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Apple delays Apple TV
Apple has delayed until March the launch of its living room device for streaming video and other content from computers to televisions, but the company would not explain why, according to The Associated Press. The delay come after the company flatly denied any delays and confirmed its estimated February ship date only a few weeks ago. Apple's much anticipated Apple TV set-top box, previewed last year and announced in early January at Macworld Expo--would be available by the end of February. "Wrapping up Apple TV is taking a few weeks longer than we projected, and we now expect to begin shipments mid-March," an Apple spokeswoman told the publication without providing any further details.
Hidden iPhone features
In brief: A video shows "hidden" features of the iPhone, MacNN has reviewed Newer Technology's Universal Drive Adapter, Apple has posted Macworld developer interviews, and Wild TV is selling episodes for the iPod. A YouTube video claims to glean unmentioned features of the Apple iPhone by analyzing Steve Jobs' recent Macworld keynote. Despite Jobs not intentionally demonstrating the feature, the Calendar application is deconstructed, as is alphabetical navigation in lists. Finally, a pair of clues suggest that Apple will allow custom ringtones through iTunes.
Color specialists Pantone have announced the hueyPRO, a calibrator which automatically adjusts CRT and LCD monitors based on colorimeter readings. The device is roughly the size of a marker pen, and is mainly intended for professional illustrators and photographers, but can also be used for accuracy in games and movies. Unlike the standard huey (pictured), the PRO is designed for users who need to maintain consistency across multiple monitors. It should be available in April for a price of $129, and will work with Mac OS X 10.3.9, or Windows XP, 2000 or Vista.
Cover Flow on iPod?
A new video has surfaced depicting Apple's Cover Flow technology on an iPod, suggesting that the Cupertino-based company is heading away from text-based menus. Cover Flow is utilized in Apple's iPhone to visually browse musical albums with 3D representations of the cover art 'flipping' from side to side as users scroll through their complete albums. The anonymous video contributor also said that there will be no truly new iPods prior to the iPhone's release, according to Gizmodo, enabling the cellular handset to take center stage when it begins shipping in June. The video appears to show a user with a video-capable iPod flipping back and forth through various musical albums using the clickwheel, revealing the standard user interface when a song is selected for playback.
Apple Bluetooth headset
Apple's website now reveals that the company is planning to offer a "new, remarkably compact Bluetooth headset." The company offers no further details about the headset, but notes the iPhone's Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) technology as a feature of the forthcoming device. Apple hasn't offered a Bluetooth headset of its own in the past, instead linking to such products as Logitech's USB Headset 250 and Plantronics .Audio 85 USB Headset via its online store to accommodate customer needs. The debut of an Apple-branded Bluetooth headset would expand the company's growing list of accessories, which saw unprecedented success last year after Apple reported a record quarter.
Sprint Unlimited Access
Sprint on Monday revealed an early form of its new Unlimited Access Pack, a service plan designed to compete against Helio and other virtual network operators who focus on live video streaming and other Internet-heavy cellphone use. The deal gives subscribers effectively unrestricted access to all of the US carrier's phone-related services, including data-intensive Internet access and text messaging, for $120 per month. A separate plan including home PC access is also ready for $150 per month, the company says.
Netscape founder switches
The founder of Netscape and co-founder of LoudCloud (Opsware) and Ning Marc Andreessen has given up his Windows system in favor of a MacBook Pro. Andreessen tells of experiencing difficulties with his 15-inch Lenovo ThinkPad T60 notebook, after which he purchased a 15-inch MacBook Pro. "I used to be a Mac user till 1994," Andreessen said. "Now I am a Mac user again." Andreessen was visibly happy when telling his story, according to one blogger who sat down for coffee with Netscape's founder. The technical bigwig follows thousands of others who adopted Macs last year, causing Apple's share of the personal computer market to surge amidst reports that over half of those who bought a Mac had never owned one previously.
iPod to Get Cover Flow
Apple is planning to add its much-vaunted Cover Flow visual album browsing to the iPod through a firmware update, according to a video provided by an anonymous source. The feature would all but mirror the feature introduced first in iTunes 7 for computers and later in the still unreleased iPhone, giving the first alternative to text-based menus since the iPod was first born in 2001. Although details of exactly when and how Cover Flow would be triggered were not revealed, the video suggests that the interface change occurs when browsing albums, reverting back to the familiar control scheme when a particular album is chosen.
The source also claimed that there would be no truly new iPods before the iPhone's release in June, allowing the cellphone to take center stage. Read through to see the video itself. [via Gizmodo]
Moto KRZR for T-Mobile
T-Mobile will become the fourth major carrier in the States to get the KRZR phone, leaked sell sheets have revealed. The company will receive a special edition of the Motorola phone in a unique color -- dubbed "silver quartz" -- and should have true stereo Bluetooth support, a feature reportedly disabled in the blue AT&T model. The custom KRZR will also tap into T-Mobile's MyFaves for free calling to favorites, the leak said.
Although no price was uncovered in the sheets, the new document sets a firm date of March 26th for the official debut of the T-Mobile version, which is fundamentally the same in other respects with a 2-megapixel camera, EDGE Internet, and microSD card storage. The full images follow after the break. [via CrunchGear]
Trampoline 2.0 ($20) brings up a "bullseye" with a push of a hotkey, offering instant access to a group of most-used programs. The exact programs that go in the list can be customized by the user. Among a host of additions, v2.0 introduces "hierarchical" trampolines, revealed by clicking on a master icon, and the ability to add URLs as well as local files. The app is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.
[Download - 2.7MB]
ImageSwapper for InDesign CS2 1.0 ($235) finds and replaces low-resolution placeholder images with their production quality counterparts. Users select two points on the original and replacement images, and ImageSwapper will rotate and scale accordingly. Any mistakes can be refined through manual override. Unfortunately, there is no demo for the plug-in. [Download - Size Unknown]
Sketch 3.0 ($75) plugs into software like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, and converts photos into (more) naturalistic watercolors and pencil sketches. Batch processing can turn videos into cartoons. The biggest change to v3.0 is the ability to save and edit presets for future use; the app is also installed more easily on the Mac, by dragging the folder from the Installation Wizard into the target program's plug-in directory. [Download - 6.2MB]
ProLevel 1.0 ($20) displays detailed information about input stereo signals, such as peak and RMS levels, and any clipping that may be occurring. Windows for each channel are movable and displayed separately, and respond at 30 frames per second. ProLevel is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 354KB]
Hangman Pro 2.1.0 ($25) takes the standard word-guessing game and adds 70 different categories, ranging from Anatomy to Dinosaurs to Women in History. The v2.1.0 update covers the Best Picture, Actor and Actress categories of Sunday night's Oscar ceremonies. The system requirements of Hangman are extremely low, needing only a PowerPC chip and Mac OS 9. [Download - 1.4MB]
CharacterPal 4.1 (donation) is a Dashboard widget that shows the key or HTML combinations for special text characters. Specific examples include Greek, Latin, and mathematical symbols. Version 4.1 adds several other languages, namely Danish, Swedish, Russian and Bulgarian. Users can also tweak the transparency of the widget. Mac OS X 10.4.3 is required. [Download - 212KB]
Camino 1.1 beta released
The Camino Project has released Camino 1.1 beta, a new version of the popular open-source Mac browser based on same code-base as Firefox. The developers aim to create a more Mac-like experience: the new browser "combines the awesome visual and behavioral experience that has been central to the Macintosh philosophy with the powerful web-browsing capabilities of the Gecko rendering engine." The beta version includes improved pop-up blocking options as well as improves privacy and security features, warning users if the login form on a website differs from the form used when saving the password. Version 1.1 now also supports Kerberos authentication used in many internal networks and delivers new "annoyance blocking" features that allow users to disable all plugins as well as block Flash animations until the user clicks on them. Like its Firefox counterpart, Camino can now restore tabs and windows that were open before an unexpected quit and can also optionally save a list of all active tabs and windows when the user quits and restore them when launching Camino again.
Meizu M6 8GB Enroute
Meizu today said it was about to release a new version of its M6 Mini Player, according to a newly leaked photo (pictured). The iPod-influenced media device should get an upgrade to 8GB of flash storage, giving a significant lift to support for music, photos, and videos. The design and shape should remain close to the original M6 in spite of the added memory. Meizu anticipates launching the 8GB model on March 1st for an unknown price, though the device should sell for far less than most competing hardware given the $164 price of the 4GB edition.
The Chinese firm also announced today that it would push back the launch of the M3, also known as the MusicCard. The iPod nano-like, music focused player was due to be released at the same time as the M6 but will now see an introduction later in the month. No specific reason was given for the delay. [via MeizuMe]
MyPublisher's BookMaker 2
MyPublisher today announced its free software book-making software for Mac users. BookMaker 2.0 is a photo book making tool that replaces its previous iPhoto plug-in, offering more options and creative control for taking digital photos and making a professional quality photo book. BookMaker 2.0 offers significantly more cover designs, cover styles and colors, and book sizes in a free software program that downloads onto your computer's hard drive in less than a minute, according to the company. BookMaker offers both auto and manual build options, allowing customers to choose between designing each page individually or letting BookMaker build the photo book. The software features drag and drop support and 120 custom layouts that can be ordered in fine Italian linen, leather hardcover or soft cover paperback. MyPublisher is offering 50% off orders over $100 and 25% off orders over $50; printing prices start at $10 for a 20-page book.
Sony BDP-S300 Player
Sony today revealed a new, budget Blu-Ray movie player targeted at the mainstream. Called the BDP-S300, the device will be a smaller version of the company's BDP-S1 (pictured) at roughly the size of a modern-day DVD player. Despite the size reduction, however, the company promises features not present in Toshiba's own $499 HD-A2 and even Sony's own introductory player. Video will output at a full 1080p for TVs that can support the resolution, unlike the Toshiba; the S300 will also have support for audio CDs, a feature missing from the inaugural S1.
The new model should be available by summer at a price of $599, far below the $999 of the existing model. Prices should also dip below the all-important $500 mark by the end of the year, Sony said. The price may affect Sony's sales of the PlayStation 3, which plays Blu-Ray at $499 but is sold at a loss to encourage sales.
iPhone vs. BlackBerry
Research analyst Brantley Thompson of Goldman Sachs expressed high approval of RIM's (Research In Motion's) BlackBerry portable gadget, while analyst David Bailey from the same firm expressed serious interest in Apple's iPhone. The analysts are upbeat about the respective devices, but RIM's co-chief executive Jim Balsillie said the iPhone simply marks another competitor's entry into the smartphone market. Goldman still holds Apple shares as a "conviction buy" based on the likely success of the iPhone in June, but simultaneously says that RIMM is "at an inflection point." Bailey says that even if the iPhone cannibalizes 25-50 percent of iPod sales, the device will add 6-7 percent to Apple sales between this year and next, according to SeekingAlpha.
Grundig U900 and X900
Normally associated with its stereos, Grundig has launched a duo of cellphones meant to tackle the fiercely competitive ultra-thin market. As the firm's new flagship, the Linux-based U900 is designed around 3G wireless. Though measuring 0.55 inches thick, the phone has room for both a rear 2-megapixel camera and a front VGA camera for sending videos across a UMTS mobile broadband connection. Live video streaming is also made possible by the enhanced support, Grundig says. A healthy 100MB of built-in flash stores media onboard helps casual users avoid resorting to the microSD card slot for added storage. An FM radio is also built-in for an alternative to the user's own collection.
Read through for Grundig's second phone and product shots.
Latitude D630 in April
Dell may launch Intel's latest notebook platform early, according to multiple product leaks. Confirmed by a driver page on Dell's own site, the 14-inch Latitude D630 and 15.4-inch D830 will represent the first major changes to the design in a year. No specifications were revealed, but both systems are expected to use Intel's new Santa Rosa platform, which enhances the Core 2 Duo with a faster 800MHz system bus, 802.11n wireless, and drastically enhanced integrated graphics.
Importantly, a corroborating leak at Switzerland's St. Gallen University indicates a late April launch for the D630 -- suggesting that Dell will preempt Intel's officially scheduled May release for Santa Rosa-equipped notebooks. The move could signal an earlier than expected launch from other companies. [via Notebook Review]
Tekkeon's newly-released ezSpeak lets owners completely detach from their cellphone. Inside is a Bluetooth 1.2 receiver, which handles both incoming and outgoing calls, as well as the display of caller ID, battery power and volume level. Perhaps most importantly, the ezSpeak can be used to redial recent numbers, or dial new numbers with voice. The device can sit on a seat or desk or clip to a car's sunvisor. A lithium-polymer battery provides up to 10 hours of talk time or 220 hours (nine days) of standby. Tekkeon is selling the ezSpeak today for $80, which includes the visor clip and a 12V car charger.
DryptAway, KeyCue, VuMan
dryptAway 1.0 (€7) is a compact Mac OS X security utility with drag-and-drop functionality. The software creates RC4 or Blowfish encrypted files, requiring users to enter a password to create disk images that grow as needed. Users can burn encrypted images to discs, and the application supports the zip as well as gzip compression formats.
[Download - 523KB]
KeyCue 3.0 ($20) updates the menu shortcut 'cheat sheet' software, offering different themes for customizing the appearance of the shortcut table. New themes include the 'classic' look of revious versions as well as a new Dashboard theme that darkens the rest of the screen to attract attention to shortcuts. KeyCue 3.0 also adds complete French localization with French documentation alongside functional improvements and maintenance fixes. [Download - 800KB]
VuMan 2.0 ($20) is a graphical user interface to 'man,' the main system of Unix software documentation. VuMan offers a clean interface for viewing man pages with the ability to search, browse, display, and jump to new man pages in a single window. The software also supports printing man pages, converting man pages to other formats such as HTML or PDF, and includes searchable documentation via the Help menu. [Download - 4.6MB]
Dashalytics widget (free) is designed to access a Google Analytics account to retrieve the high level visit and pageview data. The widget enables users to see traffic data over the last 24 hours, seven days, and 12 months with the ability to get detailed information in each category. [Download - 184KB]
Soundstream 1.5 (free) is a Mac OS X screensaver that responds to sound input. Offering colorful Flurry-like streams that pulse to the beat of music or bloom with ambient noise, it supports both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs that run Mac OS X 10.4.4 as well as support Quartz Extreme. The plugin can also be used as an iTunes Visualizer, for Keynote slides, and for the Desktop background. [Download - 180KB]
Birthday Buzzer 1.1.1 ($9) is an application that reminds you of upcoming and already-missed birthdays by integrating with Apple's Address Book. It has a variety of reminder options, including Growl support. The update brings the display of birthstones and astrological symbols, display of birthdays in the dock menu, and misc bug fixes. A free demo is available, and the full version is $9 US. It is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4 or newer. [Download - 580KB]
Goldman on iPhone
Apple's iPhone will likely see positive acceptance when the device ships in June, according to research firm Goldman Sachs. Goldman points to a recent handset branding survey that was conducted in China, India, the U.K. and the U.S. as evidence that Apple's new gadget might yield positive results for the Cupertino-based company. Despite the fact that the survey took place before iPhone was debuted at Macworld in January, the number of potential iPhone buyers is equivalent to 75 percent of the installed base of current iPod owners, according to SeekingAlpha. Just under one-half of the potential buyers come from respondents who have never owned an iPod, and 71 percent of respondents in the U.S. indicated interest in a potential Apple cellular handset.
Denon upscaler and hi-fi
At Friday's Sound & Vision expo in Bristol, England, Denon displayed a new pair of high-end AV products. Foremost is the DVD-2930, a player which can upscale to an impressive 1080p resolution, while still costing a relatively manageable £650 ($1,276). By contrast, the similarly-capable DVD-A1XVA may cost hundreds of dollars more. The 2930 is also well-equipped to handle a variety of formats, such as MP3, DivX 6, SACD, and DVD Audio. Computer monitors can be used to view video in VGA, XGA, WXGA and SXGA resolutions. The 2930 is on sale now.
Audiophiles will appreciate the CX3 hi-fi system, which comes with features like gold-plated input terminals and a connection for iPod docks. The accompanying CD player can handle SACD and MP3/WMA discs, and the matching speakers produce 75W per channel with 8 ohms of resistance. The CX3 should also be on sale already, though prices can only be had by ordering a catalogue.
Samsung t219 at T-Mobile
The American division of T-Mobile today began carrying the Samsung t219. The budget flip-phone brings a level of sleekness to the field, says the cell network: a glossy red or brown shell frames both the outside and the inside, while an unusually large external LCD provides a quick notifier for calls and signal strength. Basic Internet access is also a staple feature: AIM, ICQ, Windows Live, and Yahoo messages will all relay though the phone.
The t219 works with T-Mobile's MyFaves service for making free calls to five favorite contacts regardless of their provider, and sell for $20 as part of a two-year agreement. Click through for profile shots. [via Phone Scoop]
JobOrder for Construction
Management Software today released an update of its JobOrder for Construction software on both Mac and Windows platforms. The latest revision includes simple interfaces for job scheduling, job costing, accounting, vendor management, asset management, and prioritizing. JobOrder for Construction enables users to create accurate estimates, prioritize work, monitor resources, send invoices, streamline accounting, and generate instant reports, according to the company. The application is designed to minimize efforts by requiring as little data entry as possible, and maintains a simple but intuitive interface. JobOrder is priced at $2,500, with the JobOrder Accounting Modules available for $1,300. The JobOrder Digital Asset Management module is free with a single user license.
Apple board member, Oscars
Former vice president and Apple board member Al Gore last night spoke at the Oscars after the film 'An Inconvenient Truth' -- which features Gore's take on the dangers of global warming -- won two awards for best documentary and best song. While Gore himself did not actually take home the oscars, he used his opportunity on stage to talk about global warming. "My fellow Americans, people all over the world: we need to solve the climate crisis," Gore said as he addressed the audience of the Oscars. "It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."
Hidden iPhone features
A YouTube video by Actioncorp (embedded below) claims to glean unmentioned features of the Apple iPhone by analyzing Steve Jobs' recent MacWorld keynote. The Calendar application was scarcely mentioned during the presentation, for instance, but still photos reveal three different views (Day, Month, Year) and a display of upcoming events within a timeframe. Also, when scrolling through lists on the phone, a column of letters on the right-hand side lets users tap to instantly jump to sections alphabetically. The most interesting revelation may be the likelihood of ringtones bought or created by the user, which is suggested by the likes of a "Ringtones" tab used in the keynote version of iTunes. Click below for more details.
Olympus Upcoming DSLRs
Camera maker Olympus late yesterday posted a teaser image on its European page, hinting at future cameras to be revealed at the upcoming PMA photography expo next month. Although no details of the cameras themselves were directly revealed, the image suggests that at least two models will debut at the event. The models are likely to be direct replacements of the compact E-400 or E-500 models as well as the full-size E-1.
The cameras have no set release date but should be previewed three days in advance of PMA, receiving a formal introduction on March 5th. [via DPReview]
Estari Dual-Screen Laptop
Estari today said it was ready to take orders for its unique DC15 portable. Taking the influence of the Nintendo DS to its logical extreme, the recently announced PC uses two 15-inch touchscreens both for visuals and for control: owners tap the screen with their fingers or a stylus, using a virutal keyboard for text. The displays work in either portrait or landscape modes as with a desktop, the company says. Estari has also ruggedized the notebook, treating it as a briefcase with a hardened metal shell and a handle.
The system is available today and ships with a 1.83GHz Core Duo, 1GB of RAM, and 60GB of storage for a premium $4,350; options from the factory can upgrade storage to 100GB and an external FireWire DVD burner.
High-security voice memos
Philips' new Digital Pocket Memo 9600 is not an ordinary voice recorder; it's designed to record potentially sensitive information, and block access to anyone who isn't approved. Dictation is password-protected within the recorder, and it's compliant with HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and other security standards. It should retain some ease of use however, since it has voice control, simple buttons, and a large backlit display. Files are recorded to SD/MMC cards up to 2GB in size, and transferred off via a Mini-USB port. Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 SP4 is required. The recorder should begin shipping in March.
Review, death of Fire
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Montage from Mariner Software, developers of the Fire multi-protocol instant messaging client for Mac OS X have announced that there will be no further versions available, and BitTorrent has opened its own video download store to challenge rivals such as Apple by using its own distributed download technology. Montage ($140) is a screenplay program that surrounds a story, providing a gallery of templates, while an iTunes-like sidebar lists scripts as well as scenes and characters. The software acts as a database mechanism with support for a story effort, including research and to-do lists. Further Montage features include script automation, database functionality, and native Intel Mac support.
MediaREADY on Monday introduced its first-ever DV cameras, giving them a unique twist to reflect their creator's roots. The Recon and Recon Pro both emphasize media playback: the basic Recon model offers MP3 songs with lyrics as well as MP4 video, while the slimmer but more advanced Pro edition adds WAV and WMA. Each also holds 32MB of internal flash memory and can record voice by itself in addition to movies.
Besides format support, camera quality and storage also dictate the differences between models. In addition to recording video, the Recon Pro captures still images at a native 5 megapixels and at an interpolated 12 megapixels, with image stabilization as well as an SD card slot for longer-running videos. The basic Recon is intended as a first-time camera and uses a more modest 3.2-megapixel sensor (5 megapixels interpolated), removes SD storage, and can run on only two AA batteries. MediaREADY ships the two in March at $149 for the base Recon and $249 for the Recon Pro.
Moto RAZR V3xx Gold
AT&T today unveiled the RAZR V3xx Gold. The new clamshell merges both the gold-tinted shell of the Dolce & Gabbana RAZR, previously limited only to an exclusive unlocked model, with the 3G wireless abilities of the V3xx released earlier with the cell carrier in the RAZR's more conventional gray. The V3xx primarily adds HSDPA broadband for quicker Internet access, maintaining the 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and microSD slot from before.
The provider sells the Gold edition at a slight premium over its more ordinary counterpart, offering it for $100 when joined with a two-year contract. AT&T also retails the phone for $280 without a plan.
MP3 player patent lawsuit
Apple, Samsung, and Sandisk are being sued over a patent covering 'an MPEG portable sound reproducing system', according to a new report. Texas MP3 Technologies has filed a patent suit in Marshall, Texas alleging that the three companies infringe on its patent, but appears to have chosen that particular venue because of its plaintiff-friendly history: "The eastern Texas city is fast becoming one of the leading locations of patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. thanks to speedy trials and juries that more often than not find in favor of the plaintiff," the report said. The complaint specifically cites US patent 7,065,417, which was awarded in June 2006 to multimedia chip-maker SigmaTel and sold the US rights to the patent a little over a month ago. Apple's media player products have used both SigmaTel and Samsung multimedia decoding processors.
BitTorrent Store Official
BitTorrent this morning officially launched the BitTorrent Entertainment Network, the company's own approach to paid video downloads. As outlined by the company in late January, the service hopes to challenge larger rivals by using its own distributed download technology, keeping downloads fast while offloading some of the bandwidth to customers. Prices and accessibility vary based on content, BitTorrent says: movies are available only for rent at prices of $4 for new titles and $3 for older releases, while TV shows are available as permanent downloads for $2 each. Rentals expire 24 hours after play or after 30 days. Music videos and some PC games are also available, BitTorrent says.
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