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Apple's 'iPhone' problems
Apple could face yet another lawsuit over the use of the iPhone moniker for its forthcoming "revolutionary" mobile phone. Announced earlier this month, Apple apparently snubbed a protracted period of good-faith negotiations with Cisco, by announcing the product at Macworld Expo with a US launch date of June. A new report says that Apple will likely face iPhone branding problems in Canada as well. Bloomberg reports that Comwave Telecom has used the iPhone brand since 2004 to sell Internet phone service to its customers and filed documents opposing Apple's motion to take the name. Despite reports on Thursday that confirmed Rogers Wireless would serve as the sole provider for Apple's iPhone in Canada, the company has not formally announced plans to ship the iPhone in Canada.
AirPort Extreme patch
Apple today released an update to its WiFi drivers and software for some Intel-based Macs: the AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 is recommended for all Intel-based Macs and provides compatibility with AirPort Extreme base stations and networks. Designed for users of both the server and client versions of Mac OS X 10.4.8 Tiger, it patches a vulnerability that enables attackers on the wireless network to cause system crashes. Specifically, an out-of-bounds memory read may occur while handling wireless frames, Apple said. "An attacker in local proximity may be able to trigger a system crash by sending a maliciously-crafted frame to an affected system. The company said that the issue affects the Core Duo version of Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro equipped with wireless connectivity, but that other systems, including the Core 2 Duo versions are not affected. According to the release notes, the update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of wireless frames.
Apple backs off Manhattan
Apple is backing off its plan to build a multi-level store on 34th St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues. According to Forbes, Apple is having second thoughts on its third retail store after leasing space from a joint venture between SL Green Realty Trust and developer Jeff Sutton. The company is reportedly wary of the location's coolness and had plans to put the site up for sublease. Previous reports indicate that Apple's third retail location would be a new 30,000-square-foot, four-story retail outlet with about 75 feet of frontage along 34th St. Reports indicate that Apple was willing to pay rent of about $5.5 million a year and go through many hoops to procure the location.
Citrix lawsuit unlikely
Citrix, a company that sells visual voicemail software for smart phones, has expressed no interest in filing a lawsuit against the Cupertino-based company for using the "visual voicemail" name. The visual voicemail software developed by Citrix serves the same basic function as the identically-named feature built into Apple's recently introduced iPhone, but the company said that the term is generic enough to ignore potential trademark filings. "The term Visual Voicemail is used to describe one of the features of the Citrix Voice Office application suite for users of IP telephones," the company told The Register. "We have been using this term for a number of years as Net6 and then as Citrix. As this term is used generically in the industry by a number of other vendors, we have not registered it as a trademark. Given the value of this capability for users, we support the broad use of the term to increase its visibility with our customers and the broader user community."
Free service with iPhone?
Briefly: TheStreet.com analyst Jim Cramer speculates that AT&T will be giving away 18 months of service with the iPhone to attract customers from other carriers: "the company made it very clear that it's going to use Apple's iPhone to get customers from Verizon Wireless by giving away its service for a year and a half to those customers who buy the phone."... Other World Computing (OWC) today announced lowered pricing on its Mercury On-The-Go FireWire 400+USB 2.0 line, with new prices now starting at $115 (up to $20 off); the OWC Mercury On-The-Go line offers up to 200GB of data capacity in a reliable, performance solution that weighs less than 12 ounces and ships with Prosoft DataBackup II.... ThoughtOut is offering 25 percent off all PED products from now until January 31st, including its iPod and other device pedestal stands that offer solid steel quality and other unique design features.
Civ IV; oXygen; Wx
Civilization IV 1.61 Rev B ($50) is the latest version of the Firaxis game of global conquest. Among the changes is multiplayer compatibility with PCs, and a host of graphics fixes, including better support for Nvidia GeForce cards. Owners of the Warlords expansion pack can download the complementary 1.0 Rev B patch here.
[Download - 14.83MB]
oXygen XML Editor 8.1 ($48) features several sub-applications as well, such as the Debugger, Source Editor, and the Tree Viewer/Editor. Version 8.1 adds a NVDL (Namespace-based Validation Dispatching Language) editor, as well as an "Input View" mode for XQuery files. Also new is the ability to copy Excel tab data into the Grid Editor. oXygen requires Mac OS X 10.3 and Java 1.4.2. [Download - 34.5MB]
Wx 4.1 ($10) presents maps, forecasts, radar images, and other weather data from the National Weather Service and other US sources. The updated program uses a multi-threaded engine for better performance, and displays "feels like" temperatures for each location. Though these improvements require Mac OS X 10.4, users can still download Wx 4.01 if they're using Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 1.2MB]
QPict 7.0.1 ($35) is a tool for searching, organizing and processing media files, including sounds, fonts, movies, RAW images and more. The v7.0.1 release supports FLV (Flash video) files, and improves the appearance of icons and the About box. Mac OS X 10.3 is required, but it's recommended that users have 10.3.9. [Download - 9.4MB]
Jedit X 1.38 ($28) is a text editor with special Mac OS X functions, such as Automator and Spotlight support. The latest revision boasts a new encoding sniffer for traditional Chinese, and removes a bug that caused the program to fail with Mac OS X 10.3.8. Owners can also save documents in the "UTF-16LE/BE with BOM" format. [Download - 15.8MB]
Speed Download 4.1.9 ($25) is a download manager with features such as browser integration, auto-resuming downloads, and its own FTP client. The v4.1.9 client introduces a major overhaul to the file-handling code, producing more accurate download management. Minor tweaks address various user complaints. Mac OS X 10.4.6 is mandatory. [Download - 6.2MB]
iPhone voicemail for Macs
CallWave has released a dashboard widget for Mac OS X Tiger that offers visual voicemail for mobile phones. Through visual voicemail users can see, sort, and listen to cellular phone messages from the desktop. The widget works with most U.S. cellular carriers including Cingular, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Call that aren't taken forward to CallWave, which records the message and displays it in the widget. The CallWave Mobile Pro ($10/mo. subscription) lets users dial an activation code, enabling the phone to send unanswered calls to CallWave while allowing users to listen to voicemail messages as they are left to screen calls. Subscribers to the Pro service also have access to toll-free telephone support during business hours. CallWave requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and the widget is available with basic service for free as a digital download from Apple's website.
Wow Wee's increasingly popular Robosapien toy will soon be joined by a couple of themed versions, tied to movie releases. Click below for photos. The first is the Spidersapien, built to coincide with Spiderman 3. The robot has been given the hero's traditional costume, and comes loaded with a number of famous Spiderman quotes, rather than the Robosapien's stock vocabulary. It also pretends to shoot webs while making sound effects. The other robot, meanwhile, is the Homersapien, which should launch around the same time as the Simpsons movie. This robot also has a new vocabulary, but other than samples and appearance, should behave fairly similarly to the basic Robosapien. The Spidersapien should be out by May, while the Homersapien will be out by July. [Via Pocket-lint]
Happy Hacking Lite 2 Mac
Fujitsu on Thursday released the Happy Hacking Lite 2 for Mac, the latest version of its well-known hobbyist's keyboard. The input device is only half the size of normal keyboards but still includes the essential Command and Option keys specific to the Mac as well as a set of arrow keys. The diminutive stature makes it an ideal fit for a Mac mini, Fujitsu says. Its enhusiast roots are also reflected in software drivers that allow owners to visually reassign keys by dragging and dropping functions over the keyboard. A two-port USB 1.1 hub is built in for attaching a mouse or other low-power peripherals.
The keyboard works with any USB-equipped Mac and launches today in Japan for $52 with either English or Japanese Kana characters. A North American launch is certain given the popularity of earlier Happy Hacking boards with Western buyers, according to Fujitsu.
Free AT&T With iPhone
AT&T plans to offer 18 months of free cellphone service with the iPhone, according to a claim by TheStreet's Jim Cramer. Referring to a recent AT&T financial conference call, the presenter said that AT&T would tie Apple's device to a year and a half of free service. Executives see the touchscreen phone as a prime opportunity to steal customers away from Verizon and other key rivals in the US market, Cramer said.
While Apple did not mention such a plan during the MacWorld San Francisco keynote, announcing only that the phone would be available from $499 with a two-year plan, the apparently confirmed plan has already sent ripples through the community, according to preliminary results from an ongoing poll by AppleInsider. The news and rumor site indicates that over 75 percent of potential buyers would be more likely to buy the phone, indicating a likely surge in real-world sales should the free service come about during the June launch of the iPhone.
Netherlands pursues Apple
The Netherlands has joined Norway, Sweden, and Finland alongside France and Germany in an effort to hold Apple accountable for locking customers into using its portable media players and iTunes software when purchasing audio tracks via its iTunes Music Store. The Dutch Consumer Ombudsman lodged complaints with the Dutch anti-trust agency as well as ConsumentenAutoriteit -- the newly formed Dutch Consumer Authority -- which will act as the enforcer of 15 European consumer protection directives, according to The Register. The Scandinavian-led effort charges that Apple's iTunes violates Norway's consumer law, and that the company must change its policy by September 30th or face legal ramifications.
Toshiba 911T with Oakley
Cellphone provider Softbank today unveiled its Spring 2007 phones, and in doing so also marked the introduction of a new Toshiba media phone. The 911T slider centers around a relatively sharp 3-inch, 480x480 widescreen useful for watching mobile TV on Japan's 1Seg network and sharing the same underpinnings as the company's Regza LCD televisions. A 3.2-megapixel camera is present, as with some of the newest phones; however, Toshiba says, the 911T adds anti-shake correction to stabilize often blurry cameraphone images. Storage for media is supplied through 1GB of internal flash as well as a microSD card slot, either of which can be used to record TV shows for later viewing. Special attention is also given to Internet access. Unlike most phones, a full HTML browser is preloaded for viewing pages intact and takes advantage of the full speed of Softbank's 3.6Mbps HSDPA broadband connection.
The phone will be available through Softbank in black, bronze, silver, and white hues as of March. Each will be accompanied by a set of Oakley's O ROKR Bluetooth sunglasses, providing stereo sound for calls and music. Pricing is unavailable. A photo showing the four colors of the 911T is available after the jump. [via MobileWhack]
Genuine Fractals 5 beta
onOne Software has released Genuine Fractals 5 Public Beta, a major update to its image resizing application that brings improved speed alongside enhanced rendering quality and new image controls. The latest revision supports Adobe Photoshop CS2 as well as CS3 Beta on Mac OS X systems and Photoshop CS2 as well as CS3 Beta and Elements 4 or 5 on Microsoft Windows XP/Vista systems. Genuine Fractals enables users to scale images up to 800 percent without causing degradation, and supports batch processing with Photoshop Actions. The software is designed to approach the scaling problem by evaluating the image, sampling a larger area of the image than the bicubic methods to determine new color values, and adjusting color values to resemble the original image. Genuine Fractals 5 Public Beta runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
GTX Xplorer GPS Shoes
GTX today provided an early glimpse of its Xplorer Smart GPS shoes. The runners include their own GPS transmitter and regularly broadcast their position to a central service, helping track progress as well as location. Meant for closely following the locations of children and patients, the shoes also have a distinct dual-mode virtual fence that can be changed based on the exact limitations. A green-zone fence will warn when the shoes' wearer ventures outside of a predefined area; in just the opposite approach, a red-zone fence will raise an alert if the shoes are brought into pre-marked dangerous areas.
The footwear even ties into cellphone service, according to GTX, and will send a text message if boundaries are crossed. Battery levels are also relayed wirelessly to prevent the signal from going silent without warning. A typical full charge of the power supply is estimated to last several days. Pricing and availability for the Xplorer shoe remains unknown, but should be clarified at the company's public unveiling on February 1st.
OPPO V5 media player
Expected to launch in the first quarter of this year, the OPPO V5 is an extremely compact media player, having the same length and width as a credit card. The thickness is a mere 0.4 inches. Few other facts have been leaked for the moment, but we do know that the screen is a three-inch, 16:9 LCD, for which the controls have been moved to the panel just above, in order to preserve space. MP4 video playback will be supported, and the body has a metallic finish. No prices or exact release dates for the V5 have been mentioned. [Via iMP3]
Rogers, iPhone carrier
Rogers Wireless today announced that it will serve as the sole provider for Apple's iPhone in Canada, according to an e-mail message sent by the company to some of its customers. Confirming early investigations, Rogers said that it alone will offer the iPhone in the country and that it was actively working with Apple to speed the launch. Wording in the e-mail may also point to a sooner than expected release, according to Electronista. Canada traditionally trails behind the U.S. by several months for high-profile phone releases, but Rogers' email said that the iPhone will first be introduced in North America, raising the possibility that the handset may ship to Canada in advance of an expected October European launch. Rogers is closely associated with AT&T, which will be the sole provider to offer the iPhone in the U.S.
60GB 1.8-inch drive debuts
Samsung today debuted its SpinPoint N series of 1.8-inch hard drive designed for digital media players -- such as Apple's video iPod -- and ultra-portable notebooks. The drive is the first to achieve 60GB of storage on a single platter through perpendicular magnetic recording, and measures only 5mm (0.2 inches) thick. The new drive also marks the first time such storage is feasible without resorting to a much thicker dual-platter case, according to Samsung. The N series equally represents one of the first lines of hard disks to support the recently created CE-ATA standard built specifically for handhelds and other consumer electronics, and the company said it has already begun shipping the new SpinPoint in its flagship 60GB model as well as 20GB, 30GB, and 40GB versions.
Alba Timeshift MP3 Player
Alba today hopes to offer a more advanced flash music player named the PRDAB210MP3. Instead of using FM radio as a secondary feature, the Alba tunes the digital audio broadcast (DAB) stations popular in Europe. As with satellite radio in North America, the digital nature of the stream gives finer control over playback, according to Alba: an owner can scrub back or forwards through a station's broadcast as well as record sessions for posterity. Up to 20 station presets can be held for quicker access.
For use outside of radio, the Alba player can also play back existing MP3 and WMA songs, including protected files from Napster and other online stores. Power is supplied through a single AA battery, which lasts for 14 hours of continuous DAB radio or 50 hours of pre-recorded music. Online retailer Argos sells the jukebox for $167. [via Tech Digest]
MacBook Leather U-Suit
iShoppo.com is offering a new leather cover for Apple's MacBook created by Uniea, dubbed the "Leather U-Suit." The protective case attaches to the top and bottom of the MacBook to prevent damage from daily use and protect the notebook from dirt as well as abrasive surfaces. The leather's soft outer texture overlays a hard inner ABS plastic material to reduce the effects of sudden impacts, and the interior of the Leather U-Suit is lined with soft protective materials to prevent scratching. The cover provides access to all ports on the left and right side of the laptop, negating the need to remove the case to plug in peripherals or the power adapter. The Leather U-Suit is designed to accommodate thermal exchange to ensure the notebook remains cool, and is available in four colors that include white, gray, blue, and red (pricing was unavailable).
Matrox Extio F1220
The heat and noise of computer cases can be problematic, and to that end Matrox has announced the Extio F1220, a remote unit that lets owners move a case to a different part of a room, or even a building -- up to 820 feet of fiber-optic cable can be used. PCI and PCIe interface cards are sold separately. Partly because of this connection type, little lag should occur. Truly important local devices plug directly into the Extio, which can support up to two 1080p monitors, two FireWire ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and a variety of audio jacks including optical S/PDIF. Audio hardware is built in. The F1220 should ship in the second quarter of 2007 with pricing available on a request basis. [approximate pricing removed at request of manufacturer]
Zen Neeon 2 Valentine
Creative today opened up sales of a limited, Valentine's Day Edition of its Zen Neeon 2. The 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB versions of the flash player can now receive one of six visual designs that match the romantic themes of the holiday, sitting just above the space for an engraved personal message. The custom design is currently for Japan alone but adds only $12 to the base price regardles of the specific model. The personal message is free and optional, Creative says. Click through for a larger photo. [via New Launches]
iPhone to improve in time
Apple's first iteration of the iPhone may have its weak points, but the company is likely to refine the device into a highly successful gadget of necessity as it did with the first iPod released in 2001, according BusinessWeek columnist Arik Hesseldahl. The Cupertino-based company's first-generation iPod experienced a rough start as it launched in the midst of a recession in the technology sector, but soon blossomed into what would become the 600-pound gorilla of the digital music player market. "History may soon repeat itself," Hesseldahl said as he addressed several popular iPhone complaints, pointing to spotty wireless service from all providers as well as the incentive for Cingular to clean up its act in as many ways as possible prior to the device launching in June to make a good impression for early adopters. Several reports recently surfaced suggesting that Apple is already working on a second iPhone, and that the new device will improve upon the first-generation iPhone even as Apple prepares to ship its first-generation cellular handset in June.
"All-in-one" media player
If you're willing to carry it with you, the eMotion Portable Media Player DVD by MediaStreet can play virtually any type of content you might want. Aside from playing standard CDs and DVDs, it can also read ones loaded with photos, or MP3 and WMA audio, and DivX, VCD and MPEG-4 video. Since memory cards are becoming increasingly prevalent of course, it can also read the SD, MMC and Memory Stick formats directly, or other formats (such as CF) through an external USB reader. The USB 2.0 port can even be used to access files on portable hard drives. Red, silver and black versions are currently being sold online for $130; a special edition loaded with Public Enemy/SLAMjamz tracks will ship in the second quarter.
Cisco CEO on Apple suit
Cisco CEO John Chambers described the company's lawsuit against Apple as a "minor skirmish," saying that the iPhone name-related confrontation could have been avoided if Apple had been willing to negotiate. Cisco owned the 'iPhone' trademark since 2000 when it acquired a firm that had registered the name, but waited to use the name until it launched a Linksys-branded product. "We told Apple for five years, 'This is our trademark. We'll license it to you, but it is ours,'" Chambers said. "All we ask is that people respect our trademarks and our intellectual property. We would have traded that for just interoperability, or the ability of the Apple phone to work smoothly with Cisco products." Cisco's chief also said that his company normally resolved trademark disputes "very smoothly," but that Apple has become difficult to deal with, according to the International Herald Tribune.
iPhone Rogers Exclusive
Rogers Wireless continued the flurry of iPhone news on Thursday by stating that it will be the sole provider for the iPhone in Canada, according to an e-mail message sent by the company to some of its customers. Confirming early investigations, Rogers said that it alone would offer the iPhone in the country and that it was actively working with Apple to speed the launch.
Wording in the e-mail may also point to a release sooner than expected. Although Canada traditionally lags behind the US by several months for high-profile phone releases, which would all but ensure a delay to 2008, Rogers said in the e-mail that the iPhone will first be introduced in North America, raising the possibility that the handset may ship to Canada in advance of an expected October European launch. Rogers is closely associated with AT&T, which will be the only provider to offer the iPhone in the US.
ABI on iPhone
The iPhone is not a true smartphone, according to a study published today by ABI Research. Though the Apple device runs Mac OS X at its core, its creator's intention to close the platform and block third-party software from being freely installed prevents the iPhone from living up to common expectations of what a smartphone can do. The handset is instead a "very high-end feature phone," ABI's Philip Solis said, referring to devices where only the carrier or designer chooses what core software can be installed. This may put Apple at a disadvantage when compared directly with rivals at the same $500 price level.
"Sure, feature phones have third party applications too," Solis commented. "but these are relatively weak and limited applications... applications designed for smartphones can be written to access core functionality from the OS itself, and are therefore usually more powerful and efficient."
The research firm also warned Apple that it could not simply lean on its iPod expertise to muscle its way into the phone market. “Consumers will not be willing to settle for a second-rate cell phone just to have superior music," said ABI's Stuart Carlaw. ABI observes that Apple's lack of history compared to industry veterans will pose a major challenge that the company will need to overcome if it hopes to survive in the phone business.
MacNN review, FileMaker
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger ($50 or $75 bundle, shown at right), enabling users to produce a convenient power source on-the-go.... FileMaker today announced that its FileMaker Pro 8.5 database solution was selected as a finalist for a 2007 Codie Award as chosen by members of the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA).... Big Nerd Ranch today announced a second winter offering of its Cocoa Bootcamp, scheduled for March 12-16th as a five-day intensive class held in a retreat-like setting outside Atlanta, GA.... Intel has announced that it will upgrade the wireless adapter inside its Centrino Duo laptops to support the next-generation 802.11n wireless specification.... FileMaker has released a new eBook titled "Creating a Database in FileMaker Pro 8: Visual QuickProject Guide" that is available via download.... RE:Vision Effects has announced that the company founders are to be honored with a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on February 10th in Los Angeles.
Phone sabotages thieves
When someone steals a cellphone, there's often little that can be done to stop them, since even if the number is cancelled, they can probably swap in a new SIM card and keep using it. The Tianyu B832 promises to help by sending an SMS message when the card is replaced, identifying the thief's new phone number. Users must be able to keep their old number for their new phone, but this feature will also allow the stolen phone to be locked down when it comes back to the network.
The B832 is impressive in other regards as well: it has a two-megapixel camera, a 2.4-inch QVGA screen, Bluetooth A2DP, and a microSD expansion. The camera can further be used as a webcam when linked with a computer. The phone is being sold in Hong Kong and the rest of China for approximately $225. [Via Mobile Magazine]
New Apple patent filings
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published a continuation patent for Apple as well as two patent applications related to a 'bottom-loading' optical disc drive. The continuation patent, titled "Computer interface having a virtual single-layer mode for viewing overlapping objects," describes the Expose feature in Mac OS X to show and hide multiple windows simultaneously. The two new patent applications are titled "Access system for a portable device" and "Disk drive media access system," presenting readers with an overview of potential future notebooks that would implement a bottom-side optical disk drive to further slim down the portable computers.
Samsung 60GB 1 8-inch
Samsung this morning unveiled its SpinPoint N series, a line of 1.8-inch hard drives destined for digital media players and ultraportable notebooks. The miniscule disk is the first to achieve 60GB of storage on a single platter through perpendicular magnetic recording and measures only 5mm (0.2 inches) thick. This is the first time such storage is feasible without resorting to a much thicker dual-platter case, Samsung says. The N series equally represents one of the first lines of hard disks to support the recently created CE-ATA standard built specifically for handhelds and other consumer electronics. The company said it has already begun shipping the new SpinPoint in its flagship 60GB model as well as 20GB, 30GB, and 40GB versions.
The implementation may signal upgrades later this year for the iPod and other key video-capable jukeboxes, as it increases the minimum amount of storage for even the thinnest devices. Many larger hard drive-based players rely on two platters or even separate disks, Samsung says, opening the door to 120GB players at the high end.
FCC confirms Nokia E61i
Confirming earlier reports, the Federal Communications Commission has published filings related to the Nokia E61i. The basic E61 is a European smartphone; though not every device approved by the FCC makes it to the US market, this does suggest that Americans will finally be able to get their hands on some of the same technology. The E61i should be a quad-band GSM phone, and will at least support EDGE broadband, with UMTS being a possibility given its presence in the E61. Other rumoured features (such as a camera) have yet to be confirmed. [Via Phone Scoop]
Samsung B6550 and TV Guide
LG's cellphone service LGT released both a new phone as well as a new guide to help manage the exploding growth of mobile TV. The B6550 stems from Samsung's Anycall line and is the first dual-action folding phone to support digital broadcast TV. An enhanced version of the US-bound U740, the handset uses its double-hinged display to its advantage for video. It can be opened normally for data and other text-based functions, LG says; opening it laterally, however, creates a more natural widescreen display for DMB TV and pre-recorded clips. The phone otherwise shares many of its American counterpart's elements and integrates a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and external music controls for when the phone is closed.
The B6550 also represents the first phone from LGT to carry the DMB Channel Guide, the carrier said. Subscribers to Internet plans can use their connections to download detailed schedule information about current and upcoming programs for on the 16 channels LGT offers, applying equally to TV and radio. The service is not limited to the B6550 but is tailored to use the dual-folding modes to its advantage. LG says the Guide along with black and silver versions of the B6550 will debut soon.
Olympus unveils cameras
Olympus today unveiled several new point-and-shoot cameras which include the SP-550UZ, a high-end model that the company says is the first of its kind with 18X optical zoom. The 7.1-megapixel camera offers an equivalent focal length of 28-504mm, enabling users to take photos from far enough away to avoid disrupting most scenes without also affecting image quality. The new addition to Olympus' UltraZoom line also features an extremely high-speed burst mode for sports and other fast-action scenes that captures 1.2-megapixel shots as quickly as 15 frames per second. Dual image stabilization is handled through shifting the CCD as well as high ISO settings (up to 5,000), according to Electronista, and the device is powered by four AA batteries. The Olympus SP-550UZ supports xD-PictureCards for storage and is slated for shipment in February for $750, but should reach a price of $500 prior to its U.S. release.
PS3 Rest-of-World Launch
Sony early this morning revealed the final launch details for the PlayStation 3 in every region that uses the PAL format for TV. Africa, Australasia, Europe, and the Middle East will all see the Blu-Ray-based console ship on March 23rd. A total of one million of the systems will be available across all these areas, Sony said. The console maker has set Europe-wide pricing at €599 ($776); Britain will offer the PS3 for £425, while Australia and New Zealand will receive the system for $1,000 and $1,200 respectively.
Controversially, Sony has also confirmed that none of these areas will receive the lower-cost 20GB model on launch, noting that the majority of existing sales in North America and Japan were of the higher-end 60GB version. The company also does not plan to ship its less expensive model to these areas in the future, Sony spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka said. The decision raises the minimum price significantly compared to other areas, in some cases almost doubling the $499 price of the 20GB US PlayStation 3.
Faronics Power Save 1.5
Faronics on Thursday released Power Save Mac 1.5, a software tool that gives administrators the ability to set up customized energy-usage schedules and intelligent inactivity settings which enhance and extend the Energy Saver found within the Mac OS X System Preferences. Power Save Mac can schedule shutdowns, startups, sleeps and wakes by day, weekend, weekday, or a specific date. Administrators can utilize Power Save Mac to save on energy costs associated with running a multiple workstation environment. These savings may also be impacted by the extended life of computer hardware across the enterprise. Power Save Mac can be managed at the workstation level or remotely via Apple Remote Desktop (ARD). Power Save Mac is priced at $12 per computer including one-year maintenance package; discounts for education are available as well as a 30-day evaluation version.
OnScreen DNA 1.2
OnScreen Science has released three editions of OnScreen DNA 1.2, its interactive 3D visualization software designed to place understanding of the structure and workings of DNA within easy reach of Mac users. OnScreen DNA Lite deals with the structural details of DNA, including its double helix geometry and chemical components and bonds. OnScreen DNA adds 3D simulations of the critical DNA processes of replication and gene transcription. OnScreen DNA Pro enables users to take control of those simulations by activating the proper enzymes and selecting and dragging into position the building blocks needed to construct a double helix. The latest release of all three editions run natively on Intel-based Macs as Universal Binaries, and include minor bug fixes. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, with the Lite ($50), Standard ($150), and Pro ($200) editions available online.
Olympus Early 2007 Cameras
Camera maker Olympus today overhauled large portions of its camera lineup with several new point-and-shoot models. Topping the announcements is the SP-550UZ (pictured), a high-end model the company says is the first of its kind with 18X optical zoom. With an equivalent focal length of 28-504mm, the 7.1-megapixel camera can take photos from far enough away to avoid disrupting most scenes without also affecting image quality. The new addition to Olympus' UltraZoom line also has an extremely high-speed burst mode for sports and other fast-action scenes that will capture 1.2-megapixel shots as quickly as 15 frames per second. Dual image stabilization is handled through shifting the CCD as well as high ISO settings (up to 5,000). Powered by four AA batteries and using xD-PictureCards for storage, the SP-550UZ will ship in February for £375 ($737) but should reach closer to $500 for its US release.
Details and photos of Olympus' first ISO 10,000 camera as well as the rest of its upgraded compact models follow after the jump.
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