Mark/Space today released a public preview of The Missing Sync for BlackBerry, with the final version expected at the end of the quarter. The Missing Sync for BlackBerry synchronizes contacts, calendar events, tasks and notes between a Mac running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later and a USB-capable BlackBerry handset running version 4.0 or later of the BlackBerry operating system. Owners of BlackBerry Pearl or the new 8800 series handsets can leverage The Missing Sync's iPhoto album and iTunes playlist syncing (for unprotected audio files). "The Missing Sync for BlackBerry really brings out the multimedia capabilities of these devices," the company said. The software syncs contacts with Apple's Address Book and any BlackBerry hands and calendar events and tasks from iCal.
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the statement by one Mac user that Apple hasn't released an 'innovative' laptop since the Pismo, questioning what makes current Mac laptops 'different'.... Other users are offering advice to an iMac buyer who is considering cancelling his iMac order, in light of recent upgrade speculation.... One user has asked for help correcting poor picture quality when using a Sony TV as an external display for a MacBook..... Other members are offering advice to a new Mac user looking to run a MacBook closed using an external display with keyboard and mouse.... Meanwhile, other members are discussing their design taste concerning the appeal of placing stickers and other accessories on a Mac.
Apple's iTunes is the fastest growing media player and is set to surpass RealPlayer in popularity later this year. A new report claims that iTunes saw growth of 47.5 percent over the past year, while the other streaming media players had single-digit growth. At current growth rates iTunes users will exceed RealPlayer users by the second quarter of 2007, Website Optimization reports. Over the past year, the number of unique users of Apple's iTunes player grew by 47.5 percent, the report said. Over the same time period, RealPlayer users grew by 9.1 percent, QuickTime by 8.7 percent, and Windows Media Player grew by 2.0 percent accordingd by Nielsen//NetRatings.
Apple's list of refurbished MacBook Pro's swelled this week, adding a slew of models including its latest Core 2 Duo notebooks. The company's top-end pro-oriented laptops currently include its 15-inch 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of memory, and a 120GB hard drive for $1,599; the 15-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, and a 120GB hard drive for $1,999 with a standard or glossy finish; and its 17-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, and a 160GB hard drive for $2,299. The company is also offering reconditioned Core 2 Duo consumer-oriented notebooks which include the 1.83GHz White MacBook with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive for $949 with a standard or glossy finish; and its 2.0GHz Black MacBook with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,299.
A recent study suggests that Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system actually decreases the efficiency of creative users more than Windows XP, despite the Redmond-based company's efforts to offer a smoother interface that is easier to use. The study, conducted by Pfeiffer Consulting, examined a series of independently financed benchmarks that establish how Vista impacts User Interface Friction (UIF) and user efficiency, according to IT-Enquirer. Looking at a number of issues that were considered under-performed in previous versions of Windows, the benchmarks revealed slowdowns in the areas of mouse precision, but especially menu latency and desktop operations (such as opening folders or deleting items).
In brief: Scotsys today announced that it will hold three free Apple events in the month of March, Sony unveiled six new digital voice recorders with double the memory of previous models, the BBC is planning to launch an on-demand TV service that uses software only available to Windows users, and Prosilica has begun shipping a 30fps 2-megapixel CCD camera. The three events to be held by Scotsys include "Shoot Like a Pro" with Aperture and Colin Prior, one of Britain's leading landscape photographers; and "Like iPod? Love Mac" for two in-store events with a live DJ, GarageBand demos, and free iLife training with every Mac. A prize draw is scheduled at each event with a Numark iDJ and two 30GB iPods for the winner.
Sony today introduced a slew of new digital cameras, updating its Cyber-shot line with a total of seven new models. The company unveiled four new compact and semi-pro Cyber-shot models between its T- and H-series, and launched a trio of cameras in its W series. The 8-megapixel Cyber-shot T100 and T20 cameras are sharper than its predecessors, according to Sony, while the H9 and H9 cameras improve on the company's H2 by ramping up the zoom from 12X to 15X. Sony's W200 is the company's first compact point-and-shoot camera to offer a true 12.1-megapixel sensor, which accompanies the 8.1-megapixel W90 and 7.2-megapixel W80 as an improvement over the earlier line. Sony's T100 ($400) is slated for shipment in March, while its mid-range T20 ($330) is due in April. The H7 ($400) and H9 ($480) are both expected to arrive in stores by April. Sony's W80 and W90 cameras are scheduled to ship in March for $250 and $300, respectively, while its flagship W200 hits shelves in May with a price tag of $400.
Marware today revealed the Sidewinder Spectra plastic hard-case for 2nd generation iPod nanos featuring a patented slide-out headphone cord stow and removable dock connector cover. The front of the case is clear whilst the back is available in colours matching the ipod nano range. The front opening is tapered to allow comfortable access to the clickwheel, whilst access to the hold switch and headphone socket is unhindered. The cases also include an optional adhesive clip base and are priced at $25.
As one of its final announcements from its press day, Sony added a single Xplod head unit to its car stereos. The MEX-BT2500 makes Bluetooth a realistic option for most drivers, Sony claims. Combining a transmitter and noise-reducing microphone lets the CD player stand in as a hands-free calling hub for most Bluetooth cellphones. The head-end's wireless stereo support also works with more recent music phones (including much of Sony-Ericsson's Walkman line) and any other portable media player with Bluetooth inside. A front-mounted auxiliary input jack is present for plugging in iPods or other music devices without the wireless standard. The BT2500 can drive as much as 52W of power across four channels and includes the by now de facto support for MP3 and WMA audio CDs. Sony's latest Xplod unit will be set for a March launch at a price of $180. A full image is ready after the break.
To support its new cameras, Sony on Tuesday also released two new PictureStation photo printers. Both the FP90 with a flip-up 3.6-inch LCD and the FP70 with a fixed 2.5-inch LCD are said to be light enough for real travel and incorporate their own handles for carrying on a vacation. Common to both is a superimpose mode for applying a custom message for a birthday. The printers can optionally auto-correct photos themselves and have a slew of filters for deliberately emphasizing lights, specific colors, or creating a canvas-effect texture. The FP70 and larger-screened FP90 should be available in March for $150 and $200 respectively, and should work with any PictBridge-enabled USB camera as well as the Memory Stick cards found in Sony's own cameras. Photos follow after the jump.
Australian company 22Moo has announced eleven new products--most of which are in its range of video glasses. The VG240, VG910, VG920 and VG920D are meant to be used with a variety of video sources, such as iPods, Zunes and DVD players, while the 920s (pictured) add a VGA port for connection to a Mac or PC. The key difference between these and the Argo glasses (Argo, Argo+ and Argo+Cinema) is virtual screen size and distance: whereas the VG glasses simulate the equivalent of 50- to 80-inch images at a distance of 3.3 feet, the Argos display 43-inch images at a range of 6.6 feet. Prices range from $235 for the VG-240 to $500 for the Argo+Cinema, which includes a portable DVD player.
Toshiba this afternoon brought its holdout Satellite P100 series of gaming portables into 2007 with updates for Windows Vista. Every model in the updated line is preloaded with Vista Ultimate for full support of Media Center and key extras like DreamScene video backgrounds. A 512MB GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics chip is also embedded for better 3D performance. The reference model is the ST9752 with a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of RAM, 120GB of hard disk space and a 1440x900 screen at $1,999. At the next level is the ST9762 ($2,499), which boosts CPU performance to 2GHz, upgrades storage to 160GB, and sharpens the display to 1680x1050. Finally, the pinnacle ST9772 at $2,899 keeps the enhancements of the ST9762 while doubling the RAM to 2GB. Toshiba is stocking the updated P100 today.
Best known for its cameras, Olympus today unveiled the VJ-10 Radio Server. The compact device translates the design philosophy of PVRs to sound by storing audio on 37GB of free hard drive space, leaving room for up to 2500 hours of timeshifted FM radio. The storage is enough that up to 20 shows can be scheduled for recording in advance -- no matter how long they may be, Olympus says. A 3.9-inch LCD helps manage recordings on the unit itself, but a USB connection is available to transfer shows to a PC or to upload existing MP3 and WMA audio clips to the Radio Server. The standard version is due on March 16th in Japan for $335. A special model, the VJ-10-JA, is following on April 1st preloaded with six months of NHK's English instruction radio shows for those eager to learn the Western language.
Wolverine Data today began shipping the Wolverine ESP portable multimedia player with 160GB of storage, offering double the space of Apple's top-end 80GB video iPod. The new player features a 3.6-inch TFT LCD display, and can record TV shows as well as FM radio. Measuring 5.3 x 2.8 x 0.9-inches, the Wolverine ESP 5160 weighs 10.2 ounces and features a built-in 7-in-1 card reader that accepts popular memory card formats. Photographers can offload RAW files from various cameras including select models of Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Kodak, Pentax, Konica Minolta, Panasonic, Contax, Leica, and Sony. Users can also view, zoom, rotate, and evaluate the EXIF as well as Histogram information from JPEG, bitmap, TIFF, text, and RAW images directly on the player. The Wolverine ESP 5160 is priced at $550, with an 80GB model also available for $380.
Miglia Technology released its LocationFree software for Mac OS X, enabling users to stream TV or video wirelessly or over the internet via Sony's LocationFree base stations. LocationFree streams from up to four separate devices to one Mac system to offer support for a TV signal from a cable box, satellite receiver, or DVR. Data streams to a broadband hub and is redirected to a Mac as long as the device has access to a broadband connection. LocationFree also allows users to change channels, view recorded material, and schedule future recordings remotely. LocationFree (OS X) is priced at $60, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and a minimum of a 1Ghz PowerPC G4.
Sony bolstered its many releases today with new additions to its Digital Voice Recorder line. The SX57 (pictured) is designed for those who expect to capture voice at the same level as a good stereo recording, with a triple microphone array and a special STHQ (stereo high-quality) mode for musicians and other professionals. Its system is voice-triggered and is smart enough to stop recording during longer pauses to save space, Sony says. The SX57 ships in the Spring with 256MB of memory for $200 and will be followed by the SX57DR9, a $250 version with a cradle and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 for automatically transcribing interviews. More after the break.
Samsung on Tuesday expanded its plasma TV line with three new systems beyond those announced at CES. The 63-inch 63P71FHD, 50-inch 50Q92HD, and 42-inch 42Q92HD are all drastically improved for viewing even in mid-day. The Korean firm boasts a 50 percent jump in contrast ratio to 15,000:1 for better image quality regardless of conditions; a Daylight Filter layer passively reduces glare, and an Ultra Daylight Mode actively adjusts the picture to look its best in daytime. Though the 42-inch and 50-inch models reach only 720p, the 63-inch model is capable of a full 1080p resolution and is rare for sporting a Bluetooth adapter to connect to wireless headphones or compatible printers. Pricing and exact availability are unknown for the initial Korean launch, though these models are likely to appear in the US at a later point with minor changes.
Namco Networks today released Ms. Pac-Man for the video iPod via the iTunes Store for $4.99. The release marks the 25th anniversary of the classic video game and serves as the companion to the original Pac-Man that launched when iPod games were first released in September of last year. Ms. Pac-Man is the second Namco game produced for the video iPod, challenging players to navigate the character through four different mazes while evading ghosts. Ms. Pac-Man is charged with chomping all of the pellets on the screen to proceed to the next level and specially placed 'power pellets' enable players to temporarily gobble up the ghosts to send them back to their start locations. Ms. Pac-Man features 256 maze levels with the 'coffee break' animated intervals available in the original coin-op arcade version. The iPod version also features arcade game cabinet art as well as a tutorial level.
The flood is unstopped with the news of four new Bluetooth stereos by Sony. The first three are shelf systems, with the bare model being the CM-BX5BT. Aside from supporting any A2DP audio source, it also decodes MP3s natively, displaying the ID3 tags on its LCD. Wooden speaker cabinets produce 15W of sound. The CMT-HX7BT improves power to 50W, and is further equipped with a digital amplifier, as well as satellite radio support. The top-end CMT-DH7BT (pictured) swaps the CD player for a DVD player, which can be used for movie playback on a connected TV. The ZS-BT1 is a portable stereo, and for that reason can be controlled remotely through Bluetooth using AVRCP, in addition to handling wireless audio signals. The system is otherwise fairly conventional, coming with a standard remote and a line-in jack for secondary sources. The BT1 should ship in August for $150; the CMT stereos will come in April at prices ranging from $150 to $300.
DEVONtechnologies today released DEVONthink Professional and DEVONthink Professional Office 1.3 final, updating the document and information managers for the Mac based on artificial intelligence. DEVONthink Professional Office 1.3 final adds French and Danish localizations to the additional functions over the regular Professional edition, as well as a keyboard shortcut for the Capture function and support for inspecting a captured image when optical character recognition (OCR) fails. The latest release of DEVONthink Professional Office also enables users to import Unix mailbox files via drag-and-drop, enhances the reliability of the OCR process, and fixes some minor interface glitches. DEVONthink Professional Office is priced at $150, while DEVONthink Professional is available for $80. Both applications require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Consumate with the 2007 Travel Goods Show, Case Logic has announced a variety of bags and cases that should be useful for gadget carriers. Perhaps most useful will be upcoming lines of messenger bags and backpacks, which will not only have padded laptop storage, but detachable cases for USB drives. The company has already launched dedicated hard drive cases in three different sizes. Finally, the company is working on cases specifically designed for GPS units, which will have extra space for cords and adapters. Dates are uncertain for the unreleased products, but the bags and backpacks are expected sometime in the spring.
Another release by Sony today saw the company follow its direct-view LCD introductions with an update to its Bravia 3LCD rear-projection sets. All three are about 22-percent slimmer than earlier models, making them an easier fit in apartments and other tight home theaters. Each model brings support for the Bravia Internet Link for streaming media and Bravia Theater Sync for faster switching of HDMI sources, as well as the Cross Media Bar interface for managing the TV itself. Click through for more details.
Sony has debuted seven home theater systems, foremost being the Bravia Theater line, the company's first systems to bear the branding of their television siblings -- the notion being that customers will buy the former to compliment the latter. There are three Bravia Theaters in the initial lineup: the DAV-HDX265, DAV-HDX267W, and the DAV-HDX500, each of which has a DVD changer with upscaling to 720p or 1080i. Another common feature is the Digital Media Port, which enables input from Bluetooth and WiFi sources as well as portable audio players. The 267W adds wireless rear speakers, while the 500 has both optical and coaxial inputs, and support for XM's Connect and Play technology. The speakers are floor-standing models that can be adjusted for height. The 265 ($300) and 500 ($500) will be ready in March; the 267W is coming in April for $300.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Speck TechStyle-Puck case for Apple's second-generation iPod shuffle, Apple was granted a new patent for Final Cut Pro covering customized shading of a graphical user interface, Adobe CS3 is rumored to be releasing CS3 on March 29th, and MacProVideo.com is offering 33 percent off all its tutorial videos in celebration of its second anniversary.... Speck's TechStyle-Puck case is constructed from a hard molded PVC foam surrounded by a black nylon cover, enabling users to safely store an iPod shuffle with other gear. Earbuds wrap around the package, and an orange cloth tab comes with a powder coated metal carabineer clip to attach the case to apparel.
Accompanying the release of the H- and T-series, Sony on Tuesday expanded its Cyber-shot line to include a trio of cameras in the W series. At the forefront is the W200 (pictured): the camera is the first compact point-and-shoot to claim a true 12.1 megapixels, delivering shots as large as 4000x3000. The 8.1-megapixel W90 and 7.2-megapixel W80 also stand as improvements over the earlier line, according to Sony. More details and a gallery can be found after the break.
Continuing a large string of announcements today, Sony updated its Cyber-shots with four new compact and semi-pro models. The 8-megapixel T-series is sharper than its predecessors and also more media-savvy, the company says: each can connect through a component cable directly or through a new Cyber-shot docking station to output their photos at HD resolution. A special printer is also available that can preview the photos on a TV while printing directly from the camera to make sure a given photo is worth a permanent copy. More details, cameras, and a gallery follow after the jump.
Parallels today released a free update to Parallels Desktop for Mac to enhance its virtualization software with a new installation assistant tool, shared networking support, and official compatibility for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The latest release of Parallels Desktop for Mac also supports Microsoft's recently-released Windows Vista operating system, adds several additional features, and repairs numerous bugs. Parallels Desktop for Mac runs 'guest' operating systems inside a Mac by allowing that operating system to run alongside Mac OS X, managing system resources as the two systems co-exist side-by-side. The latest revision ensures that Solaris guest operating systems don't hang after suspending or resuming, and includes an improved Parallels Tools package. Parallels Desktop now offers full support for OpenBSD 3.8 as a guest operating system, and ensures that the G4U hard disk cloning tool works in virtual machines.
FileMaker has opened registration for the 2007 FileMaker Developer Conference and unveiled the FileMaker DevCon Online Connection to serve as an online resource for FileMaker developers. Attendees who register between now and June 29th will save $200, according to the company, and the FileMaker DevCon Online Connection enables anyone who has ever considered attending the FileMaker Developer Conference to meet others online to discuss previous conferences as well as the upcoming event. The 2007 FileMaker Developer Conference is scheduled for August 5-9th in Orlando, Florida at the Grande Lakes JW Marriott Hotel & Resort. This year's conference includes more than 50 sessions focusing on new tools and techniques, as well as practices and new approaches for developing database solutions more securely.
Pantone has released hueyPRO, a calibrator that automatically adjusts CRT and LCD monitors based on colorimeter readings. The device, which is roughly the size of a marker pen, is primarily intended for professional illustrators and photographers but is suitable for accuracy in games as well as movies, according to Electronista. The hueyPRO can maintain consistency across multiple monitors and is expected to ship in April for $130, offering compatibility with Mac OS X 10.3.9 as well as Windows 2000/XP/Vista.
Sony this morning launched a major update to its Bravia line of TVs, targeting the mainstream end of its line. All seven new sets are the first to support the electronics maker's Internet Link adapter for streaming media directly to the set without a separate PC, and use the Cross Media Bar interface first seen in the PSP and PS3. Highlighting the launch are the two V3000-series 40- and 46-inch models (pictured): both not only feature a native 1080p resolution but also have a more vivid cold-cathode backlight and a 10-bit panel that produces subtler color gradients. The two also mark the debut of Bravia Theater Sync, a feature that uses the HDMI link to quickly switch between sources through a single button on the TV remote. The V3000 line should be available this summer for a price to be announced later, while the Internet Link connector should arrive in July for $300. Click through for details of the S3000 and XBR4 sets.
Motorola today launched the StarTAC III for Korea, where the classic design has remained popular. A nod to both the 1996 flip-phone and the company's current design cues, the III preserves the short but wide stance of the original while modernizing the features. A larger, 2-inch 240x320 color screen makes the 2007 phone useful for Internet browsing as well as built-in GPS functions and eBooks. Also new is a three-color LED light on the outside that changes depending on the type of incoming call. MP3 playback is similarly new to the iconic brand.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R