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Apple RFID patent, Adium
In brief: A new patent application filed by Apple has surfaced describing a system allowing a router and a wireless device to communicate network settings via RFID without requiring third-party intervention, one MacNN reader has posted photos of the new Apple Store that is scheduled to open this Friday in Austin, and Adium has put out a call to developers and support helpers. Apple's new patent application, which relates to a wireless router using an RFID transceiver, depicts a system designed to ease the process of wireless communication between two devices. The new invention will prove particularly useful in products with no visual feedback or methods of input, according to Apple, because it enables both the Base Station and the wireless device to negotiate network settings without requiring user input.
AirPort Extreme 2007-002
Apple today posted a new update to its AirPort Extreme wireless networking software to fix a problem introduced in its previous WiFi update. Apple says the update includes a security fix for a wireless security flaw that could be used by attackers to crash a system--the same flaw fixed in the previous update, but that the new patch contains an additional non-security fix for a compatibility issue when using certain third-party access points configured to use WEP. Apple says that systems which installed AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 are correctly patched for CVE-2006-6292, but that installing AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002 is recommended to obtain the additional compatibility fix. Sytems that have not yet applied AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 should apply AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002, the company noted on website.
More Sony DSLRs coming
With Sony having begun its DSLR line with the Alpha 100 (pictured) last July, it is moving on to two newer Alphas, says senior general manager Toru Katsumoto. The company is willing to reveal little about features, but it is known that the cameras will have new image sensors, with the top model adding a Bionz image processing chip. The cameras will also retain compatibility with the current lens mount, and be joined by five or more new lenses, including a 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, and an 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3. [via CNET]
Flash, Mac future
Despite Apple's historical secrecy surrounding new product releases, industry watchers are looking to Intel's roadmap as well as the flash memory market for clues to what the future may hold for the Cupertino-based company. Intel, which produces all of the processors found in Apple's new Mac models, recently introduced its Santa Rosa platform officially known as Centrino Pro. The new chips combine a 64-bit Core 2 Duo processor with a new Intel 965 graphics chip and an 800MHz front-side bus (FSB) alongside 4MB of level 2 cache, which could find its way into a later revision of Apple's MacBook family of portable notebooks. What's more, Intel's new integrated graphics chip would offer a boost to MacBook graphics capability, which currently underperform -- especially for 3D games -- according to eWeek.com.
First GE cameras, printer
General Electric today confirmed its earlier intentions to enter the digital camera realm, Electronista writes, by unveiling a full eight inaugural models. The X1 targets the bridge between home users and professionals with a 12X optical-zoom fixed lens, optical image stabilization, and ISO 1600 assisting serious photographers; at the same time, the 8-megapixel camera also helps novices with face detection, a 2.5-inch live LCD, and a consciously simplified interface. It should be available for $399 in May along with the rest of the line.
ASUS Bamboo Notebooks
ASUS today gave a preview of the EcoBook, its second venture into designer notebooks after the VX series. Each model will use bamboo wood for paneling that not only adds a unique texture to the shell but is completely biodegradable, separating from the main body to be recycled once they or the portable fall out of use. The mousing sinput is also unique: much as with the displays of some Chinese phones, the trackpad is enlarged and supports handwriting either through a finger or a stylus. LED status lights are also hidden underneath the pad's surface.
Specifications are unlisted for the EcoBook due to its early state: the notebook isn't due to ship until 2008, when its design and the internal components will both be ready. Pricing should be relatively high due to the choice of materials. Select photos can be found after the break. [via Crave UK]
Sony, HP, Leica cameras
Following early announcements from the likes of Canon, Nikon and Kodak, several other manufacturers are using the official start of the PMA expo to debut new cameras. Sony's entry is the Cyber-shot G1; while relatively modest at 6 megapixels, the design emphasizes features rarely seen in other models. The camera uses a 3.5-inch LCD with 921,000-pixel resolution, which makes it one of the largest ever for a camera, according to its creator. Another first for the Cyber-shot range is integrated Wi-Fi, allowing sharing between cameras and other devices that fit the Digital Living Network Alliance standard. To this end, the camera also contains 2GB of internal memory as well as support for Memory Stick Duo cards as large as 8GB, ensuring that the camera can keep files well after a photo session. Sony plans to launch the camera in April at a price of $600.
DosPara PrimeA Photo PC
DosPara specialized its PC range today and introduced the PrimeA Create Photo for SILKYPIX. Its goal is to minimize the distractions in a photographer's work and match the ideal performance level for the included copy of SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3, the system builder says. The black, grilled chassis both hides itself in a dark room and renders the CPU fan near-silent. Affordable speed is also emphasized throughout the PC with AMD's workstation-class 128MB FireGL V3400 for graphics, an Athlon 64 X2 5200+ for dual-core processing of RAW shots, and 2GB of RAM to reduce drive access. Storage is provided in the form of a Pioneer dual-layer DVD rewriter and a 320GB hard disk.
The firm is taking orders for a March 15th launch that will see the new PrimeA computer on sale in Japan for $2,046. A stripped-down version without SILKYPIX or Windows is also available for $1,858.
Apple retail pays off
Apple's retail efforts have paid off in spades, despite serious doubts and criticism from prominent industry figures in the past. BusinessWeek challenged the Cupertino-based company's retail strategy in 2001, writing "Sorry Steve, here's why Apple stores won't work." TheStreet.com said "It's desperation time in Cupertino," and retail consultant David Goldstein chimed in with "I give [Apple] two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake." Five years later Apple opened its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, and generates $4,032 in sales per square foot per year. In 2004 Apple reached $1 billion in annual sales faster than any other retailer in history, according to Fortune, and last year the company saw sales reach $1 billion in a single quarter. "Our stores were conceived and built for this moment in time - to roll out iPhone," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who recalled the decision to move into retail.
LG Ultra-Slim CRT TV
LG on Thursday went against the grain of the market by updating its Flat TV line of CRT sets with the 21FU1R. The 21-inch set is the slimmest tube-based TV anywhere, thanks to a 120-degree deflection angle between the electron gun and the screen. This makes it a much more competitive option in developing areas of the world, where the 75 percent price difference between a CRT and a similarly-sized LCD set can be crucial, LG says. An anti-doming mask and flat glass helps eliminate distortion near the edges and is complemented by a nano-fluorescent coating that boosts the contrast ratio.
Shipments are expected to start soon in Africa as well as the Middle East, where LG feels tube TVs stand the best chance of success; a North American launch is unlikely given the increasing shift towards LCD and plasma displays in the continent. [via CrunchGear]
SMT5700 Phone at ATT
China's Amoi is making its first tentative steps into the US market, according to a freshly uncovered FCC filing. The SMT5700 will recall the pioneering, Audiovox-made SMT5600 smartphone sold years before by AT&T but should modernize the design and features. Many details are hidden by the filing but should include a 2-megapixel camera, a microSD card slot for storage, and mobile Internet through EDGE. The phone's software should be driven by Windows Mobile.
An appearance by the SMT5700 in FCC testing confirms a relatively near-term release that should occur within the next few months. It will also be one of the first devices to return to the AT&T logo in the wake of the changeover from the Cingular name. Click through for the complete image. [via Engadget Mobile]
GE and HP Photo Printers
Beyond their camera releases at the start of the PMA expo, General Electric and HP have both released their own photo printers. For GE, the P1 (shown) is its first-ever printer of the kind and produces photo-quality images in 105 seconds at 4800x1200 DPI. A 2.5-inch LCD manages printing from either a computer's USB 2.0 port or a PictBridge-enabled camera. While no price has been set, the P1 should be available along with the GE camera range in May.
Socket SoMo 650 Pocket PC
The upcoming SoMo 650 by Socket may be an unexpectedly powerful competitor in the realm of Pocket PCs. Though it only runs Windows Mobile 5.0, it has a 624MHz Intel processor, 128MB of RAM, and 256MB of onboard storage. Also remarkable is its expansion slots, which support SDIO and CompactFlash rather than the likes of microSD. Connection options include USB, Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g; reflecting the business audience, optional accessories involve a barcode scanner and an RFID reader. Still unknown however is what networks the phone will operate on, and whether it will have a touchscreen or a QWERTY keyboard. The 650 should ship in the second quarter for $648.
GE First Cameras Debut
General Electric today confirmed its earlier intentions to enter the digital camera realm by unveiling a full eight inaugural models. The X1 targets the bridge between home users and professionals with a 12X optical zoom fixed lens and optical image stabilization, and ISO 1600 assisting serious photographers; at the same time, the 8-megapixel camera also helps novices with face detection, a 2.5-inch live LCD, and a consciously simplified interface. It should be available for $399 in May along with the rest of the line.
Read through for details and photos of all eight models.
DEVONagent 2.1 released
DEVONtechnologies today released DEVONagent 2.1, an update to its intelligent Web research tool and alternative Web browser, as well as updates to all three members of the DEVONthink product family. DEVONagent 2.1 includes new search engine plug-ins, and updates all plug-ins as well as scanners. Users can access bookmarks through the dock menu, tabs show a thumbnail preview of the displayed Web page in a tooltip, and the new 'next' operator helps when entering more complex queries using parenthesis. Users can assign almost all plug-ins a keyword for entering quick queries in the Web browser's address field, and the 'see also' function returns improved results alongside a more accurate advertisement filter. DEVONagent is priced at $50, while DEVOnthink Personal is available for $40. DEVONthink Professional is priced at $80, and DEVONthink Professional Office sells for $150. All of the applications require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
FlipStart ultra-compact PC
FlipStart's first product will be a self-named ultra-compact laptop, designed to compress as many full-sized features as possible into a small space. Among these are touchpad and a well-spaced QWERTY keyboard, as well as a full-fledged operating system, whether it be Windows XP Pro or Vista Business. Though the screen is only 5.6 inches, resolutions up to 1024x600 are supported. A bundled port replicator allows the use of standard keyboards and monitors; supported wireless formats include Bluetooth, 802.11b/g, and unspecified cellular broadband. A more original feature of the FlipStart is the InfoPane, a tiny, low-power screen that allows instant access to essential functions (such as e-mail) without opening the lid. Microsoft Outlook 2007 is pre-installed. Deliveries of the computer will begin by the end of the month for $1,999.
LG R400 Notebook
LG is planning to be the first notebook maker in the US to introduce a pair of new technologies, an inadvertently posted specs page reveals. The R400 will be one of the first portables to ship with Samsung's new 120GB MH80 hybrid drive with built-in flash to improve battery life and load times. Almost as unique is the 128MB Mobility Radeon X2300: still unannounced by AMD despite its earlier arrival in the ASUS A8Jr, the budget chipset should make its first Western appearance in the R400 and boost its graphics without adding much to the cost or power draw. A 1.73GHz Core 2 Duo and 1GB of RAM will also help the 14-inch system run quickly compared to most other systems in its class.
Surprisingly, the system is due to ship as soon as March 30th in Canada for $1,199 CDN ($1,017 US), potentially beating ASUS as well as most US-based notebook makers to the release of the new graphics and storage advancements. [via The Inquirer]
Mac Pro drive sled ships
Trans International today began shipping its Pro Sled Mac Pro hard disk drive sled, offering users the ability to swap out hard drives for a Mac Pro system. Users can assign and label drives for different clients, projects, or backup purposes to avoid misplacing data or overwriting files. Once mounted on the Pro Sled, drives are cold-swappable and plug directly into the Mac Pro main logic board. "Power users need drives ready for easy exchange and replacement," said Trans International. "The Pro Sled gives you the capability of unlimited swappable drives for your Mac Pro." The device requires no power cables, and is priced at $30.
iPhone spurs search surge
Apple's iPhone is likely to prove a hit with consumers if the number of searches for its forthcoming cellular handset has anything to do with the product's popularity. One blogger recently compared search trends for Apple's iPhone with Microsoft's Windows Vista, taking into account the demographic profiles of traffic to the Apple and Microsoft websites to assess the differences in the two company's marketing strategies. One report speculated that "based on a massive surge in searches, the iPhone will be a hit," adding that "the week that Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPhone at Macworld, the volume of searches for 'iphone' soared to rank as the 55th highest volume search term overall for the week ending January 13, 2007." At least one industry analyst has displayed mixed feelings about the new device, however, questioning the economics of the Cingular/Apple partnership as well as the addressable market of the iPhone.
Kingston reader, 8GB SDHC
Kingston has a pair of unique entries for the PMA expo. The first is an 8GB SDHC card (not pictured), which is still a rarity despite the theoretical 32GB limit for SDHC. There will also be three versions of the card, in Class 2, 4 and 6 speeds -- a minimum of 2, 4 and 6MB/s, respectively. Exact speeds have not been mentioned.
Complementing the new cards is the DataTraveler Reader, which combines a USB 2.0 flash drive with a card slot that reads several different formats, including SD, SDHC, miniSD, microSD, and MMC. When plugged into a computer, the Reader is automatically assigned two different drive letters. It should be available by the end of the month in 1, 2 and 4GB sizes, with prices starting at $20. The 8GB SDHC cards should already be on sale for $110-130 from select retailers, though not Kingston itself.
Blast Miner coming to Mac
Independent game development firm Cryptic Sea yesterday at the 9th annual Independent Games Festival took home $5,000 along with the Gametap award for its latest game, Blast Miner, which challenges players to extract chunks of gold from mine shafts using TNT, gasoline, acid, and other means. The physics-based title features two modes: players can steadily extract gold in a fast-paced Tetris-like environment or use deep strategy to solve complicated puzzles. Cryptic Sea's programmer and designer, Alex Austin, spoke with MacNN about porting the new title to the Mac platform. "We plan to release a Mac version as soon as possible," Austin said. "The porting process shouldn't take long once we obtain the proper hardware." The artist behind Blast Miner, Edmund McMillen, added that Gish 2 is under development and could also find its way into the hands of Mac gamers. The original hit game Gish was awarded the Seamus McNally Award at the 2005 Independent Games Festival, and is still available for Mac, Linux, and Windows users. [corrected]
Vizio 42-inch plasma
Vizio's newest plasma set is the VP42HDTV, which is notable mainly for coming in under the psychologically important $1,000 barrier. It does however have a reasonable level of performance, including a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 480 cd/m2 brightness, and an estimated lifetime of 60,000 hours. An ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner is built-in, and it features two HDMI and two component ports, plus one for computer RGB. Maximum resolution extends to 720p/1080i. The set should be on sale today, and is available either from the Vizio website or Costco retail outlets.
Leica C-LUX 2
High-end camera maker Leica on Thursday revealed the C-LUX 2. One of the company's more affordable models, the 7.2-megapixel compact still aims at premium photography by using a 28-100mm wide-angle lens with hardware image stabilization and 3.6X optical zoom. The wider resolution also allows for DVD-quality, 848x480 movies at full speed. Shutter speed is also extremely high, Leica claims: photos snap at 1/2000th of a second for stills and 1/6400 for videos. Sensitivity peaks at ISO 1250 in normal mode but can be raised to ISO 3200 for dark scenes.
New Lexar, SanDisk cards
Both Lexar and SanDisk are using the PMA expo to debut several new high-end memory products. Lexar's offerings come in the form of the Platinum II "prosumer" line, with a 4GB CompactFlash card, and 2GB and 4GB versions of the Memory Stick PRO Duo. Lexar says these will be available later in the month, though the 2GB version appears to already be in stock at Adorama for $55.
SanDisk, meanwhile, has launched two new cards in its Extreme III professional line. The 4GB SDHC is the predominant one, since it not only has a 20MB/s transfer rate, but an included MicroMate card reader that plugs directly into a USB port. The other card is another 4GB Memory Stick PRO Duo, whicn only has a speed of 18MB/s, and does not come with a reader. Each card will be out in April, with the SDHC model actually costing less at $140, while the MSPD card will run $180.
Sony Cyber-shot G1 camera
Sony today revealed its Cyber-shot G1, a digital camera with a 6-megapixel sensor with a 3.5-inch LCD boasting 921,000-pixel resolution. The extra detail improves the camera's software features -- such as photo slideshows with musical soundtracks and a user-friendly interface with a dynamic search system that discovers photos by color, face, or framing. The camera is the first Cyber-shot model to integrate Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing users to share between cameras and other devices that fit the Digital Living Network Alliance standard. The device also features 2GB of internal memory and support for Memory Stick Duo cards as large as 8GB, according to Electronista. The camera offers image stabilization to correct shots from the 3X optical zoom lens, and users can take shots at u p to ISO 1000 native sensitivity or record 640x480 MPEG-4 videos with sound. The camera is scheduled to ship in April for $600.
Vivtar Cameras at PMA 2007
Vivitar contributed to the announcements at the PMA photo expo today by announcing multiple still image and video cameras. The ViviCam 6200W (pictured) is housed in a rubber and metal shell watertight to depths of 30 feet, making it suitable for both swimming and diving. Optical zoom is absent to protect the lens underwater and is replaced by 4X digital zoom. The 6200W stores photos on either 16MB of internal memory or SD cards and will ship soon, though pricing is unavailable.
Also announced was the DVR530, the company's first video-focused camera. Envisioned as a starter camera, video is captured at VGA resolution at 30 frames per second using 4X digital-only zoom. The video camera will also take photos at its native 5 megapixels and doubles as a webcam when attached to a computer through USB. Media is stored on SD cards rather than tape and lets the DVR530 play MP3 files as well as record audio memos.
PreMaster CD 2.0 ships
Sonic Studio has released PreMaster CD 2.0, an update to its low cost premastering application that adds more background processing with more control and functionality. The latest release consolidates all of the maintenance changes incorporated into the code base, and adds the ability to support options such as Manual DeClick II and DDP File Open for both split and consolidated DDP file sets. The software boasts centralized command and control via a new Master Section with adjustable metering, a master fader with dim capability, and improved management of redithering parameters. Further additions include export to BWF and AIFF file formats, as well as optimized processing of waveform metadata. PreMaster CD 2.0 is available for $500 in CD format, and is available via digital download for a sale price of $475. PreMaster CD 2.0 requires mac OS X 10.4.3 or later to utilize its host-based functionality.
HP Cameras at PMA 2007
HP joined in the announcement of cameras at PMA by releasing three point-and-shoot models. Leading the announcements is the 7.2-megapixel Photosmart R837, the first camera ever to have a specific mode for pets. When turned on, the setting automatically finds a pet's eyes and corrects the image to avoid the glow effect produced in normal shots. The design also features a relatively rare 3X lens whose zoom mechanism operates internally, keeping the design slim regardless of the subject's distance. HP ships the camera with 32MB of built-in flash memory in April at a price of $229.
iPhone/iPod lanyard patent
Apple has filed for a patent describing lanyards that incorporate electronic circuitry, potentially adding telephony to any iPod or lighting effects that relate to the heart rates of joggers. The lanyards could also offer additional input mechanisms such as buttons, touch pads, or sliders, according to the patent filing. Apple's documentation notes that the connector unit may include additional ports, jacks, or connectors to couple additional peripheral devices with the handheld device. In some cases, the connector unit may even include a wireless interface so that the accompanying gadget can remotely communicate with other devices. In the case of a music player, the connector unit could allow users to broadcast music to other music players. The connector unit might also include a battery for providing additional power to the handheld electronic device, extending its life when used remotely as when worn around the neck.
Apple RFID Wi-Fi Patent
A US patent was published today for Apple technology that could potentially ease Wi-Fi networking most or all of the latter's future devices. Titled "RFID network arrangement," the patent would see the firm use an RFID transceiver built into a base station and loaded with wireless network information, such as network names and security authentication. The information could then be sent to any device in a network with a synchronized RFID tag, automatically providing network details without requiring software setup on the device in question.
Sony Cyber-shot G1
Updated with LCD photo Sony rounded out its camera announcements today by revealing the Cyber-shot G1. While the camera itself is relatively modest at 6 megapixels, the design emphasizes features rarely seen in other models. The G1 uses a 3.5-inch LCD with 921,000-pixel resolution -- one of the largest ever for a camera, according to its creator. The extra detail improves several of the equally unique software features, including photo slideshows with music soundtracks, a more user-friendly interface, and a dynamic search system that can find photos by color, face, or framing.
A first for the Cyber-shot range is integrated Wi-Fi. The wireless link allows sharing between cameras and other devices that fit the Digital Living Network Alliance standard. To this end, the camera also contains 2GB of internal memory as well as support for Memory Stick Duo cards as large as 8GB, ensuring that the camera can keep files well after a photo session.
HD Photo comes out at PMA
Microsoft today formally announced HD Photo, a new file format for end-to-end digital photography, which it claims offers higher image quality, greater preservation of data, and advanced features for today's digital-imaging applications. Previously known as Windows Media Photo, the Redmond-based company says that the digital image format is designed for digital photography on devices, applications and services; it offers compression with up to twice the efficiency of JPEG, with fewer damaging artifacts, resulting in higher-quality images that are one-half the file size, Microsoft claims. The announcement was made at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) '07 International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas.
Adob Photoshop CS3
Adobe today announced that it will expand its digital imaging product line, offering two editions of Adobe Photoshop CS3. In addition to Photoshop CS3 software for designers and professional photographers, Adobe will also offer Photoshop CS3 Extended, a new edition of Photoshop which adds a new set of capabilities for integration of 3-D and motion graphics, image measurement and analysis. Photoshop CS3 Extended also simplifies the workflow for professionals in architecture, engineering, medical and science. Both Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended software, which will be the first versions of the software to run natively on Intel-based Macs, will be formally introduced on March 27, 2007 at Adobe's launch of Creative Suite 3 (CS3); the company promised to disclose further details at the event. Confirming earlier reports, the company clarified that Photoshop CS3 is expected to ship in Spring 2007, countering previous reports that indicated it would be available at the end of March. A public beta is available now.
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