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News Archive for 07/02/06

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Apple, Ticketmaster partner on iTunes promo

02/06, 7:25pm

iTunes, Ticketmaster promo

Ticketmaster on Tuesday announced it is working with Apple's iTunes Store to offer music fans a free song on iTunes with every concert ticket purchased on Ticketmaster.com. Additionally, music fans who pre-order select digital albums on iTunes can buy that artists' concert tickets on Ticketmaster.com before they go on sale to the general public. The announcement comes on the heels of growing pressure to open Apple's proprietary digital rights management on iTunes Music and Steve Jobs' open letter on music DRM, which embraces DRM-free music. Last year, iTunes users who pre-ordered new albums from Bob Dylan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Apple's iTunes Store had the first chance to purchase tickets on Ticketmaster.com, helping both albums to debut at number one on the Billboard charts, the company said; however, there were problems with the initial launch of the promo.

Refurbished iMacs return, start at $799

02/06, 7:15pm

Refurb iMacs from $799

Apple's stock of refurbished iMacs has been replenished, with models starting from $799 for a 17-inch model to $1,699 for the large 24-inch edition. The company's 17-inch iMacs currently include the 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a slot-loading 24x Combo drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW for $799; 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo iMac featuring 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a 24x Combo drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW for $849; 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 512MB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and expanded graphics capability for $949; and the 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, a slot-loading 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and expanded graphics capability for $1,049.

Norway responds to Jobs' open DRM letter

02/06, 6:20pm

Norway responds to Jobs

Senior advisor Torgeir Waterhouse of the Norwegian Consumer Council has responded to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' open letter concerning digital rights management and free music, which the executive published earlier today. "We're happy to see Steve Jobs take on the responsibility that follows from Apple's role as one of the leading companies in the digital sphere and comment on the complaint issued by the Norwegian Consumer Council," Waterhouse told MacNN, referring to Jobs' letter. "Our concern is of course that it's Apple and [the] iTunes Music Store [that] should be addressing the issue of record companies and DRM themselves if it needs to be addressed - and as we've stated earlier it's iTunes Music Store that's providing a service to the consumers and therefore has the responsibility to offer up a consumer friendly product."

Kodak debuts inkjets with cheaper cartridges

02/06, 6:20pm

New Kodak inkjets

Kodak on Tuesday hoped to make waves by introducing the EASYSHARE All-in-One range, its first-ever line of inkjets, Electronista reports. The designs should revolutionze the typical approach to the normally costly world of inkjet printing, Kodak claims: instead of placing the printer head on the ink cartridges themselves, which drives up the cost of refilling each color tank, the heads are fixed inside the printer itself. This literally cuts the price of refilling a tank in half, according to the company. Pigment-based inks and a better placement system also help reduce wasted prints. More after the jump.

Briefly: MS on security; Vista woes

02/06, 5:40pm

MS on security, Vista woes

In brief: Microsoft's Bill Gates and Craig Mundie held a keynote presentation to kick off the RSA Conference 2007 to emphasize a need for stronger online identity protection as well as IT systems access management; Both executives spoke to attendees in an effort to highlight Microsoft's commitment to the security software market.... Aladdin Knowledge Systems today announced multi-platform eToken PKI support with the release of eToken PKI Client 4.0 for Windows and eToken PKI Client 3.65 for Linux as well as Mac. PKI applications can generate and store private keys as well as digital certificates inside USB-based eToken smart cards to create a secure environment, according to the company.... In an open letter to Microsoft executive Bill Gates, BBC News business editor Robert Peston expresses his frustration with Windows Vista and hints toward purchasing a Mac rather than supporting the Redmond-based company moving forward. Peston cites a strong dislike for Vista's user interface as well as incompatibility with existing tools -- some of which utilize drivers written by Microsoft. The editor says the only thing that gives him any comfort is the fact that he is not alone in his Vista-stress.

Matsunichi demos video player with iPod dock

02/06, 4:50pm

Matsunichi iPod Video Dock

Taiwan's Matsunichi has quietly previewed the iPF7 iPod video dock. A twist on the company's longstanding digital photo frame, the dock is a completely self-contained music and video system for Apple's player. Any fourth-generation or later dockable iPod can play music, photo, or video through the dock's 7-inch display and speakers; in the case of music, track information will appear on-screen. Basic control of any media is possible courtesy of a touchscreen interface.

Other sources beyond the iPod are supported, Matsunichi notes. A multi-format reader and a USB 2.0 port will both play files directly from CF, SD, and external drives as well as transfer favorites directly to an integrated 128MB of flash. The iPF7 can also relay its video through RCA or component output and will sustain 4 hours of video playback when using battery power instead of an AC adapter or a computer's USB port. No release date or pricing has been set, but a US release is likely given the company's presence in the country. [via AVING]

Apple to preload iPods with music?

02/06, 4:35pm

Preloaded iPods inbound?

Following the resolution of the dispute between Apple Inc. and record label Apple Corps, users may soon be able to buy many iPods preloaded with music, according to blog posts by some commentators. Wired's Leander Kahney notes that with the end of the conflict, Apple Inc. is no longer subject to a clause which prevented it from selling "physical media delivering prerecorded content." The effect of this was most clearly seen with the debut of the U2 Special Edition iPod, which only offered a voucher for U2's music through the iTunes Store. Not only will the U2 iPod have preloaded music, Kahney says, we will soon bear witness to products like a rumored "Yellow Submarine" iPod, preloaded with the Beatles catalogue and shipping on Valentine's Day.

ASUS rolls out GSM phone with Skype, webcam extras

02/06, 4:00pm

ASUS J501 Media Phone

ASUS on Tuesday expanded its burgeoning phone line with the J501. The black slider distinguishes itself through tight integration with PCs as a companion device. Its Bluetooth can be used not only with headsets and for data sync, but to pair with a nearby PC and serve as a Skype phone to avoid eating into free minutes on a cellular plan. The onboard 2-megapixel camera will even work as a webcam for photos and videos when linked to a PC through USB, ASUS is keen to add.

AAC and MP3 audio music playback are possible through the J501 when the phone is loaded with a microSD card for storage. MPEG-4 video playback and an FM radio are also available. Battery life is rated at 2.5 hours of active talk time. The phone operates with a tri-band GSM receiver and should be available first in ASUS' southeast Asian home for $300. See a full photo after the jump.

Genius releases digital notepad, tablet

02/06, 3:30pm

Genius Notepad and Tablet

Genius has just unveiled a pair of new digital pen tools. The G-Note 7100 is the firm's latest entry into digital notepads, designed for students and others who want to translate their hand drawings and notes to the computer. Two differently colored pens write information both on standard A4 paper as well as to its 32MB of flash memory, which stores roughly 100 pages as images that can be sent later to a computer through USB. The 7100 will be ready soon at a price of $159.

A second announcement, the MousePen 8x6, is a more conventional tablet for sketching on the computer itself. Its stylus has over 1024 gradations of sensitivity and is complemented by a series of "hot cells" around the edges for shortcuts to common functions. A three-button mouse and a copy of Corel Painter are bundled with the mouse to help get users started. It should also be ready soon for $99.

Jobs would offer DRM-free music in a 'heartbeat'

02/06, 3:00pm

Jobs embraces free music

Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a letter to the world at large has openly embraced DRM-free music, but says his company cannot remove digital rights management (DRM) protection until the big four record labels agree. "Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats," said Apple's chief. "In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat." Jobs says if the big four music companies would license his company their music without requiring that it be copy-protected, Apple would switch to selling only DRM-free music on its iTunes store. The executive also notes that every iPod ever made will play DRM-free music, and questions why the big four music labels refuse to let Apple follow this path. [updated]

Samsung releases B680 fashion phone

02/06, 2:55pm

Samsung B680 Fashion Phone

Samsung today began updating its phones for Spring, starting with its new B680 clamshell. The slim handset is designed for women and sports a characteristic floral print on the outer shell as well as a uniquely-styled keypad and visual interface. Its features are still strong, Samsung claims, as it includes a DMB receiver for Korea's digital broadcast TV as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera, EVDO broadband, and MP3 playback.

The B680 is currently available through Korea's SKT. A version for North America hasn't been announced and would likely require a change from DMB to Verizon's MediaFLO for mobile TV.

Kyocera's rotating clamshell phone

02/06, 2:40pm

Kyocera W51K phone

Intended for Japan, Kyocera's W51K is an unusual clamshell phone in that the display can swivel 180 degrees, enabling a more compact shape when the keypad isn't needed. That may be frequent, since the phone also has a 1seg digital TV tuner, and can play downloads from the Lismo media service run by KDDI. An optional charger features a subwoofer, and sits the phone on its side, where it can still play widescreen video on a 2.7-inch display. More conventional features include an FM tuner, plus a microSD slot and 65MB of internal memory for holding local audio and video files. The W51K is out now in metallic blue, orange and silver colors.

Jumsoft offers business software bundle

02/06, 2:40pm

Home Business Trio '07

Jumsoft today introduced Home Business Trio '07, a bundle of applications designed for small or home-based businesses. The bundle's three applications include Money 2.1 for accounting, Relationship 1.0 for customer relationship management, and Operation 1.0 for project management. Money 2.1 is designed to help organize as well as manage personal finances easily, and is fully compatible with most standards and key accounting concepts. Relationship 1.0 helps to organize as well as manage contact information, titles, campaigns, and resources by collecting information about customers, partners, and suppliers while organizing contacts by group as well as Smart Groups. Operation 1.0 helps organize and manage projects as well as tasks without requiring users to learn larger complex applications. Home Business Trio '07 is priced at $60 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later.

Thanko carries USB charger for Wiimotes

02/06, 2:20pm

Thanko USB Wiimote charger

Online retailer Thanko today revealed the USB Remote Charger for Wii. The adapter fills the gap left open by Nintendo's use of disposable batteries for the console's affectionately nicknamed "Wiimote" controller. A combination cradle and battery replacement, the charger swaps out Nintendo's official battery pack with a rechargeable unit and a USB-based charging cradle. This system is especially useful for the Wii, Thanko says: because the Wii has two USB ports of its own, two controllers can charge directly from the console while freeing up wall outlets. A single charge lasts for 25 hours of play and can be refilled in 3.5 hours from the console or in 2 hours from a computer or the optional AC adapter.

Shipping in late February, the charger should be available from Thanko for $29 by itself, or $54 in a pair. The AC adapter should be ready at the same time for $11. [via New Launches]

New Novatel EVDO Rev. A card for Sprint networks

02/06, 1:55pm

Novatel EVDO Rev. A

Shipping in late February is the Merlin EX720, produced by Novatel for the Sprint Power Vision Network. This is the company's third Revision A card for the company, following the USB-based U720, and the PC Card-based S720. The EX720 is essentially an ExpressCard version, capable of upload speeds between 350 and 500Kbps and downloads between 600Kbps and 1.4Mbps. A GPS function allows users to not only pinpoint their location, but through Power Vision, discover nearby restaurants, gas stations and other amenities. The card requires Mac OS X 10.4 or Windows 2000, and should ship through Sprint channels for an unknown cost.

Imaginarium readies kids' phone with camera, music

02/06, 1:55pm

Imaginarium Cam1

Spanish toymaker Imaginarium today revealed its new Cam1 phone for children. Hoping to break from the volume of kids' phones that strip nearly every feature, the company says its phone will have the media features of even more expensive handsets. A 2-megapixel camera is built in and gets clearly labeled navigation buttons that resemble a more traditional camera body. The same controls double for playing MP3s; a set of earbuds is packed with the phone to get a child started. Its housing is also ruggedized against the inevitable shocks and other abuse by first-time phone users. Read through for more details and a gallery.

Apple WWDC 2007 set in SF for June 11-15

02/06, 1:45pm

WWDC 2007 dates set

Apple has updated its Developer Connection website with the date of its 2007 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), planning to hold the event from June 11-15th in San Francisco. "This June, the center of the Mac universe will be in downtown San Francisco, as developers and IT professionals from around the globe come together for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with Apple engineers, get a firsthand look at the latest technology, and spend a week getting the kind of inspiration you won't find anywhere else," wrote Apple. WWDC attendees can work side-by-side with Apple engineers responsible for the features in Mac OS X to resolve code-level issues and refine long term development plans. [updated]

Briefly: Honolulu store; OmniWeb vs. Safari

02/06, 1:25pm

Honolulu store opening

In brief: Apple has scheduled to hold the grand opening of its retail store in Honolulu, Hawaii on Saturday, February 10th at 9:00 a.m. HST. The Cupertino-based company is also planning to open its latest UK-based store in WestQuay of Southampton at the same time on the same day, and the first 1,000 visitors will receive a free Apple T-Shirt.... One Mac blogger has detailed the similarities as well as the differences between OmniWeb and Apple's Safari Web browser with the Saft Safari extension. Both browser setups run equally well but encounter memory issues after prolonged browsing, and both offer features that set each apart from the other.... Portland Oregon's MacForce is hand-delivering iPods purchased from their store this Valentine's Day across Portland for free, and is serenading customers with music or a love poem as deliveries are made. The company is also offering complementary gift wrapping alongside a heart-shaped cookie with each delivery.

Helio launches direct-download cellphone music store

02/06, 1:05pm

Helio Music Store

Helio today announced Helio Music, the cellular carrier's initial venture into music download stores. Subscribers to the virtual network provider's service will have the option of buying music from four major US music labels for playback directly on Helo's phones, beginning with the company's iconic, Samsung-made Drift.

A unique element of the service is the flexibility in download options, Helio boasts. Price will be dictated by the device used to buy a given song: a direct download to the cellphone will cost $1.99 per track, but those who can afford to wait until they reach home will have the option of buying the same music from a PC for 99 cents. In both cases, the music will be available to play on either device without paying extra. Owners can even buy gift downloads that can be redeemed on another Helio phone, or "beg" a fellow subscriber to do the same, the carrier adds.

New Sony-Ericsson PC Card, headsets

02/06, 1:00pm

Sony PC Card and headsets

The stream of Sony-Ericsson news continues with the announcement of three new phone headsets and a PC Card. The premier headset is the HBH-PV710 (pictured), which uses Bluetooth 1.2, and features a swivelling ear hook and a battery that provides up to 12 hours of talk or 12.5 days of standby. The body of the unit is silver by default, but can be changed with the bundled red and brown covers. The HBH-PV702 has the similar option of white or black covers for its dark gray body, but is otherwise a stripped version of the PV710, having a fixed hook and a shorter battery life, amounting to eight hours of talk and 8.3 days of standby. Lastly, the HPM-75 is simply a corded stereo headset, equipped with a call answer button and a jack that allows different headphones to be used. Different earbud sizes are included in the box. The 710 should ship this quarter; the 702 and the 75 are due in the second.

Apps: Think, BlogAssist, CrushFTP, iRecord

02/06, 1:00pm

Think, BlogAssist, iRecord

    Think (free) is software designed to remove distractions and help users focus on one application at a time, while still supporting multi-tasking in Mac OS X. Think features an illumination panel that allows users to choose an application on which to focus, a backdrop that shields users from distractions, and a control panel that floats above other applications.
    BlogAssist 2.1 ($10) serves as a system menu item to help users with HTML markup for blogs. BlogAssist 2.1 also optionally functions as an item in the Services menu, making it available to most applications, and works as a floating window to hover above other items on the desktop. The software supports Web and email links, various text styles, LiveJournal tags, and more. [Download - 2MB]
    CrushFTP 4.0.7 ($30) updates the file transfer client with a dashboard widget for monitoring WebStatistics and adding support for importing events when importing CrushFTP 3 users into CrushFTP 4. The latest release of the FTP software capable of secure transfers fixes several bugs, adds a WebStatistics plug-in for monitoring CrushFTP from a Web browser, and requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 5.3MB]
    Red Snapper ($8) is a simple, lightweight Safari plug-in enabling users to capture Web pages and save them as a graphic or PDF document. The software captures the entire Web page and leaves out 'unnecessary' elements like the browser trim, thus eliminating the need to cut or paste and crop multiple screen shots when attempting to create a graphic or PDF version of a Web page. [Download - 280KB]
    iRecord 1.0 (donationware) enables Mac users to make recordings with a camera, negating the need to purchase QuickTime Pro. Pressing the red button begins recording, and the application supports dragging a picture to the desktop to capture a quick photo. iRecord is designed for Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 284KB]
    Wake Assist 1.0 (free) is a utility to help fix a rare stuck-until-clicked wake bug in Mac OS X. The software provides a number of automated mouse clicks after waking from sleep to help 'nudge' a stuck Mac to fully wake up. The utility requires no setup, and runs as a daemon process quietly in the background. [Download - 70KB]

TransGaming, Nvidia partner on Mac games

02/06, 11:55am

More Mac games forthcoming

TransGaming today announced a collaboration with NVIDIA to bring top-tier video games to Intel-based Macs using its Cider portability engine in conjunction with NVIDIA's CgFX graphics system. TransGaming's Cider technology aims to simplify the migration and deployment of triple-A video games for the Intel Mac by eliminating the time and expense of porting Windows games, and the collaboration between TransGaming and NVIDIA allows Cider to run high-level shaders created for Microsoft's Direct3D platform using the NVIDIA CgFX framework.

BlueAnt headset with LCD, vibrate mode

02/06, 11:45am

BlueAnt V12 headset

BlueAnt is boasting a number of features for its new Bluetooth headset, the V12. One of the more notable is vibration for incoming calls, which may be common on cellphones, but is rare for a device meant to be worn on the head. The headset also has an LCD display, which shows a 12-digit caller ID, as well as battery and volume levels. The V12 remembers the last ten calls moreover, and can be hooked up to a phone to check status through a Micro-USB neckstrap. The headset can pair with up to five Bluetooth devices and uses noise reduction to eliminate ambient sounds. A lithium-polymer battery provides up to 12 hours of talk time, or 15 days of standby. The list price of the V12 is $80, but J&R is taking preorders for $60.

Kodak intros its first inkjets, promises "revolution"

02/06, 11:30am

Revolutionary Kodak Inkjet

Kodak on Tuesday hoped to make waves by introducing the EASYSHARE All-in-One range, its first-ever line of inkjets. The designs should revolutionze the typical approach to the normally costly world of inkjet printing, Kodak claims: instead of placing the printer head on the ink cartridges themselves, which drives up the cost of refilling each color tank, the heads are fixed inside the printer itself. This literally cuts the price of refilling a tank in half, according to the company. Pigment-based inks and a better placement system also help reduce wasted prints. More after the jump.

Fujitsu brings MacBook-like LifeBook to U.S.

02/06, 11:20am

Fujitsu LifeBook ships

Fujitsu today announced that its LifeBook P7230 MacBook-like laptop is ready for the U.S. Available last month in southeast Asia, the 10.6-inch widescreen system shares the same minimal design philosophy as the MacBook but reduces size and heaviness, with a complete system weighing just 2.6 pounds. The new LifeBook is also one of the few notebooks to ship with an LED backlight that improves battery life as well as image quality alike, according to Fujitsu, with running time estimated at a comparatively long 6 hours. Similar to the Japanese original, the P7230 ships with a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Core Solo processor, 1GB of memory, and a fingerprint reader. However, the system builder's American launch adds a pair of lower-cost versions meant for less demanding users.

Sony-Ericsson's low-cost phones

02/06, 11:10am

Low-cost Sony phones

In addition to its Walkman and Cyber-shot phones, Sony-Ericsson is also premiering four less expensive candybar models. The K200 and the K220 are each equipped with a VGA camera, which can be used for picture messaging, but in each case is limited to 40 shots in 2MB of internal memory. The two phones are also dual-band GSM units that can only browse the web at GPRS speeds. The K220 does benefit from an FM radio however, which supports up to 10 presets. It will ship in blue or white, whereas the K200 will come in black or gold.

The J110 and the J120 omit the camera, but are otherwise similar, including the FM radio tuner on the higher-end J120. The one notable difference is the use of larger buttons, which should make the phones somewhat easier to use. The J120 will only come in black, but the J110 will be available in gray, purple or cream colors. All four phones will ship in the second quarter of 2007. Click below to see a photo gallery.

AirPort 802.11n benchmarks, disassembly

02/06, 11:10am

AirPort 802.11n benchmarks

Apple's new AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless capability boasts a performance boost of 10 times that of its older sibling, with three times greater usable range, according to iFixit. The N AirPort Extreme revealed a comm quality of 76 at a distance of five feet from the base station, a significant jump up from the G base station with a comm quality of 56 at the same distance. Transferring two 35MB QuickTime files at five feet revealed a whopping 9MB/sec with the new AirPort N technology, offering an average transfer speed of 7.8MB/sec. The older G technology failed to perform from 300 feet away, but the new N-enabled AirPort still transferred 500KB/sec. The testers said they grew tired of walking and stopped, but believe users could still get signal at up to 600 feet from the 802.11n base station under proper conditions. [updated, images]

Fujitsu brings MacBook-like P7230 ultraportable to US

02/06, 10:50am

Fujitsu P7230 Hits US

Fujitsu today announced that the LifeBook P7230 is now ready for the US. Available last month in southeast Asia, the 10.6-inch widescreen system shares the same minimal design philosophy as the MacBook but reduces size and heaviness: a complete system weighs only 2.6 pounds. The new LifeBook is also one of the few notebooks to ship with an LED backlight that improves battery life and image quality alike, Fujitsu says. Running time is still estimated at a comparatively long 6 hours.

More details and larger photography can be found after the jump.

Wal-Mart digital video store dwarfs iTunes

02/06, 10:20am

Wal-Mart dwarfs iTunes

Wal-Mart today debuted its new Video Downloads store, representing the company's first video download service. The retail colossus also announced that it has successfully negotiated licenses with the six major American studios -- including Apple's close iTunes partner Disney -- giving it the largest catalog of any online video service. The store's launch will see an estimated 3,000 movies and TV shows, dwarfing the 600 available via Apple's iTunes Music Store. Wal-Mart said that it would keep its prices in line with its DVD catalog, and that costs will vary depending on launch dates as well as the profile of the release: new releases sell for between $12.88 and $19.88, while older movies will sell for $7.50. TV shows will sell for $1.96 per episode, essentially matching Apple's $1.99 TV show pricing.

Apple's component patent, iTunes trademark

02/06, 10:10am

Apple's component patent

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published two of Apple's newly granted patents titled "Extensible, replaceable network component system" and "Multi-language document search and retrieval system," as well as the company's new "iTunes Store" trademark. The first patent dates back to Apple's Taligent/TalOS project stemming from the Apple-IBM PowerPC alliance, with the component architecture described allowing it to exist either side-by-side with a native operating system or on multiple platforms that employ different operating systems. Apple's current collection of internet applications, including iTunes and iWeb, may well be a by-product of the architecture described in Apple's "Extensible, replaceable network component system" patent. The second patent depicts a "multi-lingual indexing and search system" that "performs tokenization and stemming in a manner which is independent of whether index entries and search terms appear as words in a dictionary." Apple's new "iTunes Store" trademark interestingly includes classification 38, which covers telecommunication services.

Wal-Mart beats Apple to all-studio movie downloads

02/06, 10:05am

Wal-Mart Video Store

Wal-Mart today revealed its new Video Downloads store, representing not only the company's first video download service but also the first such service by a physical retailer. The retail giant also shocked many today by announcing that it had successfully negotiated licenses with the six major American studios -- including Apple's close iTunes partner Disney -- giving it the largest catalog of any online video service. An estimated 3,000 movies and TV shows will be available on launch, compared to the 600 of the iTunes Store.

Read through for pricing and further details.

Briefly: Apple Nvidia firmware; new UK store

02/06, 9:45am

Firmware update, UK store

Briefly: Apple has posted a new GeForce 7300 GT Firmware Update, which it says will upgrade the firmware on all of the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics cards in the Mac Pro. The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder. The company did not provide many details on the release, simply asking users to "Please follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the process.".... Apple is preparing to open its latest UK-based store in WestQuay of Southampton at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 10th. Participants of the grand opening are eligible to win the grand opening sweepstake, and the first 1,000 visitors will receive a free Apple T-shirt.... FrameForge 3D Studio 2 for Mac is now a Universal Binary that runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Only WebGrab-FF2 6.0.1 allows registered users of FF3D 2 to update to Universal Binary, however, and the update is free for registered FrameForge 3D Studio 2 users.

Stone updates Videator 3.0, Stoneworks

02/06, 9:40am

Stone updates Videator 3.0

Stone Design has released Videator 3.0, a major upgrade to the movie-making and video processing application. Described as both a "PhotoShoppe For Video" and a realtime performance video creation adventure, version 3.0 adds effects that can change dynamically based on sound input, variable speed playback of movies and blend filters, and a new effects queue that allows users to preload and easily apply sets of effects for use in live performance DJ'ing. The company also addeed new and enhanced effects, such as Tile Puzzle, Polka Dot and Fun Mirror as well as new transitions that let users choose destination image or movie. Videator's TimeLines now show the effects visually for easy reordering and selection as well as allows users to export the frames of the movie as images for Flash or GIFfun. Videator 3.0 is available for $50 (free upgrades for life) and requires Mac OS X 10.4 along with a supported video card. The company also released an update to StoneWorks, its "low-cost high-performance" suite ($400) that includes 16 applications for a variety of graphic design needs.

Corel debuts "Universal" Painter X

02/06, 9:10am

Universal Corel Painter X

Corel on Tuesday announced Corel Painter X, an update to its painting and illustration software. Now available for pre-order, the new version brings improved performance with native performance on Intel-based Macs, new composition tools and the "revolutionary" RealBristle Painting System that provides an organic painting and illustration experience - right down to the individual bristles on the brush. The RealBristle Painting System heightens the responsiveness of the brush for the artist by offering individual bristles that blend and splay, the company said. Corel Painter X also adds new Composition Tools to the tool box, an enhanced Photo-Painting System, a new Match Palette effect to match the color and intensity between two images, and a Universal Mixer palette for improved color blending between the Mixer palette and the canvas.

Much-touted W880 Walkman phone, W610 debut

02/06, 9:05am

S-E W880 and W610 Official

Even higher-profile among Sony-Ericsson's phone announcements on Tuesday are the company's two new Walkman phones. The W880, nicknamed the "Ai," has finally received its official specifications after both a company teaser and earlier leaked photos. The phone is Sony-Ericsson's slimmest ever to date, measuring only 0.37 inches thick; that's as thin as a CD case, the company says. Despite the thin shape, the phone still makes room for a 2-megapixel rear camera, a forward-facing VGA camera, and UMTS broadband in its initial form. Music playback also lasts for 18 hours, while even the normally taxing phone use lasts for 6 hours. A 1GB Memory Stick Micro provides ample initial storage for songs.

As hinted at by Swedish news, the phone is due for Europe and other markets within the next few weeks; a North American version has yet to be announced but may be a variant of the also-announced W888c, a Chinese version which goes without the front camera or largely Euro-centric UMTS broadband.

A full-size photo as well as details of the American-friendly W610 follow after the jump.

Apple's 'Vista Security' ad takes swipe at MS

02/06, 8:50am

Apple's new Get a Mac ad

Apple has released yet another TV ad spot, following the much heralded release of Windows Vista last week: the Cupertino-based company has posted a new "Get a Mac" ad focused on Windows Vista's security features which include an "overly" intrusive security system that requires users to "cancel" or "allow" virtually all user actions in an effort to make the PC secure. In addition, the company posted seven reasons why users should choose a Mac rather than upgrading to Windows Vista: "Thinking about upgrading to Vista? Even more reasons to get a Mac," which include "No upgrade nightmares," the ability to run Windows, "It's simpler," "Know iTunes," and "Macs run Office." Despite Microsoft's stated focus on security, a new new Excel zero-day attack surfaced last week that exploits yet another vulnerability in Microsoft Office (including Mac Office 2004); ironically, the company recently slammed Mac OS X security.

Sony-Ericsson intros Cyber-shot cameraphone duo

02/06, 8:20am

Sony K810 and K550

Sony-Ericsson today revealed its lineup of phones for next week's 3GSM conference in Barcelona, including two cameraphones in the Cyber-shot line. The pictured K810 is an upgrade to the current K790/K800 that brings UMTS mobile broadband to the previously EDGE-only design, allowing photo bloggers to upload images from the 3.2-megapixel camera at a quicker rate, according to the company. Shortcuts to advanced camera settings and an automatic photo correction tool also help with photography. Sony-Ericsson plans to ship the tri-band GSM phone first to Europe in the Spring in blue and ivory colors; a China-only version known as the K818c will ship without 3G wireless support at the same time.

Click through for details of the US-bound K550, as well as photos of both models.

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