said that the Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card option is compatible with the new faster and more reliable networking standard. "Most new Mac computers ship with built-in 802.11n wireless support that can be easily enabled with the installation of enabler software included with new AirPort Extreme wireless base station." News of Apple's new, faster networking broke one day ahead of the keynote when Electronista reported Apple would likely debut 802.11n-based products at the keynote and during the Expo.
AMD's new DTX standard
AMD has devised a new form factor called DTX, a rival to the current ATX standard invented by Intel. The requirements of DTX are described as being fairly open, specifying mainly where the motherboard will mount, and which areas are off-limits. DTX motherboards should in theory be quieter, however, and use less electricity than current designs. Size will also be reduced, with measurements falling somewhere between Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX, at approximately 7.9 inches by 9.6. An even smaller standard is Mini-DTX, which should be 6.7x7.9 inches, but will be limited to processors with 35W TDP (Thermal Design Power). AMD believes that these reductions should further enable cost savings, with four DTX boards (or six Mini-DTX boards) coming out of a single PCB panel, where the same material would produce two ATXs. AMD is set to distribute the DTX documents later this quarter, but companies such as Asus and MSI have already declared intentions to build DTX products.
iHome iH4 iH10 and iH19
iPod accessory producer iHome is preparing three new iPod speaker docks for budget-minded listeners. The pictured iH10 and iH4 are home units built to remind the listener of classic stereo design; the former's tower shape resembles a jukebox with different-colored lights and is intended as a clock radio with a backlit LCD for time functions. In turn, the speaker-only iH4 is patterned after mid-twentieth century transistor radios and relies on dials to change its settings. The company says its third system, the iH19, is a combination travel bag and stereo for the iPod that protects the latter while offering sound and basic track navigation on the outside. It will also be available in a variety of colors, the company adds. All three support every dockable iPod and are scheduled for a general Spring release, with the iH4 and iH10 both priced at $49 while the iH19 will retail for $69. Click through for photos of each model. [via Crave]
OLPC Notebook for Public
The One Laptop Per Child system may well be sold to individual members of the public, according to OLPC project heads speaking with BBC News. While the $150 system (now named XO) is intended primarily for large-scale educational use in developing countries, the MIT-based organization says it hopes to sell the computer to customers in wealthier areas, including North America. The plan will likely involve a charitable contribution plan that would ensure children in developing areas are cared for with each purchase.
"Many commercial schemes have been considered," says chairman Nicholas Negroponte. "One of which is 'buy 2 [laptops] and get 1.'"
Such a plan would give the buyer an e-mail address for a child who receives the second computer, effectively transforming the XO purchase into a sponsorship program. Individual sales are likely to begin in 2008 but will take a secondary priority in relation to bulk government orders.
The introduction of Apple's iPhone has boosted its stock with the company hoping to garner 1 percent of the project 1 billion mobile handset market--about 10 million phones--in 2008; however, the announcement hit other handset makers' shares, including Nokia, Samsung, and LG. Despite previous (incorrect) Reuters reports, Intel will not supply the main chip inside Apple's iPhone, but said it is supplying chips for the Apple TV set-top box. "We are not providing the silicon inside the iPhone," Intel spokesman Bill Kirkus told Reuters. "We are providing the silicon inside the Apple TV." Germany's Balda will supply touch-screens.
Westinhouse 2007 HDTV Line
Following the demonstration of its Quad Full HD display at CES, Westinghouse has announced multiple new LCD televisions. The TX series upgrades the company's existing full HD, 1080p screens by upgrading expansion and image calibration options: each of the 42-, 47-, and 52-inch displays builds four HDMI inputs into the chassis, every one of which supports the complete resolution of a given TV. The 52-inch version will also see an improved pixel response time of 6.5ms, versus 8ms on the smaller models. All three will bundle ATSC tuners and should be ready between April and May.
The SK series has also been announced and is aimed at more price-sensitive buyers: each panel sports a 720p resolution, dual HDMI connectors, an ATSC tuner, and an 8ms response time. Sizes will range between 19 and 42 inches when the entire SK line ships in April, with prices beginning at $449 for the smallest version and culminating at $1,699 for the 42-inch system. A 32-inch version with an integrated DVD player will be ready during the same month for $1,050 ($950 without).
Bandstand 1.0.2 ($29) is a comprehensive MIDI mixing program, containing 128 instruments, over 2GB of samples, and the ability to do on-the-fly sound editing. All standard plug-in formats are said to be supported The 1.0.2 patch makes Bandstand a Universal Binary; is free to registered PowerPC users.
[Download - Size Unknown]
ReelBean 2.6 ($15) is a movie application for Mac OS X 10.4, playing over 50 different file types, and converting to formats such as AVI, MPEG-4, QuickTime, H.264, and iPod size. Version 2.6 lets users alter the speed of audio and video files, and also allows playback in reverse. [Download - 4.3MB]
DropCopy 1.3 ($25) is a file-transfer utility that relies on a desktop "dropzone" to quickly send files to other folders and computers. Hotkeys can be used to send files even faster. The new update has been rewritten for Mac OS X Tiger as a Universal Binary, improves performane, and has a host of new options in notification, graphics and sound. [Download - 2.1MB]
pdf-FieldMerge 4.2 ($142) populates PDF files with fields from database and spreadsheet programs, and can be set to do so manually or automatically. Graphics can be merged as well, and data fields can be left editable or merged into the PDF. The trial version of the program is fully functional, but will leave a watermark on the output document. [Download - 2.5MB]
Barcode Producer 4.2 ($149) generates barcodes for software such as Acrobat, Illustrator, Photoshop and QuarkXPress. The 4.2 upgrade makes Producer compliant with 2007 ISBN-13 standards, and turns the application into a Universal Binary. There is additional support for the Adobe Bridge 2.0 beta. [Download - 11.6MB]
Scorpion BarCode 1.90 ($180) is another barcode generator that produces editable PICT and EPSF documents, or simply Clipboard files for direct copying and pasting. Changes to 1.90 include enhancements in anticipation of Mac OS X Leopard, and compliance with the 2007 version of the ISBN-13 standard. [Download - Size Unknown]
Carbon fiber iPod cases
BelchCo.com has begun taking pre-orders for carbon fiber cases designed to protect Apple's second-generation iPod nano. The company also announced that it will release cases for the first-generation iPod nano, as well as 30GB and 60GB fifth-generation video iPods. Constructed from high quality carbon fiber, BelchCo.com's protective covers allow the iPod to slide in on the right side, and the left side features a unique style of carbon fiber that acts as a hinge. Protective tabs adorn the top and bottom to keep the iPod secure inside while maintaining full access to controls and ports. Case interiors are coated to hold the iPod firmly in place. The cases are scheduled to ship January 15th, and are priced at $50.
AAPL targets raised
In the wake of Apple's iPhone announcement, analysts are continuing to raise their price targets on Apple stock and predict that the iPhone, which will spearhead revenue growth, is only the beginning of new innovative products from the Cupertino-based company. Research firm UBS raised its targets from $108 to $118, citing robust revenue growth in 2008, while Merrill Lynch -- which raised its target to $113 from $102 -- told clients that the higher-than-expected target price would also increase the company's revenues. With Apple's CEO Steve Jobs predicting sales of 10 million in 2008, UBS analyst Ben Reitzes called the device "revolutionary" and cited the company's introduction of a new computing platform: "We believe the iPhone is revolutionary and can thrive as a convergence platform for years to come. The device is an internet communicator, an iPod & phone in one, featuring a large touchscreen."
Mio DigiWalker GPS Duo
GPS specialist Mio at CES previewed two receivers geared both to essentialist users and those in the mid-range. The DigiWalker C250 (shown) is focused almost exclusively on navigation for those drivers who prefer minimal expense: little beyond the 3.5-inch touchscreen surrounds the device, which comes only with a headphone jack and speaker for audio duties and comes with an SD card containing a map of the US. Music playback is possible but has not been confirmed, the company says. Mio plans a release by the end of this quarter for $299, $50 or more below most similar GPS mapping systems.
Above the entry-level model will be the DigiWalker C520, a portrait-style receiver with a 4.3-inch wide touchscreen and a Bluetooth transmitter for establishing hands-free calls through many cellphones. Its manufacturer has yet to commit to a price but promises a launch within the first half of 2007. Click through for a photo of the C520.
XtremeHD cables debut
XtremeMac today introduced XtremeHD, a series of home audio and video cables designed to complement Apple's new Apple TV wireless media streaming device. The XtremeHD cables enable users to integrate Apple TV into the home HD entertainment system, utilizing any of the connectivity options Apple TV provides. The company is offering cables for HDMI to HDMI, HDMI to DVI (shown at right), Component Video, Toslink Optical Audio, and RCA stereo connectivity. The ExtremeHD four port HDMI switcher provides expansion capability to home entertainment systems with limited HDMI inputs, supporting up to four HDMI sources such as the Apple TV or DVD players. The HDMI switcher connects to a single HDMI input on TVs and home entertainment receivers, allowing users to switch between any one of the four sources using the button on the front of the switcher or via an included remote. The switcher also shares the same footprint as the Apple TV, enabling users to stack the devices for space conservation. The XtremeHD products are available online from XtremeMac and Apple.
Toshiba A20 HD DVD Player
Recognizing a gap between its high- and low-end HD DVD players, Toshiba at CES unveiled a new, mid-grade player named the HD-A20. Sitting in between the previously announced HD-A2 and HD-XA2, the A20 adds the crucial feature of native 1080p video playback, making it the lowest-cost HD DVD player to show movies at their native resolution, Toshiba says. The new tier reduces costs by withholding the top player's costlier HDMI 1.3 output and its accompanying support for deep color as well as enhanced Dolby and DTS HD sound. Other features remain identical to the A2, the company's basic 1080i-capable model. The A20 will ship in Spring for $599, $100 more than the A2 but far lower than the $999 XA2.
ZDNet criticizes iPhone
The mass of initially positive press regarding Apple's new iPhone may hide substantial flaws that could undermine the handset's long-term success, according to several ZDNet editors. Writing in his blog, Jason O'Grady notes that a combination of using GSM and an exclusive Cingular deal may seriously damage the roaming abilities of the phone outside of North America by shutting out CDMA users and easier access to international roaming through unlocked SIM cards. "This phone will not work in Japan because it does not support [WCDMA]," O'Grady wrote. "A contract with Cingular [also] implies it will be SIM-locked. Frequent international travellers rely on the ability to purchase a local SIM card in the destination country."
iPhone Details and Doubts
The flurry of initially positive press regarding Apple's new iPhone may hide substantial flaws that could undermine the handset's long-term success, according to multiple ZDNet editors. Writing in his blog, Jason O'Grady notes that a combination of using GSM and an exclusive Cingular deal may seriously damage the roaming abilities of the phone outside of North America by shutting out CDMA users and easier access to international roaming through unlocked SIM cards.
"This phone will not work in Japan because it does not support [WCDMA]," O'Grady reports a friend as saying. "A contract with Cingular [also] implies it will be SIM-locked. Frequent international travellers rely on the ability to purchase a local SIM card in the destination country."
Read through for concerns about the iPhone's target audience and the processor likely at the heart of the device.
Gorilla 4 released
Jungle Software today released Gorilla 4, which the company claims is the first film production software specifically designed for independent filmmakers to help manage film projects. "Independent filmmakers require a dynamic and robust software tool that can handle the myriad of details that go into producing a film or video project," the company wrote. "Unlike traditional film production software, Gorilla's core features - film budgeting and scheduling - are joined by an array of modules that handle cast & crew, rehearsals, calendaring, locations, expenses, editing, film festivals and more." The latest release includes element linking, element blackout, colored shot lists, and the ability to attach cast as well as equipment to shots. Gorilla 4 also features more than 3,000 labor/union rates, and the ability to automatically send emails to contacts. The software is available at select Apple Stores nationwide as well as the Apple Store online for $200 (student edition), $300 (standard edition), or $400 (pro version). Gorilla 4 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
"Apple is a new company"
Apple is a new company with a new mission as it enters the living rooms of consumers, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "As evidenced by the fact that Apple officially removed the word 'computer' from its name and has added mobile devices and the digital living room to the two existing product categories of computers and digital music, Apple is clearly becoming a consumer digital lifestyle company vs. just a computer and music device company," the analyst said. "Ironically, however, these added non-Mac products should only further accelerate the halo effect and increase Mac market share as well." Industry watchers expected the Cupertino-based company to officially unveil its iTV -- renamed Apple TV -- while some watched for an iPhone announcement, but Munster believes the general consensus of Wall Street fell short of Apple's deliverance on January 9th, 2007. "We believe the form factor and features of the iPhone are more favorable than general Street thinking," said Munster. "At the risk of playing into the hype of the iPhone, seeing is believing with this device."
TDK Mini Blu-Ray discs
Though still seeking approval from the Blu-Ray Disc Alliance, TDK is using CES to promote a "Mini Blu-Ray" prototype, which can hold 16.5GB of data in a disc 3.1 inches in diameter. Full-size discs can hold 50GB. The applications of a smaller one are fairly minimal, but TDK does expect them to appear in Blu-Ray camcorders if the BRDA gives the green light. The company is also preparing a 50GB, inkjet-printable version of its regular BD-R disc, and is showing off a 200GB format that was first announced in April of last year but is still in development. The 50GB printable discs should be out in the second quarter. [Via The Register]
Skype/landline DECT phone
While there are a number of computer-based Skype phones, the SPH200D from Netgear is a stand-alone DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephony) phone that plugs into a landline as well as your Internet connection, permitting any sort of important call, including dialing emergency services. The base station enables the use of three additional 200Ds throughout your home or office. Average talk-time on the phone is 12 hours, with a standby time of 120. Amazon is selling the phone for $180.
QuarkXPress 7.1 released
Quark has released QuarkXPress 7.1, an update to its desktop design software that brings performance enhancements, making the design software more responsive. The company says it has made significant performance improvements in several key areas — including text selection, clipped images, and flattening features. Each feature has received a performance boost, resulting in faster production times. In addition, the Universal upgrade has provided performance improvements throughout the application: in some areas QuarkXPress 7.1 is up to five times faster on Intel-based Macs than PowerPC, Quark said. Mac users must install QuarkXPress 7.01 before installing version 7. A full list of issues resolved is available on the website. The update is free for all Quark 7 users.
Pooch QuickTime plug-in
Dauger Research today announced the first official release of the Pooch QuickTime Exporter plug-in, enabling desktop video editing applications to take advantage of clusters. Using the Pooch (Parallel Operation and Control Heuristic application) and Pooch Pro clustering software, applications such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro can use clusters to generate compressed video more rapidly than before, according to Dauger. The Pooch QuickTime Exporter is a Universal parallel code, offering support to mixed clusters of Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs while counting multiple "Cores" as "virtual nodes" to take advantage of parallel computing both inside a computer and across computers using the Message-Passing Interface (MPI) supercomputing industry standard. The Pooch QuickTime Exporter supports numerous codecs including: H.264, H.261, MPEG-4, Motion JPEG, AAC, Lossless, & MACE. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later running on Intel- or PowerPC-based Macs with 2GB of memory.
Hitachi DVD+HDD camcorders
New camcorders from Hitachi combine DVD drives and hard disks in the same camera, the company has announced. The DZHS300A and DZH500A hybrid camcorders have 8GB and 30GB hard disks, respectively, and when they finish recording, can burn the video to DVD with a single button. Supported DVD formats include DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM and DVD+RW. The S300A has an SD card slot and 25x optical zoom; aside from having a larger hard drive, the 500A boosts zoom to 30x. Both models also have drop protection, ensuring that when a fall is detected, reading and writing is stopped, and the hard disk is secured for impact. The S300A is available now for $600, and the 500A will ship in April for $800.
Ovolab unveils Geophoto
Ovolab has unveiled Geophoto, a new application for browsing and sharing digital photos. Geophoto displays pictures on the Earth in the location where the photo was taken. Users can rotate, zoom, and fly through photos on top of a photorealistic three-dimensional Earth. The software allows dragging pictures to a specific location on the globe to "geotag," or add the location information to the image file. Once geotagged, users can share a picture with others and it will automatically appear in the correct location on Earth when opened in Geophoto. The software integrates with iPhoto, allowing users to browse album photos on the Earth and add geotagging information to photos that are not yet linked to a specific location. Geophoto also browses photos on Flickr, an online photo storage site, and can place various pieces of information -- such as contact information and Web links -- around the globe. Ovolab will release Geophoto in the second half of February for $50, but is currently taking pre-orders for $40. Geophoto requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Simon, Exces, Smasher
Simon 2.2 ($30) is a site monitoring tool, able to keep track of web pages, FTP and DNS servers, and local or remote ports. "Tests" alert you to changes such as server failure or recovery, and notices can be sent via e-mail, Growl, cellphone, pager and other means. The 2.2 update adds several new services, such as Script, MySQL, and Specific DNS. HTTPS and cookies are integrated as well.
[Download - 7.3MB]
Exces 1.1 ($15) lets users create password-protected "vaults" on their Mac. SeoSoft says that the program uses the same 128-bit AES encryption found in Apple's FileVault, and that it can currently hold up to 10GB per vault. An assistant helps suggest hard-to-break passwords. Exces requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later. [Download - 3.9MB]
PacketStream 1.0 ($19) enables point-and-click use of the network monitoring program in Mac OS X, which normally has to be run from the Unix command line. Buttons let you control all the standard functions, and the results are displayed in the same Aqua-based application. PacketStream is a universal binary that requires Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 9.4MB]
RecipeBook 4.0 ($20) is a recipe editor designed for rapid search and entry, with the option of grouping recipes into printable "books," organized similarly to playlists on an MP3 player. The program contains over 50,000 food types. CalorieKing has recently integrated RecipeBook with its Nutrition and Exercise Manager, which can use RecipeBook as a source of meals. [Download - 29.5MB]
Creative Manager Pro 8.4.01 ($370/mo.) is a web-based project management suite for design and "creative" firms, handling everything from developing business to staffing and financial reporting. The 8.4.01 upgrade adds support for Leopard, LDAP servers, and Mac OS X Server. While the suite may be prohibitively expensive for some, the company says it releases new versions every four to six weeks. [Download - Size Unknown]
Smasher 1.5 ($50) takes automatic steps to prevent font problems in applications such as QuarkXPress, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and Mac OS X itself. The name of the application comes from its ability to reduce font "suitcases" into their smallest components. New to 1.5 is the ability to divide suitcases down to the level of a single style, such as Myriad Pro Bold Italic. [Download - 7.5MB]
EWOO iPod remote debuts
Zicplay has unveiled EWOO, a new remote control device dedicated to iPod users. The remote offers full control over Apple's portable player with support for music as well as videos, and includes a dock to charge the iPod as well as a USB adapter to control/browse iTunes. The device integrates a Lithium Polymere battery that provides 10 days of power, and weighs just 60 grams. The dock offers optical, analog, and S-video output ports. The EWOO features a color TFT screen to aid users in browsing iTunes libraries, and boasts a range of up to 100-feet. Zicplay expects to ship the remote in early February for $130 in the U.S. and Europe.
Hitachi Flat-Panels at CES
Hitachi used its presence at CES to announce sweeping changes to its LCD and plasma HDTV lineups. The Japanese electronics firm says its upcoming P50H401 (pictured) will be the first 50-inch plasma to reach below $2,500 by striking a balance between full HD and the 720p sets that often reach the price point. By using a 1280x1080 panel, the set can still manage sharper resolutions when asked to display 4:3 ratio images while still supporting widescreen 1080i and 720p images. A scaler chip for 1080p sources and three HDMI inputs will ensure the best possible picture, Hitachi says. The 50-inch display, which ships in February, will be accompanied by 42- and 55-inch models in the H401 line that ship in April and July respectively. Upgraded T501 models with improved anti-reflective screens and SD card readers for direct photo viewing are anticipated in similar sizes and release dates.
Also planned for this year are two mid-size LCDs under the Cineform name. The H201 and T301 lines will each be available in 32- and 37-inch models and will share the 1080p scaler and trio of HDMI inputs from the larger plasmas but will display in a native 720p resolution; the more advanced T301 adds a new 120Hz-capable LCD that doubles the frame rate to improve perceived response times during gaming or fast movie scenes. The 37-inch panels will be ready first in May, while the smaller 32-inch equivalents are being prepared for June.
Haier, AOL iPod competitor
Haier at CES today announced that it will partner with AOL to launch a new media player that it hopes will break away from the software limitations of current players and provide a clear rival to Apple's dominating iPod. Dubbed the SmartScreens Media Device, the player uses an iPod-influenced menu system but is Linux-based, allowing for relatively easy changes to the software by developers and owners. Haier touts Wi-Fi as the player's true appeal, versus Microsoft's Zune player with Wi-Fi that is limited to local sharing. The SmartScreens device connects to a wireless network to access internet services from AOL, allowing any user to stream internet radio for free while enabling users to purchase songs and other content directly from the handheld. Bluetooth functionality also adds the option of playing music through wireless headphones or speakers, according to Electronista. The company's plan to launch the new player alongside a new AOL service in the second or third quarter of 2007 for an unknown price.
New Toshiba Regza LCD
Toshiba has announced a new LCD in its Regza line of televisions. Though measuring a relatively small 20 inches, the set is still capable of resolutions up to 768x1366 (greater than 720p), and uses Toshiba's Meta Brain Pro technology, which is normally limited to the company's Z2000 TVs. This digitizes the whole signal process, creating better contours on moving objects, and avoiding unnecessary picture degradation. The built-in speakers support SRS WOW surround, and there are two HDMI ports plus two DVI ports. The viewing angle is 178 degrees. Pricing and availability are unknown. [Via Akihabara News]
SQL Anywhere for Mactels
Sybase iAnywhere has released SQL Anywhere 10 for Intel-based Macs, providing a data management and synchronization solution for Intel Mac owners. The company also revealed that the free Developer Edition of SQL Anywhere 10 is available for download. SQL Anywhere was built to address the unique characteristics of frontline environments such as high-performance server and desktop applications running at remote customer sites. The software offers bi-directional synchronization between heterogeneous database servers running on Mac Pro and other Intel-based machines. SQL Anywhere provides multiple data access interfaces such as JDBC, ODBC, Perl, and PHP for developers along with a variety of development tools such as Xcode, with either Java or the Cocoa framework, CodeWarrior, Project Builder, or Servoy. The developer edition of SQL Anywhere for Mac OS X on Intel is available for free (specific system requirements were unavailable).
i-mate JAQ3 and PDAL in US
i-mate at CES revealed that its two most recent smartphones, initially available only in the Middle East, will now launch in North America. Courtesy of their quad-band GSM receivers, both the JAQ3 and PDAL (pictured) will arrive on the continent largely unchanged from their original forms, retaining the support for Bluetooth, EDGE Internet access, and Wi-Fi. A 2-megapixel and readiness for "push" e-mail are similarly standard. The handhelds are separated primarily by input, i-mate says. Where the JAQ3 is built for messaging and includes a QWERTY keyboard for typing on its widescreen display, the PDAL is more compact and uses its 2.4-inch touchscreen for typing and most navigation. American pricing is unavailable, but the two devices will arrive in stores by the end of January.
Visteon HD Jump
Visteon at CES officially launched its HD Jump receiver. The adapter tunes the HD2 digital radio broadcasts now in place alongside many terrestrial stations and even raises the quality of existing analog stations: FM stations achieve CD-quality sound while AM stations reach FM levels, according to the company's claims. The receiver gains a large LCD to help with navigating and viewing the text information only available with HD radio. Described as the first "transportable" radio of its kind by Visteon, the Jump needs a separate power source but includes a windshield mounting kit to link with any car and can alternately link with an optional cradle to play radio inside the home; the car mount also sports an auxiliary input jack to play music from an iPod or other pocket player through the vehicle's sound system. Neither a price nor a ship date have yet to be released.
Keynote video, iPod guides
In brief: Apple has posted a QuickTime video of Steve Jobs' keynote speech, showing the executive's introduction of 'Apple TV' alongside the expected iPhone cellular handset.... Linotype has released six new fonts titled 'Sultan Free,' 'Midan,' 'Isra,' 'Sultan Nahia,' 'Hakim Ghazali,' and 'Firas' from its first-ever Arabic Type Design Competition.... Both VeriSign and Adobe intend to collaborate on integrating Adobe Flash technologies with VeriSign's peer assisted content distribution technology.... Small Tree Communications has announced that it will sell and support Edge-corE? Layer 2 and Layer 3 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches in the U.S. and Canada.... Mogopop.com is offering two free member-published iPod guides for the Macworld Conference & Expo taking place in San Francisco.... Stunt Software is holding a Macworld Expo sale, offering 15 percent off on all of the company's software during the conference.
Micro Express Zune Laptops
System builder Micro Express today said it would move its largely budget-oriented WinBook line upscale this month with the addition of two notebooks to its line. Both the 13.3-inch TL (shown) and 15.4-inch GL will adopt a glossy, brown chassis meant to recall the unconventional choice of style made by Microsoft for its Zune music player, including a halo-effect secondary color around the portables' edges. Hardware and pricing has not been provided for the new WinBooks but will likely include Core 2 Duo processors and an overall higher price to reflect performance. Micro Express says it will announce the GL and TL series by the end of this month, in time for the launch of Windows Vista. [via Crave]
FirmTek SATA storage
FirmTek has unveiled its SeriTek/2SE4 and SeriTek/2ME4-E controller cards, as well as the SeriTek/5PM storage enclosure supporting Port Multiplication for SATA and RAID applications. The SeriTek/2SE4 is compatible with both the PCI-X and PCI bus architectures, and is the only SATA controller card that offers full boot capability, according to FirmTek. The SeriTek/2SE4 features four hot-swappable external SATA II ports, enabling individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software. The SeriTek/2ME4-E is compatible with the PCIe (PCI-Express) bus architecture, and works with Dual- or Quad-core G5 Macs as well as the Mac Pro. The controller allows volumes to boot on a Dual- or Quad-core G5s, but is not yet bootable on Intel-based Mac Pros. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software.
Razer Mako and Reclusa
Razer at CES announced two new peripherals for media PC enthusiasts. Opening the introductions is the Mako (pictured), a 2.1-channel speaker system the company hopes will break new ground in desktop sound. The Mako is the only desktop audio system to not just receive THX certification but also use the engineering firm's technology to improve sound quality. THX Ground Plane creates an even soundstage regardless of the listener's position relative to the satellites, says Razer, while THX Slot Speaker's downward-firing audio helps prevent the desk vibrations that frequently create muddy bass response. A ClassHD digital amplifier also cleans the signal and is accompanied by two distinct amplifiers in the satellites themselves. The resulting output delivers 300W of total sustained power, 100W of which is shared by the satellites. Pricing and availability have yet to be released.
In addition to the Mako, Razer revealed the Reclusa keyboard for gamers. The LED-backlit input device is made for quick response during action games and has short-travel keys that reduce the delay in issuing commands. Two jog dials are placed on opposite ends of the keyboard for weapon selection or other times when fast scrolling is needed; four bumper buttons and six macro keys are also said to cut down on time spent finding keys. Customizable with a detachable palmrest and key reprogramming software, the Reclusa will ship in March for $60.
ExpressSAS RAID adapters
ATTO Technology is showcasing its new ExpressSAS RAID adapters at the Macworld Expo (booth #S1243) in San Francisco. The cards support Serial Attached SCSI RAID technology on Mac systems, and are designed to take full advantage of the high-speed PCI Express slots utilized by Apple's Intel-based Mac Pro workstations and Xserve servers. ATTO's ExpressPCI SCSI and Celerity 4-Gb Fibre Channel host adapters also work with Intel Xeon-based Mac systems, offering standard as well as customized drivers for Mac OS X. "ATTO's new ExpressSAS RAID adapters are the industry’s first and only products with a true low-profile form factor that fit standard-length PCI Express slots, making them ideal for compact designs such as the Xserve systems where real estate is at a premium," said ATTO. "The ExpressSAS products are also the industry’s only low-profile line of adapters offering user selectable port configuration options, enabling customers to select the optimal mix of internal and external SAS connections." Pricing was unavailable.
Slingbox Clip and Sling
Sling Media late Tuesday revealed its new Clip+Sling video sharing service. Citing the common problem of wanting to share favorite scenes from favorite TV shows or a play in a sports event, the Slingbox maker says it has developed a new version of its SlingPlayer computer and mobile software that lets owners of the TV streaming hubs record short clips and publish them to a Web portal, where the resulting footage is viewable by anyone.
As with the Slingbox itself, the service requires only a broadband connection and the relevant software. The software is currently limited to a private beta, Sling notes; however, the company says American Slingbox owners can sign up for the test program to join the service once it expands. A final version of Clip+Sling should be ready later this year.
AOL and Haier iPod Rival
In a surprise demonstration, Haier at CES revealed that it will partner with media giant AOL to launch a new media player that it hopes will both break away from the software limits of current players while also providing a clear rival to the iPod and Zune. Dubbed the SmartScreens Media Device, the player uses an iPod-influenced menu system but is Linux-based, allowing for relatively easy changes to the software by developers and owners alike. Wi-Fi is the player's true appeal, Haier says. Contrasting against the Zune, whose Wi-Fi is limited to local sharing, the SmartScreens device connects to a wireless network to access Internet services from AOL. Any user can stream Internet radio stations for free, according to the two companies; it will also be possible to buy songs and other content directly from the handheld. Bluetooth adds the option of playing music through wireless headphones or speakers.
Complete music support for the player has not been mentioned by Haier, which says that its jukebox will support protected Windows Media stores from AOL, Napster, and Real as well as MPEG-4 and WMV video clips. Storage will match the entry full-size iPod and Zune players with a 30GB hard drive. The SmartScreens device should launch paired with the new AOL service in the second or third quarter of 2007 for an unknown price. See a complete photo afer the jump. [via PC Mag]
Prosoft Data Backup 3
In addition to its new Jax iPod utility, Prosoft Engineering announced Data Backup 3, an update to its simple, automated backup solution. The software utility allows users to backup, restore and synchronize data with minimal effort. Version 3 features a new user interface, the ability to backup to multiple CDs and DVDs (automatically spanning on multiple disks), performance improvements using a Fast Start feature that skips scanning, and built-in backup sets to quickly backup iTunes, iPhoto, system and other important data. In addition, the software will automatically wake from sleep to backup and automatically power off after the backup completes. It also now offers the ability to "go back in time" to view files and directories, as they were when the backups happened. Data Backup 3 will be available in early February for $60 (upgrade pricing not available).
Two new Epson printers
Epson this week at CES unveiled two new printers, including the Stylus CX7000F, the latest addition to Epson's More-in-One (MIO) line and its 13-inch wide, Ultra Hi-Definition Stylus Photo 1400 ink jet printer. The Epson Stylus CX7000F features a high-speed fax, DURABrite Ultra pigment ink for long-lasting prints that fade and water resistant, individual ink cartridges and high-speed printing and copying (up to 27 ppm/cpm) with auto reduction and enlargement. The Epson Stylus CX7000F also features card slots to print BorderFree 4"x6", 5"x 7" or letter size photos directly from a memory card or PictBridge-enabled camera without a computer. The MIO device also includes features photo color restoration and OCR software.
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