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News Archive for 07/03/12

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Entries open for 12th Apple Design Awards

03/12, 10:05pm

Apple Design Awards

Apple today launched the 12th annual Apple Design Awards, the company's annual recognition of the best software for Mac OS X. Apple says the awards, which will be announced this year's WWDC in June, will recognize "technical excellence and outstanding achievement in Mac OS X software design and development." Developers can submit their application to one of seven Apple Design Awards "best of class" categories, including Leopard Application, User Experience, Developer Tool, Gaming, Scientific Computing Solution, Dashboard Widget, and Student Application. The deadline is 5 pm PT on Monday, April 23, 2007 and is open to developers worldwide with an active Apple Developer Connection membership.

Apple UK glitch hints at Mac Pro update

03/12, 9:25pm

New Mac Pro's coming?

As rumors of an impending update to Apple's flagship Mac Pro desktop systems gather steam, new evidence--including a glitch at the Apple Store--is mounting that Apple may update its like of Mac Pro desktops very soon. Intel on Monday announced two new low-power quad-core Xeon processors and while the low-voltage Xeon processors themselves are unlikely to be used in Apple's systems, the announcement represents the maturation of the quad-core CPU line--indicating that the world's largest chip manufacturer has begun to reach high volume production, which in turn turn would lead to lower pricing for all of its quad-core Xeon chips. In addition, over the past month, Apple has already been offering heavy discounts on its refurbished Mac Pro systems. The strongest evidence, however, came when a glitch in Apple's UK Store search engine showed results that indicated that users could configure the Mac Pro as either either a quad-core or 8-core system.

Clarion water-resistant CD player for scooters

03/12, 6:00pm

Clarion scooter CD player

The Japanese division of Clarion has debuted the DXZ475RC, an odd CD player in that it's intended for scooters, which have a much broader owner base outside of North America. The player consists of two components: a dash with the CD slot and primary controls, and a control puck (pictured), which attaches to a handlebar and has basic controls such as volume and track adjustment. Since scooters are exposed vehicles, Clarion has built the DXZ475RC to be resistant to the rainshowers it will inevitably experience. Prices and launch dates have yet to be disclosed by the company. [via Akihabara News]

Apps: Password Repository, Mental Case

03/12, 6:00pm

Password Repository

    iTunes Statistician 1.3.4 (donationware) is a utility enabling users to view statistics about iTunes listening habits. The software shows the most played song, artist, album, and genre as well as how many songs and how much time users have listened. Version 1.3.4 fixes several minor bugs, including window resizing and handling of unexpected values in the iTunes library file. [Download - 144KB]
    Troi Scout FM 1.0 for FileMaker Pro 8.5 ($40 until April 30th, $60 afterward) enables users to find selected text from any Mac OS X application in a FileMaker Pro database via a keyboard shortcut. Features include adding extra menus to the Services menu of every application, opening the FileMaker Pro application, triggering any specified script, and selecting the action via a menu or a keyboard shortcut. [Download - 1.5MB]
    Password Repository 2.0 ($25) helps users store and manage passwords in encrypted documents. The software saves data on disk automatically, and encrypts information using the Blowfish algorithm. The update supports using categories to organize and sort passwords, and enables users to filter using categories as wella s keywords. [Download - 320KB]
    Mental Case 1.0 public beta (free, expires after three months) is a memory-aid application to gather snippets of information into 'mental notes' which are scheduled by the application for future viewing in flash-card like slideshows. Notes can include text or images, as well as built-in screenshot functionality or captured iSight videos. [Download - 13.1MB]
    PhoneAgent 1.4.1 ($40) is a tool for Phonebook, SMS, MMS, Themes, Calendar, and Wap management of Sony Ericsson T610, T616, T630, T637, Z600, K700i, K750i, K790i, K800i, W800i, W880i mobile phones. PhoneAgent 1.4.1 offers phonebook and SMS management, as well as the ability to compose MMS messages and upload them to the phone. The latest release adds Sony Ericsson W880i support, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later with a Bluetooth-capable Mac or a Bluetooth USB adapter. [Download - 18MB]
    Listen 1.0 (free) is an iTunes controller widget that features a sleek interface. Listen users can play, pause, and maneuver throughout iTunes tracks or view what's hot on the iTunes Store. Pulling down the stage presents songs and albums separated by genre, and clicking on an album art sends users to the real store to hear or purchase the track. [Download - 236KB]

Intel introduces line of NAND flash drives

03/12, 5:30pm

Intel NAND flash drives

As a sign of the decreasing costs of NAND memory, due in part to the Apple iPod, Intel has announced the creation of a line of flash drives, the first being the Z-U130 Value Solid-State Drive. The primary advantage to flash is speed, since programs and other files can be loaded near-instantaneously; the Z-U130, for example, will be able to read at 28MB/s, and write at 20MB/s. The drive will have a USB 2.0 interface, and come in 1, 2, 4 and 8GB capacities.

Whether or not it will be sold alone is uncertain, but Intel does expect it to be used in a number of consumer products, such as gaming hardware or low-cost desktop and notebook computers. Businesses may see the drive in routers, servers and point-of-sale terminals. No exact prices or release dates have been mentioned.

Briefly: Naples store opening; Kiwali promo

03/12, 5:10pm

Naples store opening

In brief: One avid Apple fan recorded the grand opening of the new Apple Store in Naples, Kiwali announced the start of "The Great Daylight Savings Sale" to coincide with the new start of Daylight Savings Time, and Smart Loops released MIDI Drum Loops vol. 3. eMedia Music has added a new two-volume CD set to its series of music tutorial CDs, Steeprock Media has launched a Web-based "virtual composer" music library, and Wibu-Systems is preparing to showcase a 2GB version of its CodeMeter Stick USB storage device. A video has surfaced on YouTube covering the grand opening of the Apple Store in Naples as an enthusiastic general store manager speaks to charge up employees as well as onlookers.

Best Buy ships in-house Bluetooth music player

03/12, 4:45pm

Insignia Bluetooth Jukebox

Best Buy's internal brand Insignia today launched the NS-DVB4G, one of the few music players available in North America with Bluetooth. The player was first hinted at by a Korean supplier in September and uses its addition for streaming MP3 or WMA audio wirelessly through nearby headphones or speakers. JPEG photos and MPEG-4 videos are also supported. Battery life with Bluetooth switched off is rated at 20 hours.

A single version of the player ships through the American retailer and contains 4GB of onboard flash, with the option of microSD cards for extra space. It supports both Macs and Windows PCs and should be in stores now for $160. [via CrunchGear]

Wal-Mart goes green with sustainable electronics

03/12, 4:25pm

Wal-Mart Green Electronics

Wal-Mart late Monday announced that it would pursue sustainable development in the electronics it carries in stores. Beginning in 2008, the retail giant will grade the electronics companies that fill its shelves based on their eco-friendliness. Energy efficiency, packing, recycling options, and the presence of toxic chemicals will be considered among other factors, according to Wal-Mart.

While the company hasn't indicated that it will drop wasteful suppliers, it says it will encourage electronics makers to rate higher on its scorecards; many devices that fit the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) standard already score well, such as notebooks From Toshiba. The move puts greater pressure on Apple and other firms to change their processes, as it and other firms still include irreplaceable parts and dangerous materials.

Generic iPod nano, shuffle clones emerge

03/12, 4:25pm

iPod nano, shuffle clones

Direct clones of Apple's most recent iPods have surfaced, according to Electronista. The Shuffle2-Style MP3 Player is an obvious parallel to Apple's screenless device, complete with an integrated clip and similar playback order controls; a 1GB version ships from the online store for $19 but may require the Shuffle II cradle ($5), an imitation of the iPod shuffle's dock for transferring and charging through USB. Equally imitative is the Nano2-Style MP4 Player, which resembles Apple's mid-range jukebox with only slight differences: a slightly larger screen and data sync through a mini-USB cable separate it from the original. It too is available from DealExtreme with 1GB of storage for $27. The manufacturer of the two devices is unnamed. Visit Electronista for more images.

Gefen HD Mate Scaler cominbes, scales inputs

03/12, 4:10pm

Gefen HD Mate Scaler

Gefen is taking pre-orders for the HD Mate Scaler, which automatically combines, upscales and outputs multiple signals to a single DVI connector. Incoming video can be standard- or high-definition, and the resulting images can be displayed at resolutions between 480i and 1080p. While HDMI and HDCP connections are not supported, there are three different inputs, including one DVI and two component. A bundled infrared remote is used to switch between the inputs at will. The HD Mate is said to function with any DVI source or display, including Apple's line of HD DVI monitors. The product is not yet on sale, but Gefen resellers are taking pre-orders for $350.

AssistiveWare to preview software at CSUN

03/12, 4:00pm

AssistiveWare at CSUN

AssistiveWare has said it will preview updates to key software later this month at the California State University Northridge (CSUN) International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. Titles on display are to include KeyStrokes featuring fully editable keyboards; SwitchXS shipping as a Universal Binary; LayoutKitchen with new symbols for designing panels as well as keyboards; and VisioVoice with enhanced VoiceOver compatibility and speech feedback as users type in various applications. AssistiveWare will attend the conference at the Origin Instruments booth from March 19th to the 24th in Los Angeles.

Second-gen iPod nano, shuffle clones emerge

03/12, 3:50pm

2G iPod shuffle Clone

Direct clones of Apple's most recent iPods have surfaced, according to separate postings at online retailer DealExtreme. The Shuffle2-Style MP3 Player is an obvious parallel to Apple's screenless device, complete with an integrated clip and similar playback order controls; a 1GB version ships from the online store for $19 but may require the Shuffle II cradle ($5), an imitation of the iPod shuffle's dock for transferring and charging through USB.

Maxtek trumps many with budget 7-inch GPS

03/12, 3:20pm

Maxtek 7-inch GPS Unit

Maxtek is aiming to upset the GPS business by launching its MNT-7T GPS unit. The system offers a 7-inch touchscreen even though its features are made with basic needs in mind, letting even newcomers to GPS view and interact with maps at a comfortable viewing distance from the screen. 512MB of onboard memory stores map data for the continental US at any given time but is supplemented by an SD card slot, which loads data for the rest of the US included on a bundled DVD.

The device is equally relevant as a media player and loads photos as well as MP3/WAV/WMA tracks from the card slot. An RCA video input further transforms the player into a substitute TV screen for DVD players, iPods, and video games. The MNT-7T is already on sale at $365, undercutting the prices of many smaller systems. [via GPS Gazette]

Elgato terminates Miglia's EyeTV license

03/12, 3:00pm

Elgato ends Miglia bundle

Elgato Systems today announced that it has terminated its licensing agreement for EyeTV software with Miglia Technology. Founded in 2001, UK-based Miglia is a manufacturer of both computer and consumer electronics accessories that offers a variety of a variety of multimedia hardware that have been bundled with Elgato's EyeTV software, including TVMini HD+, a small USB device for analog Cable TV, unencrypted digital cable (ClearQAM), and free-to-air HDTV (ATSC) on a Mac. Elgato, in its terse release, said that Miglia can no longer ship, sell or advertise TV Tuner solutions bundled with Elgato's EyeTV software, but assured existing customers of future support. "Customers using EyeTV with a Miglia TV tuner product are not affected by this change," Elgato said. "Elgato EyeTV will continue to work with existing Miglia products. Elgato will continue to support existing Miglia/EyeTV customers with software updates and improvements."

Morphy Richards radio digitizes world broadcasts

03/12, 2:45pm

Morphy Digital Radio

Stereo maker Morphy Richards today catered to world listeners with the DRM Radio. Besides supporting local AM/FM and DAB digital radio, the receiver supports the new Digital Radio Mondiale standard. Short-, middle-, and long-wave radio transmissions from around the world are translated into digital broadcasts, producing FM-quality audio streams regardless of where the listener happens to be.

The radio further doubles as a speaker for music players, with an aux-in jack for iPods and other MP3 players as well as an SD card slot to play MP3s directly from flash storage. It ships from the UK for the equivalent of $290. [via Tech Digest]

IOPS readies in-car PC with mapping, mobile TV

03/12, 2:20pm

IOPS In-Car PC

IOPS today slipped out information about its first in-car PC. Currently without a name, the two-slot PC completely replaces a vehicle's entertaintment system. A slide-out 7-inch touchscreen controls GPS mapping, music and video hosted on the PC itself. Owners can also pair the PC with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for finer control.

The true advantage, however, is its usefulness for wireless data, according to the company. Drivers can tune in live digital TV from T-DMB stations and don't need a separate tuner for radio; HSDPA mobile Internet is also available for browsing the Web or checking e-mail from the car simply by dropping into the hidden Windows interface. Full details will be available by the formal announcement of the PC at this week's CeBIT expo in Germany. [via New Launches]

Apple TV to 'end television'?

03/12, 2:15pm

Apple TV to 'end TV'?

Media hubs such as the Apple TV are the end of the way we currently watch television, Digg.com's CEO said during a discussion panel at the South by Southwest music and technology festival. Jay Adelson, who also helps manage the Internet TV firm Revision3, told his audience that the ability to deliver TV through the Internet to the living room would render the conventional notions of specialty cable and satellite channels obsolete. Content providers are coming to understand that they can't limit content to a particular TV network or medium, Adelson added.

Briefly: MacFUSE update; 16GB flash players

03/12, 1:55pm

MacFUSE update, 16GB flash

In brief: Google has posted an update to the MacFUSE open-source project that eases the process of bringing file systems to Mac OS X, Samsung today began sampling a new extra-high capacity version of its moviNAND flash chip, and Xsilva released Beta 1 of its LightSpeed 2.0 point-of-sale software for Mac OS X. The chief of mobile carrier O2 has presented his thoughts on Apple's iPhone, Agfa has unveiled the DC-630i 6-megapixel camera, and Iconkits.com has released two new add-ons with 20 icons each in four different sizes. The Google Mac Blog reports new developments with MacFUSE, including a large set of language bindings available to programmers who want to write file systems. The MacFUSE website also offers an Objective-C library, and developers can now obtain source code for the Spotlight file system.

Creative sheds bulk on Zen Vision players

03/12, 1:50pm

Creative Zen Slim Players

Creative's Japanese division today had the distinction of launching a new change in the company's Zen Vision line. Both the compact Zen Vision:M and video-oriented Zen Vision: W are now much thinner, dropping as much as 20 percent in the case of the Vision:w. The reduction brings the players in line with the original versions despite storing twice as much at 60GB. No explanaion was given for the breakthrough, though the company may be using single-platter 60GB drives introduced at the start of the year.

The new Zen models launch today at the same $294 (Vision:M) and $379 (Vision:W) prices of their predecessors. An American update is likely to follow soon.

SXSW: Apple TV to 'end television'

03/12, 1:25pm

Apple TV Ends Television

Media hubs such as the Apple TV are the end of the way we currently watch television, Digg.com's CEO said during a discussion panel at the South by Southwest music and technology festival. The executive, who also helps manage the Internet TV firm Revision3, told his audience that the ability to deliver TV through the Internet to the living room would render the conventional notions of specialty cable and satellite channels obsolete. Content providers are coming to understand that they can't limit content to a particular TV network or medium, Adelson said.

Ovolab releases Geophoto for photos

03/12, 1:05pm

Ovolab releases Geophoto

Ovolab today released Geophoto, a new Mac OS X application for browsing, collecting and sharing digital pictures. Ovolab Geophoto displays photos on a three-dimensional representation of the Earth, pinned to the location where each photo was taken. The user can pan, zoom and fly through the photos, thanks to high-resolution satellite images of the Earth. Users can easily drag their pictures to a specific location on the globe in order to "geotag" them. Once geotagged, a picture can be shared with other users and will automatically appear in the correct location on the Earth when opened in Geophoto. Previewed at Macworld Expo 2007 in San Francisco, Geophoto allows users to view the picture in the context it was taken in, and to visually relate the photo to other pictures taken nearby. The software integrates with iPhoto, allowing them to browse albums' photos on the Earth and add geotagging information to photos that are not linked to a specific location yet. It is available for $50.

Philips drops proprietary LCD TV backlight

03/12, 1:05pm

Philips drops backlight

Having only used it for a year, Philips has already dropped a proprietary backlighting technology found in its LCD sets, says Reuters. The company's Aptura backlight used stroboscopic bursts, which created the illusion of sharper images with less motion blur. Philips will instead make the move to LED backlights, which continue to be expensive, but will require less development costs, especially given the company's existing Lumileds division. LEDs are generally considered to be longer-lasting than bulb-based technologies, and also consume less power for the same amount of brightness.

Sonicum PC speakers' form mimics function

03/12, 12:40pm

Art Lebedev Speakers

The trendy Russian design agency Art Lebedev Studio is finalizing the launch of its Sonicum computer speaker set. Its distinction is its unique ring-like speaker set: either satellite in the 2.1-channel system is shaped like the outline of a speaker cone but still manages 5 watts of power each thanks to NXT flat panels in each unit. A 15-watt subwoofer provides bass response as well as controls for volume.

Initiially projected for April, Art Lebedev's speakers are now due to ship on May 7th for $120. Pre-orders made before April 6th will ship for $78. [via Uncrate]

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked! ships

03/12, 12:30pm

RC Tycoon 3 Soaked! ships

Aspyr Media today began shipping RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked! for Mac, the first expansion pack for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! brings an entirely new range of options to the RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 series as players select from more than 50 new rides and coasters, and use the all-new Swimming Pool and Waterfall Designers to create shimmering pools, waterfalls, whirlpools and wave machines. "Get ready for an entirely new RollerCoaster Tycoon experience. It's wet, wild and totally soaked! For the first time, run your own water park ­and ride all the rides with this expansion to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Celebrate summer as hundreds of peeps catch rays and waves with an amazing lineup of super-splash flume rides, massive water slides, aquatic shows, beaches and more." RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later (Mac-specific pricing was unavailable).

Kolin ships modestly-priced 1080p set

03/12, 12:25pm

Kolin 42-inch 1080p set

Although not available in North America at the moment, Kolin is shipping a new 42-inch LCD set to Taiwan, the KLT-4268. It joins the increasing ranks of relatively inexpensive 1080p sets, costing just $59,900 NT, or $1,812 US. Contrast on the screen is a mere 1,500:1, but it does have a brightness of 500cd/m2, and a viewing angle of 176 degrees. Other features include HDMI input and a DVB-T TV tuner, as well as built-in Dolby Digital processing. Competing products in Taiwan come from companies such as Asus, BenQ and Microtek. [via DigiTimes]

Bagir debuts designer blazer for iPod owners

03/12, 12:10pm

Designer blazer for iPod

Italian fashion designer Bagir has introduced the Play List Jacket through its Express Men clothing line. The tailored blazer is designed to avoid wear and clutter that iPods can create with a special pocket that holds the portable player safely, routing the headphone cables through the inside of the jacket to keep the wires out tucked away. Soft controls on the inner lapel attached by the dock connector enable wearers to quickly switch tracks without taking the iPod out of its pocket. Express is planning to offer the Play List Jacket later this month for $250, and will come accompanied by a set of pants to match its designer appearance, according to Electronista.

AnyDATA HSDPA/WCDMA wireless router

03/12, 11:30am

AnyDATA HSDPA router

AnyDATA's newly-released AWR-600WK receives data strictly from HSDPA and WCDMA networks, enabling broadband anywhere within signal range, at speeds up to 7.2Mbps. The router itself sustains 54Mbps transfers for four Ethernet connections, or as many as 253 wireless users via 802.11b/g. Security measures include 12- or 64-bit WEP encryption, WPA-PSK authentication, and other options such as a firewall and IP filtering. One potential downside to the router is its antennas, as it only has two: one for WCDMA and another to broadcast locally. Also, to order the router, shoppers must contact AnyDATA directly.

Apple TV: will it revolutionize industry?

03/12, 11:30am

Apple TV outcome uncertain

Apple hopes its new set top box that streams iTunes content wirelessly from a personal computer to a TV will appeal to the masses when it ships in the near future, but some analysts argue that the device is simply another iteration of similar failed products. "I don't see where people are going to be willing to give up their pay TV subscription and go to the internet for programming [any time soon]," said In-Stat analyst Michelle Abraham. Companies such as Akimbo and MovieBeam enabled consumers to receive content over the internet, but failed to achieve massive success as a result of complicated pricing and a lack of desirable content, according to News.com. Apple, however, is likely banking on the Apple TV's ease of use and setup, coupled with its large content offerings from the iTunes Store and steady pricing structure to entice consumers into its own camp.

Play List Jacket brings iPod to upscale men's fashion

03/12, 11:25am

Express Play List Jacket

Israeli fashion designer Bagir is using its Express Men clothes line to introduce the Play List Jacket. The company says it recognizes the trouble of storing an iPod in the pocket of a designer suit and has tailored a blazer just to avoid the wear and clutter that the Apple device can create: a special pocket holds the iPod safely and routes the headphone cables through the inside of the jacket to keep them out of the way. Soft controls on the inner lapel, attached by the Dock Connector, also let the wearer quickly switch tracks without taking the iPod out of its pocket.

Express hopes to offer the Play List Jacket later this month for $248, and will be accompanied by a set of pants to match its designer look.

EMI squashes hopes of early online Beatles launch

03/12, 11:00am

Wippit Beatles Music

Claims that The Beatles' music would be online early are untrue, according to a statement by Apple Corps' parent company, EMI. British online music store Wippit claimed in an announcement dated in advance for March 14th that it would carry The Beatles' catalog, making it the first to do so outside of the questionable Russian site AllOfMP3. However, EMI was quick to deny the claim and said that it would have the claim removed. The text of the press release itself is absent.

Apple Corps had said last month that it would release the famous band's music in a non-exclusive form, but opted out of naming any particular stores at the time. Apple, Inc.'s iTunes is heavily favored as one of the first after the end of its longstanding feud with the music label.

LG produces gold Shine, Shine Folder

03/12, 10:55am

Shine Folder & gold Shine

A meeting at LG's Digital Design Center in Seoul has revealed two new versions of the Shine phone -- click through for images. The first is a special gold edition, which will initially ship for CDMA networks in Korea; though it may ship elsewhere (and for GSM), such plans have yet to be confirmed. The other version is the Shine Folder, which as the name implies, converts the normal slider design into a clamshell. The phone otherwise appears to be unchanged. LG has yet to bring the regular Shine to North America, so the Folder should not be anticipated in the near future. [via SOGI]

"The best applications for Mac" list updated

03/12, 10:55am

"Best" apps for Mac list

A Windows expert who switched to a Mac in 2005 has updated his list of "the best applications" for Mac. Dubbed the A-List of Mac Software, Computerworld's Scot Finnie recently evaluated browsing options, screen capture applications, antivirus software, HTML editors, and corporate as well as personal email clients. Applications that made the latest A-List include Safari as the current top browser, SnapNDrag representing screenshot utilities, VirusBarrier X4 for antivirus software, Taco HTML to fill the gap until a better HTML editor surfaces, Lotus Notes 7.0.2 for corporate email needs, and Eudora for personal email management. Software currently under consideration to make the A-List includes Quicksilver, Path Finder, Adium, Apple Mail, NetNewsWire, OmniWeb, Camino, Shiira, Saft, Pagespinner, and Norton AntiVirus 10.0 for Mac.

ASUS keeps PDAs alive with sleeker A626

03/12, 10:40am

ASUS A626 PDA

ASUS today refreshed its MyPal PDAs with the A626. The company hopes to challenge the increasing dominance of smartphones by releasing a handheld small enough to compete with phones in size but large enough to work as a notebook's replacement in some situations: the A626 is only 0.62 inches thick and weighs 158 grams despite an attention-getting stainless steel body and a 3.5-inch touchscreen. The PDA uses Windows Mobile 5 to browse the web and local networks with 802.11g Wi-Fi, and can use its Bluetooth 2.0 linkup to remotely control a presentation hosted on a computer.

As is the case with many of its PDAs, ASUS' latest also has MP3/WMA audio and WMV video support. The A626 should be on sale now in China, parts of Europe, and Russia; launches are planned soon for Thailand and the US.

OTTO jumps into gadgets with MP3 headset, more

03/12, 10:20am

OTTO MP3 Headset and More

Normally a producer of professional audio hardware, OTTO today unveiled a trio of new devices just for the mainstream. Standing out is the OT-3 headset: the entire device is a self-contained music systme, combining both a 512MB music player and behind-the-head earphones. Tracks are controlled through one of the ear cups and allows for 7 EQ settings despite the lack of a screen. Charging is accomplished through USB and provides up to six hours of listening. It ships today for $85.

Also released are the OT-2 Car Kit, a Bluetooth hands-free adapter that either pairs with a wireless headset or works as its own speakerphone, and the OT-4 surround headset for private listening to games and movies with full sound. These too are set to ship from Otto today at prices of $130 and $40 respectively.

LG creates pyramid-shaped, touch button home theater

03/12, 9:55am

LG Pyramid Home Theater

LG on Monday decided to shake up its home theaters with the introduction of the HT752TP. The receiver and all five satellite speakers abandon the safety of rectangular shapes for a pyramid design at their base. To further the effect, the base itself uses no moving buttons, instead using a touch interface to control the DVD player and music.

Sound is enhanced over other home theaters through a distinctive virtualization process: LG boasts that its 5.1-channel system can create a 10.1-channel sound. HDMI output helps the sound and visuals reach the TV at full quality, while a USB port lets the receiver load music and photos from a flash or hard drive. Prices and a possible North American launch are unknown.

Kensington ships SX 3000R FM iPod dock

03/12, 9:55am

FM radio iPod dock ships

Kensington has begun shipping its SX 3000R speaker system with FM radio capability for Apple's iPod. The device is designed to fill any room with dynamic audio clarity from a flat-panel speaker, and offers wireless remote control functionality. The iPod speaker dock features a built-in charger that works to replenish the iPod's battery whether the device is on or off, and supports the iPod's built-in alarm clock and sleep timer. The built-in universal dock fits all 30-pin docking iPods, including first- and second-generation iPod nanos as well as video iPods and iPod minis. Kensington's SX 3000R is priced at $170 and comes with a Kensington 2-year warranty.

Seagate intros 160GB, 7200RPM notebook drive

03/12, 9:10am

Seagate Momentus 7200.2

Seagate today revealed the Momentus 7200.2, a new line of high-speed notebook drives. The drive producer joins Fujitsu in being one of the first companies to release a portable hard disk that combines high speed with storage. The updated Momentus continues to spin at the full 7200RPM speed but stores 160GB, making it an ideal fit for desktop replacements.

Importantly, the company adds, the drive also has anti-shock protection that can withstand as much as a 900 G impact when idle. The drive ships today to system builders and should become an option through those companies soon afterwards.

Apple posts 6 new UK-based "Get a Mac" ads

03/12, 8:50am

UK-based "Get a Mac" ads

Apple has posted six new UK-based "Get a Mac" ads on its website, including three ads that are not based on storylines released in the US. The UK-localized ads feature comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, but Apple may be taking a publicity hit because the Mac character may be too "smug". In February, figures from YouGov's BrandIndex showed that the emergence of the PC and Mac advertising campaign in late January had an adverse effect on Apple's public perception, with its 'buzz' factor dropping from 14 to 8, according to Media Week. The new ads include 'Accident', in which PC falls off a desk because someone has tripped over the power cable; 'Out of the Box', which emphasizes how quickly a Mac can be set up; and 'Networking', where a printer connects to Mac to the dismay of PC, according to Macworld UK.

Samsung paves way for 16GB music players

03/12, 8:40am

Samsung 8GB Flash Chips

Samsung today began sampling a new, extra-high capacity version of its moviNAND flash chip. The chip maker said it has successfuly produced chips that store four, 16 gigabit flash memory units -- allowing for 8GB on a single chip. The technology should allow even smaller or less expensive music players to hold 2,000 songs and GPS units to cover the entire Western world with map data and points of interest. Such an advancement will also allow players with two chips, such as the iPod nano, to store a full 16GB of memory without increasing in size.

Nakahara acquires, updates iGet 2.6

03/12, 8:35am

Nakahara ships iGet 2.6

Nakahara Informatic today announced its acquisition of iGet, the Mac file transfer tool, from Five Speed Software as well as released a new version: iGet 2.6 introduces a new and more modern look and feel, along with bug fixes and user-requested enhancements. The free update is recommended for all users. iGet is a file transfer tool designed specifically for the Mac; it allows users to log into their accounts on remote Macs and browse, search, and download the files they need. It supports stop/resume of file and folder transfers, displays the real Mac icons and Finder labels for remote files, understands Mac aliases and can perform Mac-specific tasks like putting files into the Trash remotely. Nakahara, which helped transition the code-base to a Universal Binary, plans to announce a beta test program for iGet 3 within the next few weeks. iGet requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and can connect to Macs running Mac OS X 10.3 or later. A full license is $50.

AT&T intros red Pearl, Treo 680

03/12, 8:00am

AT&T Red Pearl and Treo

Under its still-current Cingular name, AT&T this morning has launched red versions of the BlackBerry Pearl and Treo 680. Both are exclusives, the provider says, and the first red versions of these devices anywhere.

The Pearl and Treo 680 are technically identical to their earlier versions, including their AT&T-specific features. Pricing is also similar: both are available for $200 when partnered with a two-year service plan, with the contract-free prices set at the original $400 and $450 costs of the Pearl and Treo respectively. A full photo of the Pearl can be found after the jump.

Helios brings 'tar' unix tool to Mac OS X

03/12, 2:05am

'Tar' unix tool for OS X

Germany-based HELIOS Software has released the Intel-compatible version of its free backup tool HELIOS Xtar. HELIOS, which provides cross-platform networking, PDF, and image server solutions, says it passing along on "its accumulated development experience to the Open Source community in the form of the free Xtar tool, which is basically the UNIX 'tar' program extended by HELIOS to include full Mac OS X (PPC/Intel) compatibility." HELIOS Xtar for Mac, available for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs, stores each HFS file as a double file in the standard "tar" format. Unicode file names as well as all meta data, including creation and modification date"are preserved. During the restore with Xtar to an HFS volume, the Finder and resource information are written into a valid HFS file--preserving all Mac OS X specific meta data are to ensure that all volumes are bootable after the restore.

EU official lashes out against Apple, iTunes

03/12, 1:55am

EU rep questions iTunes

Already under pressure from several European countries, at least one high ranking official at the European Union has lashed out against Apple's closed iPod/iTunes music ecosystem. According to German weekly magazine Focus, EU consumer chief Meglena Kuneva is publicly questioning Apple's iTunes: "Do you think it's fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod? I don't. Something has to change," EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Kuneva was quoted as saying in a preview of an interview to be published on Monday, according to Reuters.

PanoPreviewer 2.0 offers VR in Photoshop

03/12, 1:30am

PanoPreviewer 2.0 released

Pangea Software has released PanoPreviewer plug-in for Photoshop, a new Universal Binary version of the software that allows panoramic photographers to instantly preview their equirectangular images as VR panoramas. Compatible with both Photoshop CS2 and CS3, PanoPreviewer is only available for Mac OS X; an "equirectangular" image, the company says, is a 360 degree panorama that has been unwrapped into a 2D image--much like a map of the Earth unwrapped into a poster. PanoPreviewer streamlines working with VR images by performing all of its rendering using hardware-accelerated OpenGL. The result, the company says, is a VR panorama that is fast and smooth even when displayed full-screen. Previous versions of PanoPreviewer were freeware, but the new 2.0 version costs $20. A demo is available online.

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