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Forums Feb 13
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the potential for a widescreen video iPod to follow in the footsteps of the iPhone.... Other users are discussing the viability of purchasing a PPC-based Apple laptop, which some members call "paper weights".... One user has sparked a discussion about what GPU will be in the next iMac replacing the aging X1600.... Other members are discussing the best way for a Mac Pro user to obtain 5.1 Dolby surround sound.... Meanwhile, one member is questioning the stagnant offering of graphics cards for PowerMac G5s and seeking out alternatives.
Japanese anime via iTunes
FUNimation Entertainment, the market share leader for the home video sales of Japanese animation in the US, today announced that it will make top-rated anime series available on the iTunes Store, including "Desert Punk," "Speed Grapher" and Akira Kurosawa's "Samurai 7"--all of which are available for $1.99 per episode. "We are very excited to make anime available for download to our fans in the United States," said Cary Deacon, CEO of Navarre Corp, the parent company of FUNmation. "Bringing this compelling content to iTunes is a first step in Navarre's new digital distribution initiative." A variety of free FUNimation anime trailers are also available from iTunes.
GE cameras; price drops
In brief: General Electrics today revealed its General Imaging brand, representing the company's very first entry into digital cameras. Co-founded by Takeyoshi Kawano, who helped design Sony's iconic VAIO and Walkman lines, GI hopes to focus primarily on higher-quality designer cameras: every model will ship with high ISO ratings, image stabilization, and a stitch mode for creating panoramas. The first two cameras should arrive in April.... NewerTech has lowered the price on some of its miniStack V2 external hard drives, which have both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports. The 400GB drive is $40 less at $200, while the top-end 750GB model is $46 less at $449. Also new is the bundling of Prosoft's DataBackupII software for Mac OS X.... Scottevest is promoting its Sixth Anniversary Sale, featuring discounts on clothing that lets you thread wires like iPod earbuds without exposing them. Some eligible pieces include the Fleece 4.0 ($140) and the Milan ($450).... macProVideo.com has announced a new video tutorial for Ultrabeat, Logic's drum synth application. Viewers are taught how to program the software, modify samples, and create their own patterns.
Refurb Intel Macs dwindle
Apple's supply of reconditioned Intel-based Macs has dwindled with the exception of iMacs, revealing just one MacBook Pro and one Mac mini but no MacBooks available to cost-conscious customers. Refurbished high-end Mac Pro workstations -- of which two models remain -- accompany the new addition of a Wireless Apple Keyboard & Mouse. The only refurbished MacBook Pro left is the 17-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,999; Apples only remaining reconditioned Mac mini is a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $649. Mac Pro workstations currently include the Quad 2.66GHz Intel Xeon system with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $2,199 as well as the Quad 3.0GHz Intel Xeon system with 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $3,299. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is priced at $49, and the company's now-dated AirPort Extreme wireless card is priced at $39.
Interwrite 3.0 released
Interwrite Learning has released Interwrite 3.0 for Mac, a new application designed to help Mac-using teachers in the classroom. The software offers Intel-based Mac support, PRS integration, and new pictures in the gallery. The update also supports Interwrite Learning's new wide-format interactive whiteboard InterWrite SchoolBoards. Interwrite 3.0 includes a localized graphical interface in Spanish (both Mexican and European), Portugues (both Brazilian and European), French, Italian, and German. A merged code base supports Mac OS X as well as Linux, and adds support for configuring the toolbar alongside a new SchoolBoard features menu. Interwrite 3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later (pricing was unavailable).
iKana 1.0 released
ThinkMac Software today released iKana 1.0, a new language learning aid designed to teach users Japanese via a fun and friendly interface. The software aims to ease the learning processs of the Japanese phonetic alphabets, Hiragana, and Katakana via a flash card-like interface using speed recognition as well as Romanization tests. Users can extend the software to teach other alphabets and Kanji, according to ThinkMac, and flash cards serve as the starting point for beginners new to kana. The flash card viewer is controllable with an Apple Remote, while the speed recognition text helps users practice reading whole words by translating them from kana into Romaji. iKana is available for $18, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Meizu iPhone Copy Photos
Meizu has changed the name of its unreleased but already notorious iPhone imitation to the miniOne and narrowed down its release date, explorers of the company's forum have discovered. Once known as the M8, the Chinese phone is extremely close in style and features to Apple's device but shows clear differences in a new set of photos revealed at the same time as the name change. Where the iPhone has polished metal only around the front border and uses scratch-proof aluminum for the back, the Meizu clone opts for the chrome-effect surface across all but the very front.
Significantly, the phone is now being prepared for a launch in the fourth quarter of this year, arriving just a few months before its inspiration. Click through the break for the newest photo set. [via Meizu Me]
iMedical goes Universal
Healthware today began shipping iMedical 1.2, an official release of its medical business software that runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. iMedical 1.2 is powered by a Caché database from InterSystems to ease database woes while handling billing, insurance, reporting, scheduling, and integrated word processing; the application will support electronic statements some time during the first quarter of 2007, and electronic claims support will come built-in by the first half of the year, according to healthware. iMedical is designed to be familiar to MediMac and ChiroMac users, allowing them to work within the software with reduced training and preparation to reduce expenses as well as downtime.
All HD media cracked?
While one hacker was able to break DRM on select Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs, Electronista reports, another hacker now claims to have defeated HD movie encryption entirely. Writing in the popular Doom9 forums, "arnezami" says he has uncovered the processing key behind AACS, the protection scheme used by both Blu-Ray and HD DVD. As a result, any HD movie should be unlockable without first having to locate the volume key for a particular title. The news could prove enormously disappointing for the movie and electronics industries, which together have spent millions of dollars attempting to prevent the piracy currently rampant with standard DVDs. A universal exploit tool is likely to be released within the next few months.
Garmin zumo 400
Garmin has quietly slipped out word of the zumo 400. The GPS unit is targeted at motorcyclists who need a basic mapping unit toughened against the shocks and splashes more prevalent in open-air riding. The 3.5-inch touchscreen is deliberately treated for visibility in direct sunlight and has interface touches that help riders keep an eye on the road, such as a virtual fuel gauge that can remind a driver to refuel during an especially long trip. Akin to other GPS units in the class, the zumo 400 relies on SD cards both for maps and as a drag-and-drop media player for JPEG photos and MP3 tracks. A replaceable lithium-ion battery lets the receiver operate free of motorcycle power for three hours.
Symbian brushes off iPhone
Apple's forthcoming iPhone poses no immediate threat to Symbian's dominance of the cellular phone world, according to the company's CEO who spoke at a press conference during the 3GSM expo today in Barcelona. Speaking to journalists gathered at the event, Symbian chief Nigel Clifford was optimistic about Apple's device as a potential catalyst for the company's already booming sales, potentially reversing North American stereotypes of smartphones as having only specific uses. "This could educate the American consumer that there is more that you can do with a phone than treat it as an email device," the executive said.
Nokia Bluetooth car screen
Bluetooth headsets let people drive without always holding a cellphone, but this can become problematic when needing to show caller ID, or dial a new number; Nokia is filling the gap with the CK-15W, a display that mounts to car's dashboard. The screen is 2.2 inches, and lets users browse and select calls and contacts using a separate input device. Buttons are also present for adjusting volume, or accepting and declining incoming conversations. Users can personalize the display with their own colors and themes, and it should be compatible with a variety of Nokia phones. The CK-15W should ship to Europe in the first quarter for €180 ($233).
Shuttle Quad-Core SFF Xeon
Shuttle on Tuesday launched the P2 3700W, a PC it boasts as the world's first-ever quad-core small form factor workstation. The breadbox-sized case is the first of its kind to use Intel's newer Xeon processor, revolving around a 2.13GHz Xeon X3210 instead of the 3700 series' more conventional Core 2 Duo processors. Its graphics and storage are also matched to 3D modeling and other professional jobs, Shuttle says. Up to a maximum of 2.2TB of hard disk space can be installed spread across three drives, and up to 8GB of ECC memory can be installed for those who choose the 64-bit edition of Windows Vista Business. Workstation-level graphics in the form of ATI's FireGL or NVIDIA's Quadro cards are also part of the base model.
The P2 3700W launches immediately with a basic version set at $1,649 using Windows Vista Business; a stripped-down version known as the n-P2 3700W is also on sale without any operating system but the same level of performance.
Jabra T5300 headsets
Shipping this year is the T5300 series of wireless headsets by Jabra. Unlike most headsets, the 5300s are not meant to be used with cellphones: the T5330 is built for office landlines, while the T5320 pairs with VoIP phones. Both use Bluetooth 1.2, providing a standard range of 33 feet, and can be charged with an included cradle for up to four hours of talk time and 60 hours of standby. Speech is processed through an onboard DSP processor, and further enhanced by acoustic shock protection that prevents loud, potentially harmful noise bursts. Plugging a headset into a cradle will automatically switch control back to the handset. The 5330 is available today for $149, with the 5320 coming in the second quarter at the same cost.
MS Office 11.3.4 update
Microsoft today released Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.4 Update, fixing two critical security flaws that could allow remote code execution, including an "critical" zero-day exploit in its Office applications for both Windows and Mac as well as a Word vulnerability reported last December. The update also improves the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac with a more current definition of which e-mail messages are considered junk e-mail, according to the release notes. The Excel zero-day attack exploits a flaw Excel spreadsheet component of the business software suite and is rated as "extremely critical" by security firm Secunia; Microsoft also cautioned users against opening any malicious Office file, indicating it may affect other components as well.
GE Digital Cameras
General Electrics today revealed its General Imaging brand, representing the company's very first entry into digital cameras. Co-founded by Takeyoshi Kawano, who helped design Sony's iconic VAIO and Walkman lines, GI hopes to focus primarily on higher-quality designer cameras: every model will ship with high ISO ratings, image stabilization, and a stitch mode for creating panoramas, the company says.
Early specifications and photos are available after the jump.
Paradox games go Universal
Virtual Programming today released Universal Binary updates to its Paradox titles, enabling the strategy games to run natively on Intel-based Macs. The free Universal updates bring Europa Universalis II ($20, historical world strategy game), Victoria ($20, 19th century strategy), Crusader Kings ($20, feudal kingdoms of medieval Europe), Hearts of Iron 2 ($20, World War II strategy game), Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday ($25, post WWII strategy game), and Victoria: Revolutions ($15, expansion pack) up to speed on Apple's latest Macs. Virtual Programming offers adventure role-playing games, arcade/action sport titles, and real-time strategy games to Mac-owning game enthusiasts. The updates also introduce numerous bug fixes and tweaks, as well as the ability to run the games in window mode.
MoS Media Player
Having previously limited itself to music-only players, Britain's Ministry of Sound today introduced the MOSMP100X10, its first video-capable player. The handheld is overtly built for videos and is scarcely larger than its 3.5-inch QVGA screen at 3.3 inches long and 0.6 inches thick. In spite of its size, however, the Ministry's device still contains a live recording feature: line-in jacks for audio and video will capture the input to SD cards. A 1GB card is included and will hold either six hours of audio or four hours of video at full quality. Pre-recorded MP3 music or MP4 videos are supported alongside their Windows Media equivalents.
As has been the case for its past players, the music label has preloaded the MP100X10 with its own content: a 15th-anniversary video as well as ten songs are already included with the shipping model. It should be available now for £150 ($292). [via Tech Digest]
New player to take on iPod
A company founded by some of the pioneers of digital music players hopes to shake up the industry with a new device that will compete with Apple's iPod, according to a Wired report. Former heads of Rio PMP 300 creator Diamond Multimedia, music software firm Musicmatch, and iRiver together established a new startup company named Broadband Instruments to produce a next-generation music device. While the company is officially in "secret mode" and has chosen to reveal little about the player, wireless functionality is expected to be central to the device and will let it tap into social networks as well as online radio and music sharing. The key concept is said to be the disassociation of music players from host computers, according to Electronista, which are normally essential for loading music.
BB 8800 and Sidekick 3
AT&T has officially confirmed the launch details of its latest BlackBerry device. The just-announced BlackBerry 8800 is now due to ship to the provider under the Cingular name on February 21st, just over a week its formal introduction. The new 8800 will be functionally close to the reference model but will ship with a special navy blue shell and a custom-colored interface to reflect the American carrier's color scheme.
AT&T expects to ship the phone for $300 when combined with a two-year service plan and a rebate. A custom GPS navigation tool from TeleNav will also be an option for an extra $6 per month, the company said. A Canadian launch with Rogers has yet to be revealed.
iRiver releases Clix 2
Previously announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, iRiver has officially launched the Clix 2 in Korea, where it retains the original Clix name. The primary feature of the player remains the energy-saving AMOLED screen, but it also appears supports Flash games, and the unreleased top-end model will hold 8GB rather than just six. Video playback is said to have been improved to 30fps. The 2GB player is on sale for 159,000 won ($170), while the 4GB model is going for 199,000 ($212).
UK Apple store, notMac
In brief: Apple is preparing to open its latest UK store at the Bentall Centre in Kingston on Saturday, February 17th at 9:00 a.m. As usual, the company will give out free T-shirts to the first 1,000 people through the doors, and is holding a digital lifestyle sweepstake as well as a variety of presentations.... Intuit's Quicken 2004 is scheduled for discontinuation on April 30th, signaling the end of updates for users of that version. Intuit notes on its website that it only supports the latest three versions of its finance software (with a few exceptions) in order to focus resources on the most recent products.... The noMac Challenge for developers to create an easy-to-use replacement for Apple's dotMac service has grown with a prize pool of more than $6,000, coming nearer the challenge founder's offer to match the first $10,000 dollar-for-dollar.
Symbian Comment on iPhone
The upcoming iPhone poses no immediate threat to Symbian's dominance of the cellphone world, the company's CEO said at a press conference during the 3GSM expo today in Barcelona. Speaking to journalists gathered at the event, Symbian chief Nigel Clifford was optimistic about the Apple device as a potential catalyst for the company's already booming sales, potentially reversing North American stereotypes of smartphones as having only specific uses.
"This could educate the American consumer that there is more that you can do with a phone than treat it as an email device," Clifford hoped.
ASUS and Windows Mobile 6
ASUS is using 3GSM to announce its first smartphones with Windows Mobile 6 -- click through for a gallery. While little is known about the Aries, the P526 appears to be based on the P525, and some data has been released for the business-oriented P735. The phone is a tri-band GSM model with 2,100MHz UMTS broadband, and Bluetooth 2.0 wireless, which can be used to remotely control Powerpoint presentations while browsing footnotes. Business cards can be scanned with a two-megapixel camera. Music playback supports MP3, WMA and AAC/AAC+ files, which can be stored locally or streamed online. No prices or release dates have been discussed. [via Gear Diary]
SnapMeasure 1.6 ($24) is an Illustrator plug-in offering an improved measuring tool with visual feedback that can put measurement data next to the cursor. The tool offers an alternate measure line color for better visibility, and optionally changes the constrain angle and/or cursor key distance without having to open the preferences window. This release adds adjustable precision, the ability to measure radii of curvature and tangent angles on Bezier curves, and more. A $10 discount is offered for personal/non-profit licenses. [Download - options]
Monocle 1.0 (donationware) is a simple search tool that puts a universal search field on the desktop. The software is preloaded with engines for Google, Wikipedia, Windows Live Search and Yahoo! Search, but allows users to easily add their own engines by performing an example search inside a Web browser window in Monocle. Monocle offers a menu bar status item as well as a configurable hot key for instant access to the search field, and offers "callwords" to easily switch to any of the other engines easily. [Download - 852KB]
Virtual ][ 5.7 ($20) is a software application that allows users to emulate the Apple ][ computer on any Mac. It emulates the Apple ][, ][+ and //e with support for USB gamepad or joysticks. Other features include save/resume, full-screen mode, Epson FX-80 and Imagewriter II emulation, configurable peripheral cards, and more. Version 5.7 adds a "search all disk images" function, supports gzipped diskette images, Spotlight searching of those images, and more. The Universal Binary runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. A $50 full license offers more functions. [Download - 10MB]
RAGE Macintosh Explorer 4.5 ($16) is a free update to the tabbed file browser and file management tool for the Mac. Released as a Universal Binary, the application runs natively on Intel-based Macs and also includes new file sorting features allowing users to group directories together when sorting files. The system utility brings the hierarchical, tree-view navigation style of Windows Explorer to the Mac along with powerful file management tools. RAGE Macintosh Explorer 4.5 is available for users of Mac OS 9.x and Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - OSX]
FinanceToGo 1.2 ($45) is a free update to the personal finance manager application for Mac OS X. The update enables users to obtain currency conversions over the internet and adds French language localization, as well fixing several bugs. The finance management solution is based on the principles of double-entry accounting which allows both individuals and small businesses to track where money is spent; it features automatically generated graphs and reports. The software is a Universal Binary and runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later. [Download - 4.2MB]
Quantum Computer Tested
Following up on its earlier claims, the Canadian firm D-Wave announced today that it has successfully demonstrated the world's first commercially available quantum computer. The company used the still unnamed chip to match patterns in a database, proving that the already controversial development was truly functional. The breakthrough was reportedly accomplished by merging the principles of quantum mechanics with a more conventional semiconductor design that jumps the hurdles associated with the exotic approach to physics.
All HD movie discs cracked
While one hacker was able to break the DRM on select Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs, another hacker now claims to have defeated HD movie encryption entirely. Writing in the Doom9 forums, "arnezami" says he has uncovered the processing key behind AACS, the protection scheme used in both Blu-Ray and HD DVD. As a result any HD movie should be unlockable without first having to locate the volume key for a particular title. The news could prove enormously disappointing for the movie and electronics industries, which together spent millions of dollars attempting to prevent the piracy currently rampant with standard DVDs.
MacNN review, .Mac service
In brief: MacNN has reviewed iList Data 3.2 ($70), an affordable stand-alone database solution designed for ease of use. iList Data includes 10 templates targeted toward the home user, student, or teacher as a starting point to track appointments, music CDs, contacts, a diary, DVDs, and more.... One MacNN reader has reported problems with Apple's .Mac service in the New Jersey area, and has communicated with other users via Apple's own online support forum hoping to encourage Apple to repair the issue. The service disruption spanned five days with sporadic connectivity, and is now operating excessively slowly, according to our reader.... SmileOnMyMac has announced a new educational discount program on its creative productivity software for Mac OS X, offering full-time students as well as faculty and staff a 30 percent discount on purchases made at its online education store. Discounted items include PDFpen and DiscLabel.
T-Mobile adopts the Stripe
T-Mobile has announced it is carrying the Samsung SGH-t329, also known as the Stripe for its two-tone color scheme and its long, white-on-black external display. It's a tri-band GSM model, and generally aimed at a low-cost demographic: there is no broadband or web browsing on the phone, and the internal display runs at 128x160 in 65,000 colors. The phone does however support SMS, EMS and MMS messaging, as well as instant messaging through AIM, ICQ or Yahoo. Bluetooth and a VGA camera are also present. The Stripe is currently available for $150 without a contract, or as little as $50 with a monthly T-Mobile plan.
Keep It Together, Zooom
Keep It Together 1.3 ($25) is scrapbook designed to store, organize, and easily locate information. Version 1.3 introduces the ability to tag and rate files, print PDFs directly from other applications, and features an updated user interface alongside Growl support. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and is a free upgrade for all registered KIT 1.x users. A 15-day trial is available online. [Download - 1.7MB]
Zooom 1.5 ($10) provides users the ability to work with any application window using shortcuts for moving, resizing and zooming windows from any position in the window. Version 1.5 includes Magnetics, which offers the ability to snap windows edges to the side of any display (or the dock), or to snap window edges to a 'virtual grid' as well as the ability to use the 'Function' key as one of the keyboard shortcuts. It is a Universal Binary that requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.6MB]
Lighthouse 1.1.1 ($13) is a dynamic port forwarding utility designed to start and stop port mappings with one click. The software can automatically start port forwarding when an application is launched, and offers Growl notifications to reassure users that it's working. Lighthouse supports NAT/PMP (Apple AitPort base stations) as well as UPnP (D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, and other routers) standards. [Download - 3.1MB]
iTunes Catalog 2.2.1 ($25) is a $10 upgrade for iTunes Catalog 1.x users that enables users to create interactive music websites that work like Apple's iTunes software. Catalogs display artwork for music, remember recent search terms, and provide links to the iTunes Store allowing visitors to purchase the songs they hear. The application publishes catalogs via FTP, and synchronizes with a designated Web server. [Download - 2.6MB]
iConcertCal 1.1 (free) is an iTunes plug-in that monitors the iTunes music library to generate a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in users' local cities. Version 1.1 includes a search radius feature, supports international searches, and enables users to make an iConcertCal playlist to refine the list of bands to search for. The update also offers a more powerful search engine for finding concerts, and includes numerous bug fixes to enhance stability. [Download - 316KB]
WMV 188.8.131.52 Beta (free) is the latest public test version of Flip4Mac's multimedia player software. The latest revision adds support for Windows Media 9 Advanced playback, as well as for reclaiming file types assumed by other applications. WMV 184.108.40.206 Beta improves ASX handling, enhances support for MPEG4 playback, and includes several bug fixes. [Download - 7.7MB]
HTC Advantage and Vox
HTC has used its presence at Barcelona's 3GSM to officially launch two of its most hotly-anticipated phones. The S710 (pictured), also known as the Vox, is the company's first true stealth phone. Operable as a traditional keypad-only phone while closed, the handset slides open to reveal a full keyboard for typing in a landscape mode on its 2.4-inch LCD. Bluetooth 2.0, EDGE, and Wi-Fi will be standard, HTC says. An official launch of the Windows Mobile 6 phone is planned for Europe in the first half of this year, but should be accompanied by a wider US launch during the year courtesy of quad-band GSM.
Photos and details of the Advantage can be found after the break.
i-mate Ultimate phones
In an unusual strategy, i-mate's new Ultimate line (the 5150, 6150, 7150, 8150 and 9150) offers the same specifications across the board, but in different form factors with different levels of control: the 5150 is a slider phone, for instance, while the 7150 has a widescreen display and a full QWERTY keyboard. Click below to see all five models. Inside each unit is a 520MHz Intel processor with 128MB of RAM, running Microsoft's new Windows Mobile 6; connections are plentiful meanwhile, supporting quad-band GSM/EDGE, tri-band UMTS/HSDPA, and wireless in the shape of Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g/e/i. Storage includes 256MB of ROM and a microSD card slot. Other highlights are touchscreens, FM tuners, and two-megapixel cameras. The Ultimate line should roll out gradually starting in the middle of the year. [via the unwired]
NoteShare 1.5 released
AquaMinds has released NoteShare 1.5 for Mac OS X, an application for creating, publishing, and sharing media-rich multi-page notebooks. Users can instantly share notebooks with other NoteShare users over the internet or a local area network. The latest release of NoteShare fixes a problem with UPnP device discovery, and repairs an issue that resulted in compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther. Noteshare 1.5 -- released last week -- allows multiple users to work on a single shared notebook by presenting, viewing, and editing the work as needed. NoteShare offers built-in outline processing features to organize lists, notes, and memos. The application also features built-in support for Web browsing and internet searches alongside dynamic clipping services. NoteShare 1.5 is priced at $150, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Supergroup Secret Player
A company founded by some of the pioneers of digital music players hopes to shake up the industry with a new device, Wired has learned. Former heads of Rio PMP 300 creator Diamond Multimedia, music software firm Musicmatch, and iRiver have together established a new startup company named Broadband Instruments with the intent of producing a next-generation music device. While the company is officially in "secret mode" and has chosen to reveal little about the player, wireless functions are expected to be central to the device and will let it tap into social networks, online radio, and music sharing. The key is said to be the disassociation of music players from host computers, which are normally essential for loading music.
"Traditional USB connections will (only) play a minor role in getting content to your device," the company said.
MS debuts DRM format
Microsoft today at 3GSM introduced its third copy protection format after Windows Media and the Zune's proprietary standard, titled 'PlayReady.' The scheme is intended for cellular phones as well as other handhelds, extending playback options past earlier formats. Microsoft says PlayFirst enables content owners to distribute titles as permanent copies, subscriptions, rental, pay-per-view, or "super-distribution." The company revealed that PlayReady is its first DRM implementation to be independent of its own file types, according to Electronista. While Windows Media music and video are still guarded, the same protection can apply to multiple AAC formats, H.264 video, and rarely protected mobile content such as wallpapers or games. Every PlayReady device will still support Windows Media 10 protection for other stores.
i-mate has contributed to the raft of 3GSM announcements by updating its own line. Leading its updates is the JAQ4. A quick follow-up to the JAQ3 already enroute to the US, the fourth edition of the phone adopts a more conservative shape but in doing so gains a larger and more comfortable keyboard. The update is more than ergonomic, i-mate notes. The 2-megapixel camera is now more intelligent, supporting both auto-focus and a rare macro mode for closer shots. Battery life has also been extended by a full hour to a total of five. The JAQ4 will also be the company's first Windows Mobile 6 device and should take advantage of the improved browsing speed with the EDGE and Wi-Fi carried over from the previous phone.
An official release date and price are still pending. Nevertheless, the presence of a quad-band GSM radio and its predecessor's recent introduction to the US should ensure an American release later this year. Click through for profile photos.
Microsoft PlayReady DRM
Microsoft at 3GSM surprised many by introducing PlayReady, the company's third copy protection format after Windows Media and the Zune's proprietary standard. The scheme is intended for cellphones as well as other handhelds and extends playback options past earlier formats: in addition to permanent copies and subscriptions, files can be set as rental, pay-per-view, or cleared for "super-distribution," according to Microsoft.
Crucially, however, the company revealed that PlayReady is its first DRM implementation to be independent of its own file types. While Windows Media music and video are still guarded, the same protection can apply to multiple AAC formats, H.264 video, and even rarely protected mobile content such as wallpapers or games. Every PlayReady device will still support Windows Media 10 protection for other stores.
Apple takes iPhone idea?
Briefly: Apple is being accused of stealing the iPhone concept/idea from Korean manufacturer LG Electronics, after it unveiled its Prada prototype last September: LG's head of mobile handset Research and Development has said that the company believes that Apple copied the iPhone concept from LG's Prada phone, according to a new report. "We consider that Apple copycat [the] Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006," said Mr. Woo-Young Kwak.... Developers continue to update the software used to sync Macs with Google's online calendering service: claiming the help of more than 10,000 beta testers, the developers have released Spanning Sync 1.0b14, another public beta of the software service that bidirectionally syncs Apple's iCal desktop calendar software with Google Calendar..
Monster backs Apple
Apple continues to recruit allies for its DRM-free music proposal in the most unlikely places. An exec for Yahoo! music, one of the top competitors to Apple's iTunes, says that removing DRM from music will boost sales. "I've long advocated removing DRM on music because there is already a lot of music available without DRM, and it just makes things complicated for the user," Dave Goldberg told Silicon Valley Watcher, noting that Yahoo Music has done experiments where it has offered music with or without DRM and that removing DRM boosts music sales. The exec also took a shot at Microsoft's DRM--used by Yahoo's digital music service--saying that it "doesn't work half the time." Monster Cable is yet another party taking sides in the DRM controversy triggered last week by Apple's chief: the manufacturer of high performance cables on Monday announced its full support of Jobs position asking labels to eliminate digital rights management (DRM) on their music libraries. [updated]
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