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New AirPort Extreme ships
Apple today began shipping its new 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme Base Station, only a few weeks after it was announced at the Expo and slightly ahead of its previously anticipated late February timeframe. Apple confirmed shipments of the revamped $179 wireless access point in an email to customers and began telling others that they can expect shipments within the next few weeks. "Apple today began shipping our new AirPort Extreme Base Station (802.11n)," the company wrote in an email to one MacNN reader. "We are delighted to tell you that we plan to ship your AirPort Extreme Base Station (802.11n) two weeks earlier than we had anticipated. We now plan to ship your product on or before Wednesday, February 14. No action on your part is required." Earlier this week, the company offered users of some Intel Core 2 Duo-based Macs the ability to enable the faster, more advanced wireless protocol on their Macs through a software enabler available from the company's online store for $1.99.
iPod success claims victim
The success of Apple's iPod is evident in many walks of life, from Major League Baseball to smokey Japanese Jazz coffee shops. The Colorado Rockies in mid-June of 2006 adopted Apple's video iPod as a means for players to cram information and review plays before games, bringing the portable media player beyond the personal entertainment realm. "It's a good way to refresh yourself on how you got guys out," said pitcher Jason Jennings. "It's an amazing concept." In addition to spreading into the Major League as well as major educational institutions as a learning aid, the iPod is affecting the entire music industry on a global scale by influencing the prices of physical album sales, according to one report.
Forums January 31
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the release of the new line of colored iPod shuffles, which several users have confirmed to include new headphones.... Other users are discussing the report from one user who claims Mac OS X looks 'less sharp' than Windows on his MacBook Pro.... One future Mac owner is wondering if the MacBook can run World of Warcraft and if so how well with 2GBs of RAM.... Other members responding to "How many people have you convinced to buy a MacBook?".... Meanwhile, some members are speculating as to what the next Mac Pro revision will bring in terms of both CPU and GPU.
Zune screens cracking?
Forwarded by a call center employee, a tip suggests that Microsoft may be dealing with an unusual number of cracked Zune screens. According to the anonymous account, a number of callers have been complaining about Zunes whose screens cracked after being left to charge overnight. The source believes that this could be due to the position of the lithium-ion battery in the player, which is directly behind the LCD, and may be expanding far enough to put pressure on the screen. This is unconfirmed however, and Microsoft does not consider the problem to be within warranty coverage. Other Zune owners have also disputed the claim, noting that their own Zunes have been charged for hours or days at a time without trouble. [Via Engadget]
Inkless portable printer
Polaroid is continuing its return to the consumer market with an upcoming portable printer, made by a spinoff subsidiary called Zink. Like the cameras that made Polaroid famous, the printer will not require any ink of its own; users will instead need to buy special Zink paper, which contains dye crystals that only activate at the right temperature. The printer should be roughly the same size as an iPod and will connect via USB or Bluetooth, enabling cellphones and other portable devices to print directly. No timeframe for a release has been set, but Polaroid is hoping to keep the cost under $100. [Via The Next Big Thing]
ABI on Cellphone Demand
Cellphone makers have misjudged the market, says a new report by New York-based ABI Research. While many designers are focusing on HSDPA and other 3G wireless Internet connections, most of the buyers looking beyond basic phones are more interested in media playback and style, the analysts say. Though sales of cellphones reached one billion units in 2006, Internet-focused phones such as the Nokia E61 actually suffered from lower sales in the year, baffling many expectations. Phone owners are also "fickle" when it came to fashion, ABI's Stuart Carlaw notes: while Motorola's RAZR may have saved the company years ago, it no longer has its early appeal.
Predicting the future, the researchers specifically singled out the iPhone as one of the phones standing the best chance of success. The Apple handset not only emphasizes its iPod-like media functions but should also do well because it breaks from the conventional lineups that no longer interest them, ABI writes. In contrast, the report bodes ill for the recently unveiled RAZR V3xx and other devices that rely almost exclusively on their 3G support as a selling point.
MacNN review, Divine Fiat
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Apricorn 60GB Aegis Mini Ultra USB Portable HDD ($190, shown at right), a portable hard drive that is compatible with Apple G3 or newer systems that requires only a free USB port and 32MB of memory; the device requires no external power supply, and comes with an integrated 4- to 5-foot USB cable.... Divine Fiat has released its "Red Stripe" Keynote theme in other colors due to popular demand; the company is offering its Stripes Redux theme set which includes Green Stripe and Blue Stripe (below).... The cost of an album at Apple's iTunes Music Store is likely determining the overall cost of physical CDs, according to an anonymous industry contact; the benchmark $10 price for an album through iTunes is has forced major record labels to heavily discount their higher-profile releases to compete.
Canon HV20 HDV camera
Canon on Wednesday unveiled the HV20, its second HDV camera for the mainstream. The companion to the earlier HV10 brings features normally reserved for professional cameras, according to the camera designer. Electronista reports that the HV20 adds HDMI output, allowing it to display a native 1080i widescreen image with audio on an HDTV through a single cable. Sensitivity has also been increased on the 3-megapixel sensor for low-light shooting, jumping from 5 to 3 lux even with a short 1/30 second shutter speed.
Swedish design firm Mousetrapper today announced the Mousetrapper Advance, a unique mouse replacement that builds a trackpad into a palmrest. This gives a notebook-style control scheme to almost any desktop keyboard. The design is specially crafted to keep a computer user's hands on the home row of the keyboard while they type and reduce the cramping or other repetitive stress, its creator says. The position suits both left- and right-handed typists and is a straightforward USB add-on that works with both Macs and Windows PCs. It ships today in the UK for Ł170 ($333) and should spread to other regions soon. [via TechShout]
YouTube to host Bowl ads
With advertising for the Super Bowl having become more culturally significant than the game, Google executive Rich Godwin has announced that all of the new commercials will be hosted on YouTube, following the airing of Super Bowl XLI this Sunday. The videos will be hosted on a special Wrap Up section of the website, but should otherwise be treated like any other YouTube clip, with the ability to rate and watch them as often as desired at no cost. Should users forget, the Wrap Up will also be linked from the Google frontpage. Godwin points out that for advertisers, YouTube is an ideal method of ensuring continuing airplay for an otherwise short-lived campaign.
Vista SP1 Bends for EU
Microsoft on Wednesday agreed to make changes to Vista to avoid further retaliation by European Union over anti-competitive practices, according to news from Tech Digest. Bowing to pressure from Real, Symantec, and other firms, the Redmond company has agreed to rework its next service pack to meet its challengers' expectations. Higher-profile developers will have the option of a special software kit that will let them bypass Vista's PatchGuard, a technology meant to prevent malware from changing the OS itself but which has been attacked for shutting out non-Microsoft security tools from the deeper layers of the OS. Microsoft is also set to use Service Pack 1 to fulfill its earlier promise of a Vista edition stripped of Windows Media Player and will also give greater control over Internet Explorer 7's search engine choices, the report said.
The OS developer has been repeatedly asked to change the preloaded software for Windows in recent years, adding a program default control panel to Windows XP and allowing system builders to change browser and e-mail programs.
Dominions, iClip, Equinox
Dominions 3.06 ($60) brings native compatibility with Intel-based Macs to the real-time strategy game challenging players to lead one of more than 50 nations in three different ages. Players must ascend to true 'godhood' via acquired power, attaining victory in numerous ways within a world of magic and steel. The update includes numerous changes related to modding, a new spell for Man, and several bug fixes.
[Download - 121MB]
iClip 4 ($30) signals a major update to the multiple clipboard and scrapbook software, boasting a completely redesigned interface. The free upgrade for registered users of any previous version is a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel-based Macs, and features significant performance optimizations. The software enables users to keep a history of the clipboard to copy multiple times before having to paste. [Download - 13.6MB]
Equinox 6.3 ($50) is a Universal planetarium application offering features for beginner as well as advanced astronomers. The software offers filters for organizing deep sky objects, as well as numerous control to adjust the sky display with a window that simulates a telescope's view. Users can also build a tour, controlling a telescope to travel from object to object with voice commands while watching on a webcam. [Download - 41.1MB]
iMaginator 3.2 ($50) enhances the image processing and painting application that supports non-destructive image editing in real-time. The upgrade is free for registered users, and ensures each overlayed image or text can have its own chain of sub effects to support independent effects in different parts of the canvas. The latest release also enables users to apply sub-chains to sub effects of text or image types. [Download - 11MB]
NoteMind 1.4.0 ($20) includes a "QuickAdd" feature that enables users to add new notes and to-do items by pressing the F2 key to bring up a small window without bringing the NoteMind application to the front. NoteMind is an application designed to help users collect and organize information centrally in one single place, learning the way users organize documents. The latest release includes numerous bug fixes, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 4.7MB]
Intel Santa Rosa
Intel has narrowed down the official launch of its next mobile Core 2 Duo and the chipset to accompany it, sources speaking to DigiTimes have said. The combination of processors and mainboards, which Intel has already codenamed Santa Rosa, should arrive in May instead of the less determinate second-quarter timeframe the company has officially listed. The platform adds a much-needed 800MHz system bus (up from 667MHz), the option of caching system information on flash memory, and better integrated graphics with hardware support for the shaders used by both OS X and Windows Vista.
The Taiwanese publication has also revealed that there will be four models -- the T7100, T7300, T7500, and T7770 -- though it did not mention clock speeds or other differences. All four chips are expected to cost less than their current iterations. Bulk prices should drop from $241 to $209 for the least expensive models while high-end chips will see an even steeper discount, dropping from $637 to $530. If substantiated, the news points to both an exact launch period and price drops for new notebooks from Apple, Dell, and other major companies which are normally quick to adopt faster Intel technology in their portables.
OKWAP S868 smartphone
Taiwanese company OKWAP has introduced its first Windows Mobile smartphone, the S868. While the company has yet to disclose much about the product, it should have Skype support, a 2.4-inch screen and a two-megapixel camera, as well as another pair of features that are virtually unseen on other cellphones. Foremost is a touch dial built into the keypad, which lets users control the on-screen menus much as if they were using an iPod. This is likely necessary given the lack of a touchscreen. The other feature is an apparent full-sized SD card slot, which actually opens at the top of the phone, rather than the side or the bottom. OKWAP expects the S868 to ship in Taiwan sometime after February 18th, for the local equivalent of $450. [Via Phone Daily]
Mark/Space today began shipping SyncTogether, the company's new Mac-to-Mac synchronization software for individuals, workgroups and families who need to share and synchronize information. The software offers the ability to easily synchronize all contacts, calendars, notes, email settings and more between their Macs, without requiring an annual subscription service, such as Apple's .Mac. Users have the ability to selectively synchronize defined Address Book groups and iCal calendars across a local-area network, allowing them to share specific information, such as a project schedule or a family events calendar, while keeping personal information private. The software uses Bonjour to easily find other Macs on the network and supports IP addressing for Internet-based syncing. In addition, it offers password protection and data encryption as well as Automator and AppleScript automation.
Google eases Calendar use
While Google's Calendar application may prove useful on its own, Google Mac News is reminding Mac users that Google Notifier is designed to make using the company's calendar more convenient. Google Notifier tracks Gmail accounts as well as upcoming Calendar events, flashing a window when new messages or event warnings appear with an accompanying sound effect. Users can change the sound within Notifier, and can opt to use Growl with its own Notifier plug-in. The Notifier software is not the only solution, however, as Google Tutor mentions that users can sync Google Calendar directly with Apple's iCal using the program's Subscribe option. Calendar offers private iCal links for each schedule that are usable to download Web updates automatically.
HP Slimline s3000
HP today demonstrated a new design for its Pavilion Slimline small form factor PCs. Its casing exchanges silver for a glossy black to better blend with TVs and other home electronics, and replaces the built-in 9-in-1 card reader with a multi-slot version. Most importantly, the updated Slimline supports desktop processors -- a performance increase previously unseen in earlier models, says HP. Component options are unknown but will very likely consist of both AMD's Athlon 64 and Sempron processors as well as Intel's desktop Core 2 Duo chips. Official release information has yet to be revealed.
The system builder also previewed a new look for its LCD displays. The unnamed display similarly gains a glossy black around its bezel and has a thin, flat stand reminiscent of Apple's Cinema Display. A new mounting system, dubbed HP Easy Clip, has made its appearance. Owners can attach items to the top and sides of the screen, ranging from strictly practical items such as documents to decorations and photos. As with the just-announced computers, prices and ship dates have not been unveiled. [via AVING]
Podmaxx '07 released
Bling Software has officially launched Podmaxx '07, a Windows-only application designed to fill various software gaps left by iTunes, according to the company. Podmaxx '07 optionally syncs music from any store to an iPod, and copies files back to a PC despite the standard iPod behavior of hiding music in subfolders. The software also supports burning audio CDs directly from an iPod, or ripping DVD movies in the opposite direction. Users can sync news, weather, Outlook contacts, and movie schedules. Podmaxx '07 enables users to turn any song into a mobile ringtone, supports backing up an entire PC, and is available for $30. The application requires a Windows 98 or better computer with an internet connection.
CNET reviews MacBook, MBP
CNET.co.uk has reviewed Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, offering speed tests with benchmarks to compare the two portable devices to one another as well as similar competing PC laptops. The Cupertino-based company's MacBook Pro tested runs significantly faster than its smaller consumer-oriented MacBook sibling, but all tested Apple models drew positive comments from reviewer Dan Ackerman. "We did see a significant boost over the non-Pro version of the MacBook, which includes a slower 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, in both the Photoshop CS2 and the iTunes encoding tests," Ackerman wrote. "As with any current Core 2 Duo laptop, the MacBook Pro is more than powerful enough for running productivity and multimedia applications and tackling basic photo and video editing, as well." The review covered notebook design, features, and performance running various applications such as Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Quake 4.
iTunes helps environment
One of the advantages seldom considered for the iTunes Music Store is its impact on the environment, but the blogger responsible for Torants observes such concerns. In his most recent entry, the blogger observes that while a CD copy of an album might serve as ample backup, many materials go into its production including aluminum, nickel, dyes, polycarbonates, and more. Moreover, every CD requires packaging, and both parts are assembled and shipped to distributors as well as retailers. The result is a considerable waste, and why the Torants blogger has come to prefer iTunes.
LG 60-inch Plasma in Wood
Korea's electronics giant LG said today that it intends a special edition 60-inch plasma TV with a wooden bezel instead of the more common metal or plastic, catering to home theater enthusiasts who would like their set to blend more discretely with its environment. Currently known as the 60PT1, its exact technical features are unavailable but are likely to approach those of today's 60PC1D set, which is a 720p-capable model with a 7,000:1 contrast ratio and dual HDMI inputs.
Only 1,000 of the 60PT1 will be made, LG says. Sales of the luxury plasma will begin as soon as March and will start in South Korea, though other regions should have the option to place orders as well. Pricing has not been discussed but is likely to float about the $5,200 of the present model. [via DigiTimes]
Apple Web, iTunes traffic
Traffic to Apple's website and the popularity of iTunes continues to surge at a rate greater than many of other top internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, according to new statistics released on Wednesday. Apple's December Web traffic soared 32 percent -- from just over 84 million unique visitors in December 2005 to a little more than 111.1 million uniques in December 2006, according to comScore Networks. Apple's ranking on comScore's list jumped two spots from no. 13 in November to no. 11 in December. The figures for Apple properties included traffic generated by its iTunes desktop application, which connects via the Web to Apple servers. During December, comScore said that iTunes received 70.7 million unique users, a 57 percent increase from December 2005 (45 million users).
MOAB exploits Safari
A security researcher who promised to deliver a "Month of Apple Bugs" (MOAB) is exploiting Apple's Safari Web browser while presenting the 29th documented flaw, according to isfym.com. Some Safari users attempting to view bug no. 29 will experience an application hang, and will need to force quit Apple's Web browser as a result. The researcher, who published the month's first vulnerability affecting Apple's QuickTime software on January 2nd, sparked heated debate among Apple enthusiasts who questioned the ethics of revealing security flaws to the masses without providing advanced warning to the software developer -- in this case Apple. The recently-discovered addition of a nested Safari exploit in one of the bug explanations further raises questions about the moral integrity of the Month of Apple Bugs security researcher who uses the handle "LHM."
iTunes Dictating CD Prices
The cost of an album at the iTunes Store is likely determining the overall cost of physical CDs, an anonymous industry contact has told SeekingAlpha. The benchmark $10 price for an album through Apple's online shop is said to have forced major labels to heavily discount their higher-profile releases to compete, with many of Amazon's bestsellers seeing a dramatic 47 percent price drop. Brick-and-mortar retailers have also felt an intense pressure to compete more directly with iTunes, the source said, pointing specifically to Wal-Mart's persistent fear of losing its dominance over low-cost album sales to Apple.
Some of these prices were spurred on by the lower costs of indepdendents and special promotions, according to the industry expert. However, the drops also mirror the steady decline of major labels' physical sales. EMI in particular is in "such bad shape" that it has taken to price reductions on most of its newest release in an attempt to prop up its flagging business, the source said. Conspicuously, some of EMI's largest back-catalog artists -- including Radiohead and The Beatles -- are also those who have so far declined to sell their music through direct downloads.
Super Bowl XLI on iTunes
The NFL will be offering highlights of the Super Bowl exclusively through Apple's iTunes Store. The National Football League said on Tuesday that it will make highlights from SuperBowl XLI available for purchase online the following day. The download will be available in English or Spanish and will cost $1.99. A 90-minute video of the NFL's coverage of the Super Bowl will also be sold for $1.99. "It's another way for fans to relive the Super Bowl before they get to the water cooler," said Brian Rolapp, the NFL's vice president for media strategy. Video highlights from the NFL's regular-season and playoff games have been available from the iTunes Store since September. Previous reports indicate that Apple may be planning an announcement for Super Bowl XLI, which takes place on Sunday, February 4.
Envision LCD TV Duo
Envision today released a duo of smaller sets in its LCD TV line, each geared towards college students and others who want digital TV in a smaller space. The 19-inch L19W661 sports a 1440x900 widescreen panel with a relatively high 800:1 contrast ratio and a 5ms response time; the 15-inch L15X661 is built for those who prefer standard ratios and uses a 1024x768 display with 500:1 contrast and 8ms response times.
Importantly, the company adds, both sets can properly receive HD signals. An HDMI input is included for the video and audio from the PlayStation 3 and other HD-capable video players, while a combination ATSC/NTSC tuner receives both HD and standard over-the-air broadcasts. A VGA input is also present for attaching directly to a computer. The sets reach stores before the end of March at prices of $399 for the 19-inch model and $299 for its 15-inch equivalent.
New Avid TV tuners
Avid has announced three new TV tuners, which the company says are certified for both Windows Vista and Media Center -- the latter allowing PVR-style program recording. Of the tuners, the most interesting to Americans is likely to be the Pinnacle PCTV HD Tuner Kit, which receives ATSC and NTSC broadcasts and works with any Vista machine that has a USB 2.0 port. Because of this, the tuner should be ideal for TV-addicted travellers, who can simply plug the device into their laptops. The kit will ship in March for $129, coming bundled with a Media Center remote.
The other two tuners are aimed at a European market. The first is another USB 2.0 product, ready to receive PAL, SECAM, and DVB-T signals, while the second is a PCI kit, which can only handle PAL and SECAM. Like the American tuner, Media Center remotes will come standard out of the box. No prices or release dates have been mentioned for these products.
Canon HV20 Camcorder
Canon on Wednesday unveiled the HV20, its second HDV camera for the mainstream. The companion to the earlier HV10 brings features normally reserved for professional cameras, according to the camera designer. The HV20 adds HDMI output, allowing it to display a native 1080i widescreen image with audio on an HDTV through a single cable. Sensitivity has also been increased on the 3-megapixel sensor for low-light shooting, jumping from 5 to 3 lux even with a short 1/30 second shutter speed.
Equally improved over the HV10 is a special 24p recording mode. Rather than shoot at the full 30 frames per second of TV, the HV20 can optionally shoot at 24 frames per second with progressive scan, avoiding the pulldown frame rate conversion needed for most handheld cameras. An optional CINE mode will also reflect the colors and tones expected in professional film, Canon claims. The camera's 10X optical zoom and instant auto-focus are continued from the earlier model. An American launch of the HV20 is set for April at a price of $1,099.
Skype for Mac 2.5 released
Skype today announced that Skype for Mac 2.5 has gone into public release, and is available for download via the company's website. "As you know, the beta version of this beautiful piece of software has been available since mid-November. Since then, Skype has worked hard at ironing out the beta wrinkles and is pleased to release a public version into the wild. Skype has even added a nifty little birthday reminder feature, to help you impress your Skype contacts (and secure an invitation to the party)." Skype for Mac 2.5 enables users to send SMS messages to any mobile phone in the world, and Mac users can use Skype to hold conference calls with up to nine other people.
Parallels tips, iChat flaw
In brief: Uneasysilence has posted a tip for Parallels users describing how to resize a Parallels virtual drive, and how to make Windows recognize it.... LMH has reported a vulnerability in iChat that malicious users can exploit to cause a Denial of Service (DoS), stemming from an error in iChat agent using Bonjour within the processing of TXT key hashes; Secunia rates the unpatched flaw as "Not critical," as malicious users could cause iChat to crash by broadcasting a specially crafted TXT key hash but cannot execute arbitrary code or escalate privileges.... Apple Store customers can apply for a Juniper Visa Card with iTunes Rewards, offering no interest for up to 90 days while shoppers earn iTunes points with every purchase; the no-annual-fee card offers two iTunes points for every dollar spent at any Apple Store (online, retail, or by phone) and one point for ever dollar spent elsewhere and users automatically sent a $25 iTunes card when users reach 2,500 points.
Sony VAIO G11 Series
Sony Europe this morning launched three additions to its VAIO notebooks, including a model previously unavailable anywhere beyond Japan. The G11 (pictured) is the first version of the VAIO G available outside of southeast Asia and is one of the lightest portables in the market thanks to its carbon fiber shell, weighing under 2.5 pounds despite its 12-inch screen and dual-layer DVD rewriter. In contrast to the Japanese model, however, the European version has been tuned for 9 hours of average battery life due in part to its ultra-low voltage 1.33GHz Core Duo. A launch date and price are unavailable, but Sony Europe expects to deliver the G11 with a base 1GB of RAM, a 100GB hard disk, a fingerprint reader, and Windows Vista Business.
Revealed during the announcement was the AR30, a European equivalent to the North American AR390E with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, Blu-Ray, dual 120GB hard drives, and Vista Home Premium. The 11.1-inch widescreen VAIO TX5 has also received the performance boosts of its Japanese TX equivalent with a faster 1.33GHz ULV Core Duo, 100GB of storage, and Vista Business. Exact release details as well as North American equivalents for the G11 and TX5 also remain unannounced.
Med-Center 4.3 released
Database Constructs has released Med-Center v4.3, an update to its multi-user cross-platform medical practice billing and medical records system for small to medium size offices and clinics. The solution tracks patients and their visits, handles scheduling and post visit follow up, incorporates electronic claim submittal to clearinghouses or direct to payers, and stores other patient information. Version 4.3 updates the Patient Care record by improving the Medications section to include both current and historic medication, adds functionality to store test results (including plotting), and extends the storage of information such as speciality vital signs and Immunization. The release also brings organizational improvements of the patient record and billing functions. Med-Center is available in single- or multiple-user (client/server) versions for Macintosh and/or Windows to access clinic information with identical screens and functionality.
iCalamus DTP software
Fastforward today began distributing invers Software's iCalamus, a desktop publishing application for Mac OS X. The creative design and page layout application offers a robust environment for home users, businesses and creative professionals, the company said. iCalamus provides features such as master pages, shadows, text wrapping, shapes, transparency, frames, live masking and more to help users create promotional materials, such as business cards, reports, books, journals, newsletters and ebooks. The software offers support for large documents (thousands of pages), text formatting/wrapping/style functions, integration with Apple's iPhoto, transparency functions for images/shapes/colors, frames for objects, and vector text editing. It is available as a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later. iCalamus can be purchased for €130 in English, German, French, Dutch, Danish and other languages.
Panasonic debuts cameras
Panasonic today overhauled its Lumix cameras with eight new models spanning its entire U.S. range. Leading the announcements is the DMC-FZ8, an update to the FZ7 that increases the sensor of the 12X zoom camera to 7.2 megapixels alongside a new ability to shoot directly in RAW rather than TIFF or JPEG formats. An enhanced version of the Venus III engine enables users to shoot at ISO 1250 sensitivity without adding excessive noise, according to Panasonic, while an optical image stabilization alongside an 848x480, full speed widescreen movie mode carry over from its predecessor. The FZ8 is slated for shipment in February for $350.
Eight Panasonic Cameras
Panasonic today overhauled its Lumix cameras with eight new models across its entire American range. Leading the announcements is the DMC-FZ8, an update to the FZ7 which increases the sensor of the 12X zoom camera to 7.2 megapixels alongside a new ability to shoot directly in RAW instead of TIFF or JPEG. An enhanced version of the Venus III engine also lets it shoot at ISO 1250 sensitivity without adding excessive noise, the company says. Optical image stabilization and an 848x480, full speed widescreen movie mode carry over from its predecessor. Panasonic anticipates shipping the FZ8 in February for $350.
Click through for a full image of the FZ8 as well as details and photos of the additional Lumix models. [images courtesy DPReview]
Creative gets Apple boost
Creative Technology on Wednesday reported a large boost in its operating profit for its second fiscal quarter due to receipt of a one-time licensing fee from Apple. The company reported a net income of $92.2 million or $1.10 per share, up significantly from the same period a year ago, during which it reported net income of $8.2 million. Last August, the companies announced a broad settlement ending all legal disputes between the rival media player manufacturers in which Apple agreed to pay $100 million to use Creative's patent for a hierarchical user interface in all Apple products: the Zen Patent covers the user interface that enables users of portable media players to "efficiently and intuitively navigate among and select tracks on the players." Although the settlement was expected to close during the company's September 2006 quarter, Creative today announced that the fee was received during its December quarter.
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