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SOHO Notes; Shoebox
SOHO Notes 5.7.1 ($40) is a note-taking application, capable of storing text, images, video, PDF files and more. New in v5.7 is sorting through a Label column, and more options for Full Screen mode, such as adjusting the width and height of the content area. Fifteen other enhancements and fixes have been implemented as well. Mac OS X 10.4.7 is required.
[Download - 27.8MB]
Shoebox 1.7 ($30) organizes photos on a computer, importing them from iPhoto and sorting them by category and keyword. Certain keywords have categories assigned automatically, such as "mom" entering under relatives. The v1.7 update displays categories in the status bar, and allows scrolling through photos with a mousewheel. The software now also requires Mac OS X 10.4 and should have better compatibility with 10.5. [Download - 3.6MB]
iPod Access 4.0.1 ($20) reverses the normal synching process, copying music, videos and playlists back to a Mac with intelligible filenames. Tracks can also be imported directly into iTunes with accompanying data. Among other features, the new version lets users force Manual Update mode, as well as pick multiple artists and albums to copy if they're not importing an entire iPod. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 5MB]
PTHPasteboard PRO 4.2 ($20) keeps multiple copied items at hand, should the default clipboard in Mac OS X not be enough. The program stays out of the way until it's actually needed. Version 4.2 is geared towards Japanese users, who now have the ability to apply spacing filters, or transform katakana to hiragana and back again. While PRO (required for filters) is $20, a basic version is available for free. [Download - 2.2MB]
PicSecret 1.0 (free) places hidden text messages into image files, enabling covert communication between knowing users. Original files can be resized and converted without destroying the content, since the PicSecret website creates a secondary file for the message. Recipients must also use the site to decode the message -- the primary purpose of the software is to make the process simpler. It's a Cocoa-based Universal Binary. [Download - 969KB]
OsiriX 2.7 (donation) is a free, open-source DICOM viewer for medical imaging. Also noteworthy is a unique technique for 3D/4D/5D navigation. Changes to v2.7 include the import and export of DICOM nodes in XML, and MPEG-2 support, which does however require VLC. Systems running OsiriX must have Mac OS 10.4 and 1GB of RAM. [Download - 33.3MB]
Google and Apple have "many more" projects in the works, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who spoke at a technology conference in San Francisco, but declined to provide any details. According to MarketWatch, Schmidt was addressing a question concerning rumors that Apple and Google were working on a tablet-style personal computer. Without commenting specifically on the rumor, the report said, Schmidt said Google and Apple are "doing more and more things together. We have similar goals, similar competitors." Already, Google's search features are to be standard on the iPhone, the much-anticipdated consumer device Apple plans to release in June. Schmidt was appointed to Apple's board of directors last August; he later declined declined stock options offered to new directors and said that he would instead buy shares on the open market. Last October the CEO also called Apple "the most remarkable second act ever seen in technology."
Apple plans German store
Apple has signed a deal with a Munich-based realtor for the future site of its first retail store in Germany, according to one report. The Cupertino-based company is hoping to turn a five-story building in Marienplatz into a four-story flagship retail store, as an architect's rendering appears to reveal renovations to the former home of Sport Schuster with a suspended Apple logo above the main entrance. AppleInsider reports that the location at 1 Rosenstrasse will feature an all-glass facade, and will open some time in the second half of next year as one of five new Apple stores planned for Germany -- with other locations expected in Berlin and Frankfurt.
Quadro FX 5600 Mac-bound
NVIDIA today provided a long-awaited refresh to its workstation graphics with the Quadro FX 5600, writes Electronista. A pro version of the GeForce 8800, the chipset borrows the same 128 unified hardware shaders to provide a major speed boost over the earlier 5500. The change also allows the processor to use CUDA technology, NVIDIA says, and because of the more generalized hardware, some tasks that would otherwise be handled by the main CPU can be offloaded to the new Quadro instead. Faster, larger 8K-by-8K texturing and SLI support for twin cards in one system are also part of the upgrade.
Prudential: Apple to rise
Apple is likely to experience significant growth due to an early launch of Mac OS X Leopard alongside Adobe's March 27th release of Creative Suite 3, according to Prudential Equity Group. The firm upgraded Apple's stock to 'Overweight' from 'Neutral weight' based on an expected late March launch of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Adobe's Creative Suite 3 -- 1-2 months ahead of Wall Street expectations. "We view this [as] a near-term catalyst for Mac sales," wrote Prudential analyst Jessie Tortora. "We view the company's long-term gross margin model of 28 percent to 30 percent as conservative and see margin upside over the next several quarters due to component cost declines and a richer product mix from sales of Leopard, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro, and iPhone." New product ramps are likely for iPhone and a flash-based widescreen video iPod with new functionality -- such as Wi-Fi and GPS capability -- to drive growth in the second half of 2007, according to the firm, which also raised its price target for Apple shares from $100 to $105.
OmniPilot sells Lasso
OmniPilot has sold its Lasso line of Web development products to LassoSoft, a three-person group that includes key members of the Lasso and Lasso Studio development teams as well as a sales director from OmniPilot. The announcement came during the keynote of the Lasso Summit, which was held March 2-4 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; however, specific terms of the sale were undisclosed. According to the new company, the Lasso development team is fully intact following the acquisition and arrangements have been made with all key employees to continue with LassoSoft. The Lasso development team, it claims, is working on updates for the Lasso 8.5 family of products as well as laying the ground work for future versions of Lasso, but did not provide any details on the product roadmap. LassoSoft says it stands fully behind the upgrade and support commitments of OmniPilot and that it will continue to offer upgrades to Lasso 8.5 from versions and sales and support policies established by OmniPilot will remain in effect under the new management.
Google Switch Phone Rumor
Google's heavily rumored Switch phone could break the mold of phone service in the US, according to a source speaking with venture capitalist Simeon Simeonov. Claiming that the alleged phone is real based on both the source and recent Google buyouts, Simeonov says that the web developer has found a way to get normally hostile carriers to allow the Switch to be sold for multiple US cell providers. Instead of forging exclusive deals, Google would take on the burden of marketing its device. The networks would only have to fulfill the orders, the financier said.
iTunes 7.1, QT 7.1.5 ship
Apple today released iTunes 7.1, an update to its multimedia jukebox software as well as QuickTime 7.1.5, an update to the multimedia software that address eight different security flaws. iTunes 7.1 brings support for Apple TV, allowing users to "enjoy your favorite iTunes movies, TV shows, music, and more from the comfort of your living room with Apple TV." Apple said that iTunes 7.1 also supports a new full screen Cover Flow and improved sorting options to let users decide how iTunes should sort your favorite artists, albums, and songs. Apple TV is expected to be available from Apple in next few weeks, after an unexpected delay pushed shipments back from promised February ship date. Apple's QuickTime 7.1.5, a 44.2MB download, delivers numerous bug fixes and addresses critical security issues. This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users. It includes security fixes for viewing a maliciously-crafted 3GP file on Windows machines and when viewing a variety of maliciously-crafted files (MIDI, QuickTime movie, PICT, QTIF) file on either Windows or Macs. Both of these could result in application crash or arbitrary code execution, according to Apple. The updates are available via the Software Update.
Siemens PN 3000 GPS
Siemens' GPS branch, VDO Dayton, has just launched the PN 3000. Sheer flexibility breaks it away from rivals, according to its creator. The 4.3-inch system is small enough to work as a handheld for up to four hours but can also be installed in a car's central column as a permanent fixture. More extras than average are available as well, the company says, with an Arkanoid-style game named Blockbuster and Sudoku complementing the more common JPEG viewer and MP3 player. International travel is also better than usual with up to 21 written languages (including UK and US English) as well as voice navigation for most regions.
The PN 3000 should be available now in Europe at prices of $615, $655, and $720 depending on the addition of features such as a special Traffic Message Channel for road conditions and Bluetooth for hands-free calls. [via GPS Gazette]
Philips Ambisound HTS8100
Home theater enthusiasts typically need furniture and electronics to go with their TV, both of which are amply supplied by the Ambisound HTS8100 by Philips. The top of the shelf holds an LCD or plasma set off the ground, and inside are five separate speakers, which are used to simulate 5.1 surround sound. The unit also has a built-in amplifier, and contains a DVD player which is 1080p-compatible and uses HDMI output. The trade-off, of course, is that users may have to replace the 8100 entirely if they want to swap out select components. The product is due in the second quarter of the year for $999.
Moto Q for Amp'd Mobile
The virtual network operator Amp'd is about to receive its own version of the Motorola Q, a user guide (PDF) inadvertently posted to the company's website. The variant headed to the media-obsessed carrier is expected to follow the same design as the Moto Q Black that launched last year but will shift its attention to music and video, supporting all the downloadable and streaming media available through the provider's EVDO Internet connection.
The manual unveils little else about the phone, which should be available very soon, but does confirm earlier rumors that the Q would be the first smartphone to ship for Amp'd. The last addition to the network was a custom edition of the RAZR released in October. [via Engadget]
Apple TV price, MIT
In brief: Comp USA has already posted the Apple TV on its website for $250, Macessity has announced a new AD Power Grip Bracket for Apple 20- and 23-inch displays, Enigma Games has released Solved! for MC as well as Mac systems, a research project at MIT is underway that requires participation from thousands of game players, and a new tool is available that enables users to continue using CDML with FileMaker 7 and 8 as well as with FileMaker Server Advanced. Comp USA has added the Apple TV priced at $250 to its website, but still lists the wireless media streaming set top box as unavailable.
Cowon D2 iPhone Scrolling
Cowon's touchscreen D2 media player is about to receive an official upgrade that changes its control scheme dramatically, according to an official forum update [improved translation]. The update will introduce a new interface dubbed "virtual motion" that lets owners scroll through media by flicking a finger across the screen in any of the cardinal directions, replicating similar controls developed by Apple for the iPhone.
The abilities of the player itself have also seen an overhaul, Cowon adds. SDHC support lets the mini jukebox more than double its 4GB of flash with larger-capacity SD cards. Those who listen to digital radio can also see photos that accompany the broadcasts.
RIM backdating scandal
Creators of the ubiquitous BlackBerry, Research In Motion has suffered a double blow as a result of continuing probes into stock backdating. The first is the voluntary resignation of co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who was involved in approving stock grants after the company's IPO in 1997; the second is a planned restatement of finances, which will reach as far back as fiscal 2004 and cut earnings down by $250 million. No other employees are likely to be forced out.
While RIM convened its own committee, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been formally investigating a number of companies for backdating, including the likes of Activision and Dell. The accusation is that executives have been giving artificial dates for their stock options, inflating their value at the cost of the rest of the company. This strategy is not necessarily illegal, but it must be fully disclosed to avoid fraud charges. [via Associated Press]
NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600
NVIDIA today provided a long-awaited refresh to its workstation graphics with the Quadro FX 5600, the company's new flagship. A pro version of the GeForce 8800, the chipset borrows the same 128 unified hardware shaders to provide a major speed boost over the earlier 5500. The change also allows the processor to use CUDA technology, NVIDIA says: because of the more generalized hardware, some tasks that would otherwise be handled by the main CPU can be offloaded to the new Quadro instead. Faster, larger 8K by 8K texturing and SLI support for twin cards in one system are also part of the upgrade.
Read through for launch details and hints of imminent use by Apple.
Apple 7th most admired
Apple has swept into Fortune's top 10 most admired companies for the first time in history, marking itself as the second most admired company within the computers category and the 7th most admired company overall in 2007. The Cupertino-based company led the way with regard to innovation alongside Google, and earned the 6th rank in the quality of products category ahead of CHS. Apple also rose to become the 5th most admired company overall on a global scale just ahead of Berkshire Hathaway, while Microsoft ranked the 8th most admired company worldwide.
2fit Laptop Sleeve debuts
Sonnet Technologies has unveiled its 2fit Laptop Sleeve plus Screen Protector for MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. The 2fit sleeve is a form-fitting cover that helps prevent damage to the computer's finish, and is designed to look stylish while remaining practical. The sleeve is constructed from microfiber material, and is custom-tailored for the specific Apple notebook it will cover. Machine-washable, the sleeve stretches to provide a snug fit and serves as a heat shield between laptop and lap when not covering the device. The 2fit screen protector buffers the screen from keyboard rubs during transport, and is made from optical cloth that enables users to clean the notebook's screen. Sonnet's 2fit is due to ship tomorrow for $30 in "Titanium" grey or black.
DOT may switch to Mac
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has banned Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 2007 from its offices, and is considering switching its operations to Macs and PCs running Novell's SuSe Linux. The DOT enacted the ban in mid-January, according to one blogger, because certain applications essential to the agency's function can't run on Windows Vista. Microsoft has attracted intense criticism over its new operating system since it began shipping earlier this year, lacking proper driver software for a wide array of devices and utilizing a new user interface that closely resembles Apple's Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger system. Apple is also taking aim at the enterprise market with its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard release, which incorporates numerous features that cater to large business needs.
AMEX keyboard, Skype phone
Hong Kong company AMEX Digital has unveiled a pair of new wireless products which may have broad appeal. The TSP-VS501 is a relatively standard Skype phone, having just a keypad and a monochrome LCD, but is built into a wave shape, and has a glossy black faceplate reminiscent of the LG Chocolate. This is more than just superficial as well, as AMEX's Touch Sense technology replicates the springless buttons of the Chocolate. The TSK-VX7, meanwhile, uses Touch Sense for a QWERTY computer keyboard, but also has more conventional buttons for use with Windows Media Center functions such as track control, content selection and the Start menu. Some buttons are also applicable to the Mac OS. To power the VX7, owners must use four AAA batteries, which supply up to two months of typing. [via Akihabara News]
Vacuum tube amplifier dock
Roth has unveiled the Music Cocoon MC4, an amplifier dock that relies on vacuum tubes to produce what some say is a richer, warmer sound. Roth recommends that iPod owners load lossless files to ensure maximum fidelity, and the dock charges iPods as they play. The rear of the device also features inputs for laptops, CD systems, and other MP3 players. The dock is simply an amplifier, shipping with no speakers and requiring users to supply their own. The device is rated at 13W with a frequency response of 20Hz-30KHz and an output impedance of 8ohm. The dock is due to launch in April for $780, according to Electronista.
Samsung Q1P for Vista
Samsung today announced its first ultra-mobile PC for Windows Vista. Simply titled the Q1P for Windows Vista, the update takes the existing 7-inch handheld and adds Vista Home Premium to improve its Media Center and touchscreen functions. The system is otherwise a match with the company's fastest model, sporting an ultra-low voltage 1GHZ Pentium M, 1GB of memory, and a 60GB hard disk with battery life running to 2.5 hours when using integrated Wi-Fi.
The Vista-equipped version of the Q1P is already due to arrive in stores today for the same price of $1,299. Upgrades to the base Q1 or the flash drive-based Q1P SSD haven't been announced.
TimeFlyer 1.2 ($20) updates the software for creating timelines, adding support for different rendering styles alongside miscellaneous enhancements. The application features easy event entry, font as well as color customization, and support for multiple timelines. The software also enables users to save research notes with events with search and filtration functionality.
[Download - 824KB]
Snippet Monkey 1.2 ($15) allows users to create shortcuts for frequently-typed phrases. Snippets can contain any combination of text, images, date/time in a custom format, and nested snippets. The update no longer randomly quits, includes several interface tweaks, and ensures that the delete key works in the group/snippets table. [Download - 1.2MB]
CoverSutra 1.1 (€10) updates the application that enhances Apple's iTunes software, adding integration with the Last.fm social music service. CoverSutra 1.1 also includes numerous bug fixes and minor improvements, such as easier handling of shortcuts and additional localizations in German as well as French. The upgrade is free for existing customers, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later with iTunes 7.0.2 or later. [Download - 1.1MB]
QuickLicense 2.0 ($500) is a system to manage the secure, flexible licensing of Mac and Windows software. QuickLicense is usable with applications written in languages like C, C++, Delphi, Visual Basic, and REALbasic to license Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Photoshop plug-ins, and Adobe Director multimedia content. The latest release includes ticket configuration options to simplify the process of license activation and reactivation.
Tidy Up! 1.2.4 ($30) signals the next iteration of the duplicate finder and disk tidiness utility. The software enables users to saerch for duplicate files and packages by application owner, content, type, creator, extension, date modified, date created, name, label, and visibility. Tidy Up! 1.2.4 adds a new system that allows users to specify the "Type" and "Extension" values of files, and fixes a bug that could lead to failure when creating a smart basket using the Strategy Wizard. [Download - 4.6MB]
PulpMotion 1.0.5 ($30) brings new configuration options for fonts to the application offering users a new option for designing and sharing media montages that integrate personal photos as well as videos and music. PulpMotion 1.0.5 also includes a font menu and font size chooser enabling users to adjust with prevision the rendering of all text in the compositions. [Download - 66.2MB]
Roth iPod amplifier dock
Audiophile iPod users may appreciate Roth's upcoming Music Cocoon MC4, which is an amplifier dock that relies on vacuum tubes, said to produce a richer, warmer sound. Roth in fact recommends that owners load lossless files to ensure maximum fidelity. iPods charge as they play. Users are not limited to iPods however, since the rear also has inputs for laptops, CD systems and MP3 players. Because the MC4 is just an amplifier, users must connect their own sets of speakers. Power is rated at 13W, with a frequency response of 20Hz-30KHz, and an output impedance of 8ohm. The dock launches in April for £399 ($776). [via Shiny Shiny]
Apple strong in UK
Apple is continuing to experience strong demand for all of its products in the UK, according to Macworld UK, with strong iPod sales across all models and a short supply of the company's entry-level 1.66GHz Mac mini as well as iLife '06. Reports suggest Apple has sold 120,000 fifth-generation iPods -- including the 30GB and 60GB models -- so far this quarter, with even stronger Nano sales nearing 200,000 units. iPod shuffle sales are also strong, according to the report, reaching an estimated 140,000 so far. Demand in the UK appears to exceed supply, dissolving claims that the market is becoming saturated. Apple's channel partners hold formidable supplies of Mac Pro systems in anticipation of Adobe's Creative Suite 3 software, which is expected to drive sales of the top-end Macs once it hits shelves on March 27th.
Panasonic Skype Phone
Panasonic this morning released the KX-WP1050, its first voice-over-IP phone. The handset uses Wi-Fi to connect to any local wireless hotspot that doesn't require a website for access; from there, it can place inbound or outbound Skype calls (including to real-world numbers) without requiring a host PC.
Simplifying the process is a unique router bundled with the phone, Panasonic says: plugging in the small network router to a local Internet connection automatically creates a Wi-Fi access point with 256-bit WPA encryption and a quick recharging station for when the phone's 3 hours of talk time are spent. The 1050 should be available now through Panasonic's online shop and other stores for $400. Click through for a full image.
TomTom Go 715 GPS
A third TomTom GPS unit has been discovered at the FCC (after the DUO and ONE XL), this time the Go 715. While it uses Bluetooth to permit hands-free phonecalls, the most remarkable feature is the inclusion of a SIM card slot, which should allow the 715 to make calls without any nearby device. Another highlight is the ability to receive waypoint orders from a remote location, though this is primarily targeted at businesses like couriers and maintenance crews. No timeframe has been laid out for the unit's release. [via GPS Gazette]
CS3 due March 27th, WWDC
In brief: Adobe today confirmed that it will ship its anticipated Creative Suite 3 on March 27th, Carphone Warehouse is apparently in talks with Apple to be the exclusive distributor of the iPhone in the UK, and brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy reportedly offers an intranet website with artificially inflated pricing made to look like its internet-based page. T Australian Apple University Consortium is offering scholarships to Australian University staff as well as students to attend this year's Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), and Microsoft won a partial victory in a lawsuit battle involving a controversial Alcatel-Lucent patent claim related to speech recognition. Adobe is preparing to celebrate its global Creative Suite 3 (CS3) event live via webcast to debut its suite of creative tools. The software offering is expected to ramp up Mac Pro sales, as the event will mark the first official release of Adobe's Intel-native CS3 application.
Nokia 5700 Leaked
Nokia is planning to reveal a new XpressMusic media phone, according to a Czech site's product leak. A higher-end sequel to the 5300, the 5700 XpressMusic will carry over the hallmark music navigation buttons on the side while adding the dual-sided keypad section of the already available 3250. Rotating the controls automatically triggers the camera and exposes relevant buttons.
Little else is known other than the existence of a 2-megapixel sensor for the camera, a 240x320 screen, and UMTS mobile Internet access. However, the upcoming CTIA expo on March 27th may signal the handset's public debut. Click through for the full leaked promo image and the 5700's close relative, the Nokia 3250. [via SlashPhone]
Leopard to boost AAPL
Apple's next generation Mac OS X Leopard operating system could add nearly $200 million to Apple's revenues to its June quarter, according to one analyst. The company is expected to have an installed base of nearly 22 million customers by the end of the March quarter, according to analysts at Bank of America Securities. That figure is up by 6 million users since the release of Mac OS X Tiger, the last major revision to the company's operating system, nearly years ago (June 2005). Analyst Keith Bachman told clients that Apple's operating system releases are amongst the most lucrative for the Cupertino-based company, with gross margins that range upwards of 90 percent, according to AppleInsider. "At the time of product launch, Apple capitalizes the cost of software development and amortizes such cost over three years, meaning the Apple’s profit margins are very high at the time of product launch," he explained.
New Olympus, Ricoh cameras
Olympus and Ricoh today both launched new digital cameras, including three from Olympus: two digital SLRs, the E-510 and E-410. Electronista reports that each revision represent a major upgrade to Olympus's semi-pro E500 and E-400 models with 10-megapixel sensors (upgraded from eight) and Live LCD preview for composing shots without the viewfinder. A newer TruePic III image processing engine also reduces noise by a full stop at every sensitivity level, including the maximum ISO 1600.
byd:sign 'full HD' sets
Appearing first in Japan, a pair of new LCD sets from byd:sign may help contribute to lower prices for 1080p sets. The LF-4200DFK is a 42-inch screen, and features 1,200:1 contrast, 500cd/m2 brightness, and a short response time of 6.5ms. A 47-inch model generally maintains the same specifications, but improves the response time by 0.5ms. Both sets are equipped with HDMI ports and digital TV tuners. The 42-inch set is selling for the equivalent of $1,819; the 47-inch runs to $2,241. While these models are strictly Japanese at the moment, byd:sign does sell in the United States, so an import may be possible.
Xbox 360 512MB card
Microsoft today stepped up the size of its Xbox 360 Memory Unit to 512MB, answering one of the frequent demands made for the console. The eightfold increase in storage allows for many more games, media, and save files to be stored on a single card. The new limit also allows Microsoft itself to triple the maximum size of an Xbox Live Arcade game to 150MB for more complex sounds and visuals. A full copy of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved will be preloaded on each card to get owners started.
The 512MB Memory Unit will be available internationally on April 3rd for $50, which will also lower the price of the 64MB unit to $30.
Mac users test subjects?
The ongoing anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in the state of Iowa has uncovered evidence that the Redmond-based company considered halting Mac Office development to "do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately," and that the company used Mac users as test subjects for new features of its Office application prior to a more "critical" Windows release. An email memo dated June of 1997 from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to Ben Waldman, who then served as the leader of Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, discussed the morale in the Mac Office development department and mentioned abandoning Mac support for Office. The memo cited unsatisfactory sales of Mac Office, blaming sales reps who lacked focus. That same email describes dumping Mac Office as "the strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately."
Ricoh Caplio R6
Joining in the series of camera announcements, Ricoh on Monday announced a new camera that it claims sets records. The 7.2-megapixel Caplio R6 is the world's thinnest camera with both high zoom and wide-angle abilities, the camera producer claims. Although 0.8 inches at its thinnest point, miniaturized lens technology provides a 28-200mm (at 35mm equivalent) wide-angle lens with 7.1X optical zoom and promises better landscape images as well as telephoto shots. New to Ricoh is face recognition for auto-adjusting the focus and settings for one or more people in the frame.
Details and a full image can be found after the jump.
iPhone camera report
The two-megapixel sensor in the iPhone will be manufactured by Micron Technology in Italy, reports setteB.IT. The two-megapixel, 30 fps (frame per second) device, which is about a quarter of an inch across the diagonal, is about $11 per sensor, according to prior estimates by iSuppli; however, the report says that the cost price to Micron is in the range of $5-$7 per device component. Those same sources claim Micron's semiconductor fabrication plant in Avezzano is the sole source of the sensor for Apple's iPhone and that Apple has placed initial orders for between 2,000 and 3,000 wafers per week--for a theoretical yield of 600,000 sensors per week (the nature of semiconductor fabrication yields, however, will result in lower numbers of working sensors)
SOHO Business Cards 2
Chronos has revealed SOHO Business Cards 2, an update to its popular software for creating business cards on the Mac. New features in this version include a streamlined interface, a business card wizard, object grouping (to move them as one), locking of objects (to prevent users from accidentally moving them), layers, an alignment grid, photo cropping and numerous special effects. Additionally, Chronos has added "bins" to store commonly used text and favorites, including titles, headings and design elements. SOHO Business Cards 2 also adds the ability to see both sides of a double-sided card simultaneously. SOHO Business Cards 2 is available now for $40; upgrades from SOHO Business Cards 1.x are priced at $20.
Solo Performer app updated
Alien Apparatus has announced the availability of Solo Performer Show Controller 3.5, a new Universal Binary version of its system for controlling the background music, lyrics displays, MIDI effects, and light shows for musicians. Version 3.5 takes advantage of the added performance offered by running natively and allows very fast light changes and MIDI events to make shows even more spectacular than before, the company claims. Users can also now manually flip through lyrics displays. It also adds the option to step through the lyrics manually with a foot controller or arrow keys on the keyboard. Additionally, there are numerous smaller enhancements such as customizable list scrolling speeds, better event handling, easier audio file setup for new users and contextual menus throughout. Solo Performer Show Controller is available immediately and is priced at $600.
McDwiff brings DWF to Macs
Austin Silver Software is now shipping a technology preview of McDwiff which can open, view, save and print DWF files generated by Autodesk software. McDwiff connects to Autodesks online DWF translator for 100 percent accuracy and opens any DWF file (2D or 3D) on the Mac; users can zoom and pan through documents, but the company notes that rotation is not yet supported within 3D files. Additionally DWF's can be exported to TIF, GIF, JPG, PNG, BMP, or PDF formats. McDwiff is free for non-commercial use and licenses for commercial users are priced at $40
802.11n upgrades for Macs
QuickerTek today released its 802.11n wireless upgrade to enable the faster networking standard on older Intel Macs that lack the option of Apple's Airport Extreme 802.11n enabler. The wireless networking cards are made to the same specification as Apple's boards and install into the internal Airport card slots; QuickerTek sells the card for user installation and also offers an installation service: the user installed upgrade option includes the 802.11n upgrade card, tools and illustrated installation manual--everything required to perform the upgrade procedure, according to the company. The card itself is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor. The QuickerTek 802.11n upgrade card is available immediately and priced at $150 for user-installation and $200 with Quickertek's installation service included.
Olympus PMA 2007
As promised, Olympus today launched three new cameras to signal its presence at the PMA expo this week. Two digital SLRs, the E-510 and E-410, each represent major upgrades to the camera maker's semi-pro E-500 and E-400 models with 10-megapixel sensors (increased from 8) and a live LCD preview for composing shots without the viewfinder. A newer TruePic III engine also reduces noise by a full stop at every sensitivity level, including the maximum ISO 1600.
The E-410 will be ready in May for $699; the premium E-510 adds image stabilization and a longer-lasting battery, which dictate its $799 price when it arrives in June. Read on for details of the Stylus 780 and photos of all three cameras.
BlackBerry 8300 Revealed
Photos and details of the BlackBerry 8300 have been leaked online. Nicknamed the "Daytona," the silver handset will be the media-friendly equivalent to the BlackBerry 8800 and should have the best camera of the entire 8000-series so far, shipping with a 2-megapixel sensor, LED flash, and zoom. The camera will also represent the first of its kind in any full-size BlackBerry. Most if not all software improvements will focus on media features: the interface will be closer to the Media Center front-end on PCs, the source says. GPS and a better loudspeaker will also be built-in.
More details and the gallery follow after the break.
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