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News Archive for 07/01/17

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Conference Call: iPod, iTunes update

01/17, 7:25pm

iPod, iTunes update

Apple shipped over 21 million iPod during the quarter, well ahead of analysts' estimates of 16.5 million based on NPD data. iPod sales during the quarter represented 50 percent growth from the year-ago quarter. Calling the demand "staggering", Apple told investors that a favorable product mix of iPod sales and better-than-expected iPod margins (due to a favorable component pricing) helped push the company's gross margins above 31 percent. During the quarter, the iPod maintained its leadership in the market despite increased competition. In the US, Apple's share of the MP3 market was 72 percent during December, according to NPD Techworld data. In addition, Apple grew iPod sales faster outside the US, resulting in share gains for every country for which it had data.

Conference Call: Macs sales surge 28%

01/17, 6:40pm

Macs sales surge 28%

Apple's record profit of $1.1 billion surpassed the company's previous record holiday quarter on what it called "staggering" demand for the iPod and continued strong demand for Macs, which accounted for 43 percent of all Apple revenues. Mac sales, the company said, have outpaced market growth in eight of the last nine quarters and grew at about 3 times IDC's published growth rate for the PC market during the quarter. The company shipped 1.61 million Macs, ahead of its own expectations, on "particularly strong" MacBook sales. The company laptop unit sales surged 65 percent during the quarter, while revenues were up by nearly 80 percent--based strong sales of the higher-priced MacBook Pros. Mac unit sales in the Americas, however, were down 20 percent sequentially due to the drop-off in institutional sales during the traditionally strong September quarter.

Conference Call: Apple retail update

01/17, 6:10pm

Apple retail update

Apple today revealed that its retail stores saw record sales during the quarter, posting revenues of $1.1 billion. The company opened five new stories during the quarter for a total of 170 retail stores. With an average of 169 stores open during the quarter, the Cupertino-based company said that average store revenue was $6.7 million. The company's fast-growing retail segment sold 308,000 Macs during the quarter, representing 60 percent year-over-year growth, Apple said. Interestingly, despite the drastic increase in Mac sales, overall revenues for the stores decreased due to lower iPod revenues and lower iPod sales. The company said that the decrease in iPod sales was due to expanded distribution points for iPods and more availability of iPods from other sources (last year, most of the iPods were only available from the Apple Stores).

Nike Speed+ to obfuscate Nike+iPod?

01/17, 6:00pm

Nike Speed+: iPod-less?

Sports gear manufacturer Nike will soon release a watch that could eliminate the need for the Nike+iPod kit, according to Electronista. Appearing only briefly on the European Nike website before being removed, the Nike Speed+ watch includes its own flash memory and wireless receiver that links with the Nike+ sensor. After a run, the watch connects to a computer through USB to upload distance and speed information to the Nikeplus.com website. An onboard LCD also tracks information useful to live runners such as the estimated calorie burn and pacing, the description said. No launch information accompanied the leak, but the inadvertent announcement suggests that Nike is approaching its Nike+ initative as a multi-level strategy of which the iPod is only a part. The sporting company recently announced its C.O.R.E. iPod backpack that offers music control through the strap. News of the still unreleased Amp+ bracelet for iPod users also surfaced late in 2006 and pointed to Nike's expansion beyond tracking equipment alone.

BurnAgain DVD allows multiple overwrites

01/17, 5:50pm

BurnAgain DVD released

While DVDs and burning software have permitted multi-session discs for years, new software by Freeridecoding promises to address a continuing drawback: overwriting. The group claims that its new BurnAgain DVD application will let owners use the same portion of a DVD several times before no more changes can be made. The software checks to see whether identical existing files are already present, and only burns new files to the disc. Users can choose to change the title of a disc with each burn or hide previously copied data, and all resource forks are kept intact during operation. Only CD-R, CD-RW and DVD+RW discs are currently supported, but Freeride is hoping to add more media with subsequent versions of the software. BurnAgain is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $15 for students, $25 for a single license, and $50 for a family pack. An upgrade from BurnAgain 2.x is $10.

Online music sales double, CD sales slump

01/17, 5:45pm

Online music doubles sales

Worldwide online sales of music doubled to $2 billion in 2006, but failed to compensate for lower CD sales, says the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The Associated Press observes that the online realm today represents 10 percent of the market, but that the industry as a whole has shrunk by three percent. The report from the IFPI contradicts the organization's past expectations, which held that digital sales would compensate for the overall declines seen since 2002. The growth of online music has in fact slowed in its own right, since 2005 sales saw a threefold increase. IFPI chairman John Kennedy still hopes that 2007 will be the year that online sales rescue the music industry, particularly because of devices like the iPhone. Kennedy warns however that internet service providers may be targeted with lawsuits if they continue to allow known pirates to operate.

Apps: MaxPod; DashRender; NoteMind

01/17, 5:20pm

MaxPod; DashRender

    MaxPod 1.6.0 ($17) syncs an iPod with music as well as video, adding data files and audio translations of news, notes, weather reports and map directions. MaxPod 1.6.0 adds a collection of minor fixes, and runs natively on PowerPC as well as Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 4.7MB]
    DashRender 1.0 ($15) is a Dashboard widget for Autodesk Maya 6.0-8.5. The widget enables users to simply drag a scene file and click "Render" to produce a finished video while working in the background. DashRender uses paths and settings gleaned from Maya, but can also specify per-render options such as size, performance, and the beginning as well as ending frames. [Download - unknown]
    NoteMind 1.3 ($20) collects and organizes information on a computer, sorting the data into "mind maps" for easier understanding. NoteMind 1.3 can store audio files in a database, and can play or record them directly from within the application. The update also offers bug fixes alongside improved stability. [Download - 4.7MB]
    InfoValet 1.0 ($50) is a file browser that creates a virtual folder structure, allowing users to associate files by theme apart from their physical location. The application further includes its own e-mail client, as well as a search tool for local and internet content. Dragging files and e-mail to one section of the browser enables users to add metadata, ultimately improving search results. [Download - 31.4MB]
    SimpleSound Plug-In 3.0 ($40) enables sound playback and recording within FileMaker Pro. The plug-in supports any file format supported by Apple's QuickTime, and the latest release works with FM Pro 7.0, 8.0 and 8.5 as a Universal Binary. Other major changes include the ability to pause, start from an offset, and play from containers or external files. [Download - 5.9MB]
    ProTA 3.0 ($130) is the first Mac OS X version of BeeSoft's tool for stock market charting and analysis. The software can automatically download data in numerous formats, examining that data using more than 50 indicators and line studies. ProTA Gold ($300) expands on the base version with features such as custom analysis and advanced modeling. [Download - 11MB]

Apple profits surge 78% on strong iPod sales

01/17, 5:10pm

Apple profits surge 78%

Apple today posted a 78 percent increase in profit compared with the year ago on very strong iPod sales. Despite an on-going options scandal and a federal investigation, for the holiday quarter, the company posted a record profit of $1 billion on record revenues of $7.1 billion--easily beating analysts' consensus estimates of $0.78 on $6.42 billion. Revenue was up 24 percent from $5.75 billion a year; the company had forecast quarterly sales of $6 billion to $6.2 billion. According to its numbers, the company also saw a strong increase in sales of portables as well as strong growth in its Europe and retail segments, according to the data provided by the company. Looking ahead, Apple forecast fiscal second-quarter revenue in the range $4.8-4.9 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting revenues of $5.22 billion for the March quarter.

Logic3 reveals Traveller portable MP3 speakers

01/17, 4:55pm

Logic3 i-Station Traveller

i-Station creators Logic3 today announced the i-Station Traveller, its most portable speaker system yet for digital audio players. The four-watt stereo accepts input from the headphone jack of most jukeboxes, including iPods and music phones. The company says the Traveller can be powered completely by four AAA batteries and yet weighs only 5.5 ounces. Battery life is currently unrated. Intended to match virtually any device, the Logic3 speakers ship in six colors ranging from conservative black and silver to bright green and orange. All versions are planned for a late January release in Britain at a price of £20 ($39). A US release is likely but has not been announced. [via Tech Digest]

By the numbers: iPods, Macs, retail, Europe

01/17, 4:45pm

Apple quarterly numbers

Apple on Wednesday posted a record December quarter with $1 billion in profits on the company's highest revenues of $7.1 billion, with iPods, retail and strong portable sales driving growth. The company shipped more than 1.6 million Macs, a 28 percent increase from the year-ago quarter, and realized a large sequential boost of Mac sales in Europe during which unit sales skyrocketed 44 percent and revenue surged 73 percent from the previous quarter; compared to the year-ago quarter, the company saw a 27 percent increase in Mac unit sales in Europe and a 28 percent increase in revenue. Apple saw a large 60 percent increase in Mac unit sales at its retail stores, but only a six percent revenue increase. iPod sales dramatically increased by 141 percent from the September quarter and by 50 percent from the year-ago holiday quarter; however, iPod revenue did not grow as quickly as unit sales (compared with September and year-ago quarters), indicating a drop in the average selling price -- likely due to the new low-priced iPod shuffle, which began shipping during the quarter. Apple's 'Other Music Sales' also increased by 29 percent year-over-year.

Bodelin unveils SeeEye2Eye camera accessory

01/17, 4:40pm

Bodelin unveils SeeEye2Eye

Bodelin Technologies has released SeeEyE2EyE, an accessory that slides over any external webcam or built-in laptop camera -- such as the iSight designed into iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros -- to reflect the window of the person you are chatting with onto a two-way mirror over the webcam, enabling users to look directly into the camera while looking at the other chat participant. The software supports adding a text document with with a script reflected to create an inexpensive teleprompter. The software also works with professional and consumer video cameras positioned directly behind the computer screen. Bodelin is offering two versions of SeeEyE2EyE -- one for external webcams as well as video cameras and another for built-in laptop webcams from manufacturers such as Apple, Sony, and HP. The accessory weighs 14-ounces and is specifically designed to quickly move on an doff the computer as needed. The device is likely to ship for $100, according to the company.

Corsair bumps Readout flash drives to 8GB

01/17, 4:35pm

Corsair Flash Readout 8GB

Corsair on Wednesday announced more capacious versions of its Flash Readout USB 2 drive. The storage producer says its drive now comes in 4GB and 8GB models, quadrupling the previous 2GB limit. Speed is unaffected by the extra storage and still achieves sustained 20MB reads and 7MB writes per second. The Readout drive is unique for its incorporation of a Bi-stable Cholesteric Display (BCD) that displays available space and a personalized name for the drive without requiring power; the information lasts for up to a year without any power, Corsair says. The drive plugs into any recent Linux, Mac, or Windows system. 4GB and 8GB models ship today for $90 and $170 respectively.

Apple: $1 billion profit, sells 21m iPods

01/17, 4:30pm

Apple: $1 billion profit

Apple today posted record revenue of $7.1 billion and record net quarterly profit of $1.0 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share for its fiscal 2007 first quarter ended December 30, 2006. These results compare to revenue of $5.7 billion and net quarterly profit of $565 million, or $.65 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 31.2 percent, up from 27.2 percent in the year-ago quarter, while international sales accounting for 42 percent of the quarter's revenue. Apple shipped 1,606,000 Macs and 21,066,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 28 percent growth in Macs and 50 percent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter. "We are incredibly pleased to report record quarterly revenue of over $7 billion and record earnings of $1 billion," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We've just kicked off what is going to be a very strong new product year for Apple by launching Apple TV and the revolutionary iPhone."

Nike Speed+ watch to bypass iPod kit for athletes

01/17, 4:10pm

Nike Speed+ Watch

Sports gear manufacturer Nike will soon release a watch that could eliminate the need for the Nike+iPod kit. Appearing only briefly on the European Nike website before being removed, the Nike Speed+ watch includes its own flash memory and wireless receiver and links with the Nike+ sensor. After a run, the watch connects to a computer through USB to upload distance and speed information to the Nikeplus.com website. An onboard LCD also tracks information useful to live runners such as the estimated calorie burn and pacing, the description said. No launch information accompanied the leak.

The inadvertent announcement suggests that Nike is approaching its Nike+ initative as a multi-level strategy of which the iPod is only a part. The sporting company recently announced its C.O.R.E. iPod backpack that offers music control through the strap. News of the still unreleased Amp+ bracelet for iPod users also surfaced late in 2006 and pointed to Nike's expansion beyond tracking equipment alone. [via Podophile]

BlackBerry 8800 to reach AT&T next month

01/17, 3:45pm

BlackBerry 8800 Next Month

Research In Motion's BlackBerry 8800 is set to debut in the US with AT&T (previously named Cingular), according to the Boy Genius Report. Citing anonymous sources, the typically reliable site claims that the full-sized smartphone will be available through the US carrier as of mid-February, and should serve as the reference design which other providers will use. The 8800 will also have a shorter keyboard layout than the current 8700 series that will ease typing, TBG says, and is still expected to drop the camera of the Pearl to appeal to business users. No pricing has been leaked, though pricing will likely compare closely to the 8700 upon its original launch.

Revealed at the same time is news that AT&T will also carry the 9000 series, a major revision to the BlackBerry which will add a completely revised user interface. HSDPA Internet access and the ability to completely backup a phone's information to a microSD card are also expected. The forthcoming 8800 replacement is not due until late 2007.

KDDI, NTT DoCoMo launch 2007 phone lines

01/17, 3:15pm

KDDI 2007 Media Phones

KDDI's au division has just launched its spring 2007 phones, appealing primarily to Japanese mobile TV viewers. Among the releases is the Sharp W51SH (shown), one of the first phones from Sharp to bear the company's Aquos name. The clamshell design reflects its HDTV inspiration, Sharp says, and contains a swiveling 3-inch widescreen LCD for watching video; it both tunes Japan's 1Seg digital TV broadcasts and can serve as a PVR, recording scheduled shows to microSD cards.

Rival carrier NTT DoCoMo also released its own set of phones to mark the new year. The SO903iTV enhances Sony-Ericsson's earlier Bravia phone with enhanced TV playback. While it too shares a 3-inch widescreen with the Sharp model and schedules TV recording to microSD storage, but is said to have more advanced timeshifting. It automatically buffers live TV whether recording takes place or not and lets owners pause or rewind while they watch. It can further play pre-recorded TV back at up to 1.3X speeds, Sony-Ericsson adds. The SO903iTV and its Sharp challenger should be available soon in their home country but are unlikely to reach North America without a change to the continent's MediaFLO format. A photo of the SO903iTV is available after the jump.

Apple special event during Super Bowl

01/17, 2:35pm

Apple Super Bowl event

Apple has scheduled to hold a special announcement during a Super Bowl commercial on February 4th, which one report claims could signal the debut of the Beatles' music catalog on the iTunes Music Store. The rumored deal between Apple Inc. and Apple Corps. to bring the legendary rock music to the digital realm for the first time is backed by "sources with knowledge of the project," according to the Toronto Sun, claiming that remastered tracks from the band's back catalog could end up on the iTunes Music Store as soon as next month. The report also mentions a three-month deal between the two companies to offer the Beatles' music exclusively via iTunes, reinforcing another report that surfaced earlier this week.

Analyst sees 16.5m iPod sales in Dec quarter

01/17, 2:15pm

Analyst on iPod sales

Senior analyst Gene Munster of research firm Piper Jaffray is predicting 16.5 million iPod sales for Apple's holiday quarter after analyzing three months of NPD data. The Cupertino-based company is holding a conference call today after the market closes to discuss its financial performance for its December quarter, where Munster also expects to see a slight upside to Wall Street's consensus of $0.78 on $6.42 billion. "Our analysis of iPod unit data from NPD for all three months of the December quarter leads us to expect iPod shipments around 16.5 million; previously, when we had only two months of data, we had been expecting a range of 15.5 million to 16.0 million for the December 2006 quarter," said Munster. The analyst notes that the expectation of 16.5 million iPod units is based on various assumptions, and reminds investors that iPod average selling prices will be down in the December 2006 quarter vs. previous quarters due to a higher ratio of iPod shuffle sales to other iPod models, which could total a 10 percent drop in the average iPod selling price quarter over quarter.

TrekStor offers gold-plated i.Beat special edition

01/17, 2:10pm

TrekStor Gold i.Beat

TrekStor today unveiled an extremely limited special edition music player dubbed the i.Beat organix Gold. Called the world's expensive MP3 player by its German creator, the Gold version's shell is built from 18-karat gold plating and has its OLED screen surrounded by 63 one-karat diamonds. Even the chain includes aquamarine gems, TrekStor says, and the entire assembly requires 100 hours of hand assembly by the Mannheim-based jeweler Wenthe. The player stores as much as 2GB of music in MP3, OGG, or WMA formats and takes advantage of extras such as FM radio and line-in or voice recording.

The unique i.Beat organix was originally custom-ordered by the Midland F1 team owner Alex Shnaider, says TrekStor, but is now built on request by the company for international customers. The player is available to North American buyers through Amazon, which retails the device for $20,000. [via Uncrate]

Apple planning Beatles announcement for Super Bowl?

01/17, 1:45pm

Apple Super Bowl Plans

Apple is planning a special announcement for the Super Bowl that may herald a major music agreement, according to a source speaking to the Toronto Sun. Potentially corroborating the unconfirmed report of an impending Beatles launch on Valentine's Day, the source claims that Apple will use the February 4th football event to air an ad announcing the availability of at least some of The Beatles' remastered catalog on iTunes just ten days later. CD versions of the albums are only likely to be available by June, the newspaper says.

The move would be uncharacteristic for Apple, which has generally refrained from producing its own Super Bowl ads since the failure of the "Lemmings" ad in 1985. The company allowed a slight exception as part of its 100 million-song giveaway promotion with Pepsi in 2004, though the ads were produced by the soft drink maker with only minimal involvement from Apple itself.

Apple to open FairPlay DRM?

01/17, 1:30pm

Apple to open FairPlay?

Apple is planning to open its FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) standard used on tracks purchased from its iTunes Music Store, according to /Tech/ sources. The publication says Apple is gearing up to make two announcements this week, making protected AAC files streamable via USB and the ability for third-party 'Made for iPod' manufacturers to license Fairplay for their own use. If true, the moves would result in more hardware with expanded functionality, such as digital output straight from iTunes, and built-in displays of previously protected track content such as album artwork. /Tech/ speculates that the move could be intended to keep Made for iPod companies on board as the appeal of more "open" players like the Microsoft Zune become stronger.

Atman unveils "io" stealth 3D side-scroller

01/17, 1:10pm

Atman unveils "io"

Independent India-based game development firm Atman Software has announced that "io," its stealth-based 3D side-scroller game for Mac and Windows systems is nearing completion. "The Nautilus-114, a rather expensive interstellar research spacecraft now lies marooned in the orbit of Jupiters moon, io. The status of the crew is unknown. Now, five months later, a recon unit (Norton and Ned) of the Federation One's IAR team has arrived to study the causes behind the mysterious events and at all costs bring the craft back home. Once aboard they realize that the atmosphere is hostile and that failure is not an option." Players are challenged with bringing the Nautilus-114 back home, but face numerous robotic minions that inhabit the ship (pricing and a launch date were unavailable).

Sony announces four 7.2MP Cyber-shot cameras

01/17, 1:05pm

Four Sony 7.2MP Cameras

Sony on Wednesday upgraded its Cyber-shot point-and-shoot cameras with four new models, all of which revolve around 7.2-megapixel sensors that capture sharper images than the 6-megapixel models of the company's current line. The W35 (pictured) and W55 are powered by lithium-ion batteries that deliver roughly 380 shots per charge, which helps keep the cameras running and also produces a slimmer shape. These models also have Clear RAW, a noise reduction filter that cleans the image at higher ISO settings. The two W-series models are separated primarily by screen and style, Sony says: the W35 uses a 2-inch LCD and ships only in silver, while the uprated W55 will be available with a 2.5-inch LCD as well as optional black, blue, and pink metal shells. Both Cyber-shot W cameras are due for release in February at prices of $180 (W35) and $200 (W55).

Opposite these models are the S650 and S700, slightly thicker models that use AA batteries to save cost and provide an easier way to power the camera when away from a wall outlet. The S650 begins the line with a 2-inch screen, which expands to 2.4 inches on the S700. Sony anticipates shipping the S650 at the same time as the W models for $150. The S700 will be ready later in March for $180. Photos of the W55 and S650/S700 are available after the jump.

LG's Super Multi Blue HD Player already on shelves?

01/17, 12:55pm

LG BR/HD player on shelves

Initially promised for February, the LG Super Multi Blue HD Player (BH100) is already on shelves in Texas, says a poster at AVS Forum. The drive was noticed at a CompUSA store, where he also took photos of it being demonstrated. Click through to see more. The news is surprising in part because the 100 was only formally announced at CES last week, leaving little time for LG to develop publicity. The product is expected to be officially launched early next month, selling at Best Buy and Circuit City stores for a price of $1,200. [Via Crave]

TurboSketch Studio bundles SketchUp, more

01/17, 12:45pm

TurboSketch Studio

IMSI/Design has released TurboSketch Studio (site not updated), its bundle of modeling software designed for Mac as well as PC systems. TurboSketch Studio includes Google's free SketchUp conceptual modeling application along with tightly integrated lighting and photorealistic rendering controls from IMSI/Design. SketchUp is an easy-to-learn 3D application that combines a simple toolset with an intelligent drawing system that streamlines as well as simplifies 3D design. The entire package offers users a 'one click' approach to controlling the same lighting and rendering technology that powers CAD packages, according to the company, and is available for $100. [updated]

Goldtouch ergonomic keyboard for Macs

01/17, 12:20pm

Goldtouch for Mac unveiled

Key Ovation last week unveiled its Goldtouch for Mac adjustable ergonomic keyboard at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco. Designed specifically for the Mac user, the Goldtouch for Mac is highly adjustable due to its exclusive locking ball and socket latch mechanism. The small footprint of the Goldtouch allows Mac users to bring the mouse inside the personal ergonomic "comfort zone," and the keyboard features a new soft-touch design offering low activation force which allows those suffering from Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs) or users who are looking to prevent RSIs to use a keyboard that significantly reduces discomfort, according to Key Ovation. The company is holding a pilot program with Apple beginning this month to make its Goldtouch Keyboard available for purchase in several high-volume Apple Stores located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City. The Goldtouch for Mac keyboard is available for $140 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Apple to open up FairPlay to third parties?

01/17, 12:05pm

Apple to open up FairPlay?

Apple plans to open up the FairPlay DRM standard used on the iTunes Store, according to claims. Sources tell Tech.co.uk that Apple will make two announcements this week: first that protected AAC files will be streamable via USB, and second that third-party "Made for iPod" manufacturers will have the option of licensing Fairplay for their own use. The result should be more hardware with expanded functionality, such as digital output obtained directly from iTunes, as well as built-in displays of previously protected track information, such as album artwork. Tech speculates that the move could be intended to keep Made for iPod companies onboard, with the appeal of less restrctive players like the Microsoft Zune becoming stronger.

2Degrees Frost offers 11.25TB of storage

01/17, 11:45am

11.25TB network storage

2Degrees Frost Data Solutions has launched a complete networked storage system based on Coraid's EtherDrive SR1520T storage appliance. The company is offering the SR1520T with up to 11.25TB of shared network storage in a free standing tower designed to work with Mac systems. AoE storage uses standard Ethernet without using TCP/IP suited for Mac users that need to share storage in a secure SAN environment with unlimited scalability, according to the company. "As demand for expandable network storage continue to explode, and our markets segments grow we continue to add new products, features and functions to meet those needs," said Jim Kemp, CEO of Coraid. "Our latest introduction, the EtherDrive® SR1520T Storage Appliance, will allow our product line to expand into the Apple market which requires desktop as well as rack-mount technology." The 11.25TB turnkey storage solution ships with the EtherDrive SR1520T storage appliance, 15 SATA II drive modules, Firmware Management Service (FMS), a MacDeploy Services Package for one-on-one support, and a three-year warranty for $14,500.

Sony updates VAIO L series, R Master for Vista

01/17, 11:30am

Sony VAIO R and L on Vista

Preparing its existing PC models for Windows Vista, Sony on Wednesday revamped two of its most exotic PC lines in Japan. The most conspicuous changes are to the VAIO L series, the company's iconic all-in-one system. Newly added are four new 15.4-inch widescreen models tinted with green, pink, silver, and white. As with the earlier 19-inch version, the smaller models fold up to transform into a clock radio with music controlled by a wireless remote. Each of the new versions is equipped with a 1.73GHz Celeron M, 100GB hard disc, and DVD-RW drive. The 15.4-inch L model ships later this month for $1,325.

The larger 19-inch edition has received its own refresh and now becomes Sony's premium PC/TV hybrid. Customized through Sony's website, the range-topping silver model is equipped with a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, Blu-Ray drive, GeForce Go 7600 video, and 300GB of storage. Prices start at $1,450 but increase to $3,315 for the ultimate model, Sony says.

More upgrades follow after the jump.

New AOpen case folds flat for storage

01/17, 11:30am

AOpen F501 case folds flat

Normal computer cases tend to occupy a great deal of space even when they're hollow, and to that end AOpen has designed the F501. The unit ships flat, but panels pull out to form the metal frame of a mid-tower ATX case, and the black exterior is snapped on in seconds. To retain space, the power supply and 4.7-inch fan are optional. Bays in the system hold up to two external and five internal 3.5-inch drives, as well as four external 5.25-inch drives. The front of the case has two USB ports plus mic and headphone inputs. AOpen has yet to say whether they'll offer the 501 in North America, but the case is partly designed with shipping in mind -- AOpen reasons that while a standard 40-foot container might hold 1,000 to 1,200 ordinary mid-towers, up to 2,560 501s could fit in the same space. In theory, this could greatly decrease the cost of the product.

Free YouTube-to-iPod Converter released

01/17, 11:25am

YouTube to iPod Converter

DVDVideoSoft today released its Free YouTube to iPod Converter, enabling Windows users to download as well as convert videos from YouTube for use on Apple's video iPod, SOny's PSP, and modern mobile phones. The software requires only a link to a YouTube video to download the video and convert it into MP4 format, ready for uploading to portable media players. Additionally, users can supply a Flash Video file to convert to the MP4 format within several seconds. DVDVideoSoft's Free YouTube to iPod Converter is available or free, and works with all recent versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows Vista.

Piper Jaffray: Apple to report slight upside

01/17, 10:55am

Slight upside for Apple?

Apple will likely report a slight upside to Wall Street's estimated $0.78 on $6.42 billion today after the market closes, according to Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "Based on our checks with Apple specialist stores and NPD data, we believe Apple will report slightly ahead of expectations for both iPod and Mac units," the analyst wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. Munster points to APple's historic pattern of guiding conservatively, and believes the Cupertino-based company will guide in-line at best with Wall Street's consensus for the March quarter. "The Street will likely not be alarmed by this, given the company's track record of guiding low and beating over the last several quarters," said Munster, who performed checks with 20 Apple specialist stores and expects multiple growth drivers in 2007 and beyond. Piper Jaffray maintains its 'outperform' rating on Apple shares with a price target of $99, which the company says is under evaluation until Apple reveals its holiday quarter financial results this afternoon.

Transcend shows off T.sonic 630

01/17, 10:35am

Transcend T.sonic 630

Transcend has just launched its newest audio player, the flash-based T.sonic 630. Immediately grabbing to some may be the OLED display, which features a white-on-black motif similar to products like the LG/Prada phone collaboration. This in turn contributes to the life of the 630's lithium-ion battery, which is measured at 15 hours. The 630 handles MP3, WAV and WMA/DRM files, but can also record FM, voice and line-in signals. The player comes in 1, 2, and 4GB capacities, colored orchid, white and black, in that order. Prices were unavailable at press time.

Samsung Ultra Music at FCC, due for Sprint soon

01/17, 10:30am

Samsung Ultra Music at FCC

Samsung's recently unveiled Ultra Music phone is all but certain to arrive at Sprint, according to a recently completed FCC filing. The approvals show the clear dual-sided outline of the Korean-made music phone, which features a large display on one face for audio playback and a smaller display on the reverse for phone-only tasks. The documents also reveal its eventual provider, Sprint. Named only the F300 in its native Korea, the Ultra Music in the FCC filing is named the SPH-M620, a title only applicable to the American cell provider Sprint. The carrier launched its SPH-M610 phone late last year.

Also confirmed in the submission are the phone's support for Bluetooth, which requires the 2.4GHz frequency listed in the filing, and a dual-band CDMA radio that works with both 850MHz and 1900MHz cell towers. The Ultra Music is also known to contain a 2-megapixel camera, 100MB of internal flash memory, and an FM radio. No official launch information has been leaked, though full details of the FCC filing will be ready in March, suggesting a mid-spring launch. A photo from the application betryaing the Ultra Music's outline is available after the jump. [via Phone Scoop]

IMSafer parental control comes to Mac OS X

01/17, 10:15am

IMSafer comes to Mac

IMSafer has announced that its parental control software now supports Mac OS X as well as Microsoft's Windows Vista. The company says chose to release a Mac version due to "overwhelming requests from the IMSafer community" and a desire to support the education computing infrastructure. The Mac version of IMSafer supports all of the major IM platforms including Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and iChat. The software aims to serve as a proactive tool for parents that uses language analysis to indicate inappropriate online relationships with children, notifying parents within 90 seconds by email about potential trouble whenever the child is engaged in an online chat. Additionally, parents can leave feedback on people who they believe are having inappropriate conversations with their child, thereby allowing IMSafer to warn other program users about potentially inappropriate online relationships. IMSafer requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and the basic service is available for free.

Divine Fiat releases Stripes, Red Stripe

01/17, 10:00am

Stripes, Red Stripe themes

Divine Fiat has released Stripes, the company's latest theme set offering 'Pinstripes' and 'Red Stripe' for Apple's Keynote presentation software. "Pinstripes features an elegant buisness style while Red Stripe is a visually bold theme. Both themes feature special into and exit animations that bring a 'wow factor' that will help your next Keynote presentation stand out from the crowd." Each theme offers 44 different text and photo layouts, carefully chosen color schemes, customized charge as well as graphs, and custom Kiosk button objects. The themes are available in standard format for $20 or in professional format for $30 each. The Stripes collection is available in standard format for $32 or in professional format for $52.

Klegg reveals Internet HDTV, GPS player, Vista PC

01/17, 9:55am

Klegg Internet HDTV

Klegg this morning unveiled a trio of media playback devices under its Genesis name, including its showcase Internet-enabled TVs. The 40- and 46-inch editions of the set each have an embedded version of Windows XP. The built-in OS lets owners browse the web or check e-mail while connected to a network; the TV will also access media from a host PC. Each TV is equipped for HD video through dual component inputs as well as HDMI and DVI. An ATSC tuner is also part of the system for both analog and digital broadcasts. The Genesis TVs ship soon for $2,899 (40-inch) and $3,599 (46-inch).

Accompanying the HDTVs are the V12 GPS, a hybrid mapping unit and MP3/MP4 music and video player, as well as the Enterastream Vista range of home theater PCs. The latter is a heavily customizable receiver-like system with TV-focused connections such as HDMI and optical audio out; while equipped with as little as a 3GHz Pentium 4, a DVD drive, and a single analog TV tuner, the Klegg-made PC can be equipped with as much as a 2.93GHz Core 2 Duo, a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive, and as many as four analog or digital tuners for recording and playing muiltiple shows at once. A recommended system with Blu-Ray ships for $2,999.

SoundTech unveils LightSnake Podcasting Kit

01/17, 9:50am

LightSnake Podcasting Kit

SoundTech Professional Audio today unveiled the SoundTech Podcasting Kit (site not updated), an easy-to-use package allowing anyone to create and place Podcasts on the Web. The SoundTech Podcasting Kit includes the LightSnake XLR Intelligent Microphone Cable, Sony Acid XMC software with a 1-year Acidplanet Prozone membership, a tripod microphone desk stand, and a professional microphone. The included LightSnake Intelligent XLR Microphone Cable plugs directly into a computer's USB port, reducing the complexity and clutter traditionally associated with digital recording. The LightSnake features SoundTech's patented "Live when Lit" technology cable ends that glow and flash as sound is transmitted, and Sony Acid XMC recording software allows users to easily record as well as edit Podcasts. The included 1-year subscription to Sony Acidplanet Prozone provides Podcast hosting that allows anyone to subscribe and listen to the Podcast. The SoundTech LightSnake Podcasting Kit is due to arrive in the first quarter of 2007, and is priced at $150.

Many Tricks releases yFlicks movie player

01/17, 9:40am

yFlicks movie player

Many Tricks has released yFlicks, a movie player based on the Mac OS X QuickTime Framework. yFlicks enables users to watch movies in standard or full screen mode, organize videos into groups, search as well as rate and browse videos in preview mode, and download YouTube or Google videos to view as flash (which requires the free Perian codec) or export files to other movie formats -- such as those that play on Apple's video iPod for on-the-go movie watchers. yFlicks requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is priced at $19.

Samsung intros touch phone with tactile feedback

01/17, 9:15am

Samsung W559 Touch Phone

Cellphone giant Samsung today revealed the W559, the first handset to combine a touchscreen with tactile cues. Based on a system made by Immersion, the W559 gives different vibration cues as its owner presses onscreen buttons, customizable with up to five different profiles. The feedback makes touching these controls feel more like physical buttons, Immersion says, and also has the side benefit of confirming actions when a portion of the display is obscured by fingers or lights.

Equally important to the phone's design is its hybrid network support. As the W559 works on both CDMA and GSM networks, it roams across most international cellphone providers. A 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and handwriting recognition complete the handset's main features. Samsung says it now offers the phone primarily through China Unicom, whose subscribers regularly need touchscreens for Cantonese and Mandarin text messaging. Other carriers may follow but have not been announced today.

Panasonic updates notebook line for Vista

01/17, 8:40am

Panasonic Vista Notebooks

Panasonic this morning accompanied its fellow Japanese computer makers in updating its computers to match the needs of Windows Vista. Leading the announcements is the company's mid-size Y5 (pictured), a 14-inch, 1400x1050 notebook that balances directly between battery life and performance. The new model uses a low-voltage 1.83GHz Core Duo that offers better power than ULV models but still obtains a full 8.5 hours of battery life, the company claims. An added element of durability also protects the Y5 against keyboard spills, one-foot direct drops, and 220 pounds of sustained pressure.

Also announced were upgrades to the 12-inch W5 and T5 ultraportables, both of which now use a 1.06GHz ultra-low voltage Core Duo; the W5 with its built-in DVD-RW drive nets 10.5 hours of battery life, while the thinner T5 runs for 14 hours on standard battery and 6 with a special lightweight battery that reduces the system's weight to 2.3 pounds. A last update is the R6, Panasonic's smallest system with a 10.4-inch screen. The diminutive PC shares the same CPU as its W5 and T5 counterparts and manages 8 hours' use in spite of its smaller size, Panasonic says.

All four models now share a 60GB hard drive, an SDHC card slot, Windows Vista Business, and Panasonic's characteristic circular trackpad that allows iPod-like touch scrolling at the edges. Pricing is not listed, but the new systems should all be available when Vista ships on January 30th.

DataRestore offers simple data recovery

01/17, 4:25am

TechRestore's DataRestore

TechRestore today announced that it has begun offering a data recovery service for Mac & PC laptops, desktops, iPods, Memory Cards and CD/DVD media. The new service, known as DataRestore, offers an "alternative to traditional high priced data recovery services." DataRestore simplifies the entire data recovery process, by offering door-to-door pickup from any location in the continental U.S., optional overnight analysis and shipping, and a "no recovery, no charge" service guarantee (shipping charges still apply). "While most data recovery companies love to operate in vague terms, with lots of technical jargon to throw you off the fact that you're going to be hit hard in your pocketbook, DataRestore brings you easy to understand pricing," said Shannon Jean, Founder and President of TechRestore. Pricing starts at $100 for iPods, $90 for memory cards and DVD media, $200-$300 for stadnard laptop/desktop drive recovery, and $400-$500 for complex data recovery. The company also offers "clean room" reconstruction of drives for between $800 and $900.

Web widget-to-Dashboard conversion

01/17, 4:15am

Amnesty Generator ships

Mesa Dynamics today announced the official release of Amnesty Generator 1.0, a free utility for Mac OS X that converts Web widgets, gadgets, badges and videos into Dashboard widgets. Like their desktop widget counterparts, Web widgets are mini-applications, such as games, gadgets and embeddable video--packaged in HTML code snippets designed for use in blogs, homepages and social networking profile pages. Mesa's Amnesty Generator converts Web widget code directly into Dashboard widgets, allowing the web content to run natively in Mac OS X without the need for a hosted page. In order to simplify the conversion process, Amnesty Generator 1.0 includes an "Autofill" feature and detailed instructions supporting widgets from over 30 websites including Google Gadgets, PicGames and YouTube. Amnesty Generator 1.0 is a "Universal" application that requires Mac OS X 10.3.9.

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