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In brief: An opening date has reportedly been set for an Apple Store in downtown San Luis Obispo, Apple has admitted to serious problems with Final Cut and Mac OS X 10.4.9, and three major corporations are banding together to take on YouTube as well as other video sharing sites. Hammer Storage today unveiled the myshare network storage device that offers up to 2TB of network storage, researchers suspect notebooks will begin outselling desktops by 2011, and Skype has discovered a court ruling that could force cellular phone manufacturers as well as carriers to open up their devices to VOIP (Voice Over IP). A sign in the front of the retail space at 899 Higuera St. in downtown San Luis Obispo suggests that Apple has scheduled to open its latest retail store on June 9th, although the Cupertino-based company itself refused to acknowledge a future store in that location.
Cheetah 4.0 is a major update to the powerful 3D modelling, rendering and animation solution for Mac OS X. The fourth major update to the application brings new character animation tools, including joint-based skeleton system, Forward/Inverse kinematic (FK/IK), IK constraints, a joint tool, vertex weight painting, a new take manager to record independent animation clips, a poser manager to record often used poses for later usage, morph targets for facial animation and muscle animation, and FBX animation export/import. In addition, the software had new interface with redesigned icons, the ability to group different views to a tab view, object grouping, and more. Version 4.0 also offers new modelling tools (transform gadget, ruler) and accelerated SDS modelling on multi-CPU Macs (as well as rendering support for Macs with up to eight CPUs). It is available for $130 and as a $60 update. Discounts of $20 and $10 (respectively) are available through April 1st.
Markzware today released a preview of its preflighting software. Offered as a public beta, FlightCheck v6 beta for Mac OS X Tiger offers a refined interface, Universal Binary support, compatibility with QuarkXPress 7, better font handling, and more. The software offers automatic FlightPlan switching between PDF and native files and is now a Universal Binary, allowing users to preflight QuarkXPress v7 documents from a single and central stand-alone application on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. In addition, FlightCheck 6 supports popular font management tools, such as Extensis Suitcase Fusion, InSider Software Font Agent Pro, Linotype FontExplorer and Apple Font Book. It also automatically creates fonts and images subfolders whenever collecting jobs for print and offers both enhanced font and image search functions (as well as enhanced OPI detection for Color Central). The public beta can be used on a trial basis for a limited time.
Dozens of readers on Thursday began receiving their Apple TV set-top box, one day ahead of estimated delivery dates by FedEx. Expected at Apple's retail stores this weekend and in Best Buy stores next Tuesday, the device has received favorable reviews by Walt Mossberg (and PC Magazine), although many note that the devices does have limitations and may not be everyone. At least one company gave all of its employees an Apple TV, following an "exceptionally great" financial quarter for Axosoft and the release of major new version of OnTime for advanced defect, feature and incident management. While TechRestore today posted dissection photos and began posting manuals and tech support docs, we have a some photos of the unboxing.
The iPhone was a major subject of debate at the Online Media, Marketing and Advertising Expo held this week in Los Angeles, according to the research firm Piper Jaffray, who have also offered commentary on the rumored Google phone. Advertisers are said to have identified the iPhone as a dramatic shift in the world of mobile marketing due to its being one of the few phones capable of browsing the true Internet -- most phones are restricted to browsing WAP sites with little to no graphics, the advertisers say. Combined with the expected popularity of the iPhone, advertisers anticipate increasing the amount of conventional Internet advertising as it should reach an expanded audience.
While not professional equipment, Tokyu Hands of Japan is selling the Portable Electric Drum Set, which offers much more convenient percussion. The playing surface is actually a 20-inch rubber mat, which users tap with sticks to trigger eight different drum effects in the accompanying control unit. Belying its less serious nature, it comes with a variety of pre-recorded songs and rhythms to play along with. The drum kit is currently on the market for 9,240 yen ($78). [via Tokyomango]
Intel has become one of the first companies to ship an OLPC-type machine in the form of the Classmate, which should soon be arriving in bulk in Brazil and Mexico. While only one computer is technically an OLPC, the term has come to apply to any system designed for schoolchildren in poor countries, where many institutions cannot afford even a so-called budget system. The Classmate is a small, ruggedized laptop with extremely minimal specifications. It uses a 900MHz Celeron M processor for instance, and has only a seven-inch screen, and 1 to 2GB of flash as permanent storage. It is mostly dependent on Intel-assisted network infrastructure, to which it can connect through 10/100 Ethernet or 802.11b/g wireless. Future countries expected to buy or receive Classmates include China, India, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam.
Palm late on Thursday revealed that it had turned a profit in its most recent quarter, earning $11.8 million. The company added that it had also smashed its all-time sales record, with sales jumping over 30 percent year-to-year and 738,000 of its Treo smartphones trading hands. Similar results should follow throughout the rest of the spring, Palm said. Conspicuously, the company has made no mention of the hotly-speculated takeover bid that had reportedly been in the works for the company's fiscal report today, suggesting either a delay or an inaccurate source. Speculation had reached a fever pitch yesterday when it was claimed that Motorola led bidding in an attempt to counter Apple and Research in Motion.
KVH opened the Palm Beach Boat Show today with a pair of new satellite HDTV receivers for boats. The 18-inch M5 and 24-inch M7 bring a new, optimized antenna dubbed RingFire to bear when out at sea. Because of their specially-tuned dishes and low-noise converters, the domes catch up to a 30 percent stronger signal than anything the company has released to date -- and often beat much larger receivers, KVH points out. The net effect is to let boat passengers watch TV even on the fringes of coverage or in harsh weather. Either model can link to a matching TracPhone dome for making satellite phone calls and receives TV from satellite operators across all the Americas and Europe. Prices aren't listed but should climb above the $2,995 mark set by the
Microsoft is planning to release a fourth official color for the Zune, EBGames has confirmed through a posting on its website. The new model will come in all-pink with a black directional pad. Unlike the deep pink special edition handed out to company team members and seeded randomly in shipping units, however, the official Zune will come in a powdery pink with bright metallic lining and a white glow from the signature double-shot plastic shell. Capacity of the player is unchanged from the 30GB original, however, dashing hopes of an early fulfillment of Microsoft's promise of upgraded Zunes in 2007. The price should still reach $250 when the device goes on sale May 1st. [via ClicZune]
TechRestore has dissected the new Apple TV set top box device, revealing the insides of the company's wireless media streaming device via numerous photographs. the photos show the hard drive stuck to the top cover, connected via a thin ribbon cable to the mainboard alongside what appears to be the power supply. All of the Apple TV's ports are neatly aligned and attached cleanly to the mainboard behind a heatsink, the wireless card, and the power supply. The GPU on the dissected model is clearly manufactured by NVIDIA, while the CPU is an Intel chip. [images courtesy of TechRestore]
London-based luxury designer Luvaglio is boasting that it has developed a million-dollar notebook. Although the specifications are currently unavailable, the firm notes that much of the cost stems from its use of luxurious materials. Buyers have the choice of relatively exotic materials such as pink leather or finished black wood for the outer shell, and gold or other precious metals for the lining; even diamonds are said to be part of the system. A matching case holds the system without seeming out of place in a home or office's decor. The luxury agency doesn't list the price or other details of the system and asks instead that its customers get in direct contact to order the system. See larger photos after the break. [via Luxury Launches]
Miglia today announced that it has joined forces with software manufacturer equinux, to offer a new software bundle with Miglia's TV tuner products. Earlier this month, Miglia ended its licensing of Elgato's popular EyeTV software, although existing customers were promised continued support. Going forward, Miglia said that TVMini Express, a low cost USB device announced earlier this week, will ship with equinux’s new digital TV tuner software The Tube. The software offers functions to turn any Mac into a portable digital TV tuner, easily allowing users to record their favorite TV shows and export them directly onto an iPod. The Tube software is built using Apple's Cocoa programming language: it can automatically search for available channels, watch TV from anywhere and record TV-shows, and more.
Cable TV network Starz Entertainment said on Thursday that it was suing the Walt Disney Company, accusing the latter of violating an exclusivity agreement by offering its movies through online stores such as Apple's iTunes Store and Wal-Mart's Video Downloads service. Filed in Los Angeles, the suit alleges that Disney broke a 2005 deal which gave Starz sole rights to Disney movies for an unpublicized amount of time on both its TV channel and its Vongo online store.
NEC at CeBIT ramped up the quality of its digital cinema projectors by unveiling the NC2500C. Its power is geared towards truly large-scale viewing and displays an ultra high-definition 2K picture (2048x1080) on screens as large as 82 feet across. The DLP projection system is equally powerful at 25,000 lumens and pairs with a fully motorized lens that will automatically remember a pre-defined position. Dual DVI ports and a single VGA connection provide video input. The 2500C's price and availability are unavailable, but should be oriented towards professionals and other high-end customers. [via AVING]
Apple has added the Apple TV User's Guide to its website, as well as a new support area for the new set top box. The Cupertino-based company officially began shipping the wireless media streaming device yesterday, and has given 3,000 units to brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy for sale starting on Tuesday. The User's Guide covers Apple TV components, what is required to set up the device, and specific instructions for setting up as well as configuring Apple's latest media offering. Also covered are such important topics as importing content into iTunes; adding movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts; importing as well as syncing photos; using the Apple Remote; watching video; and listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. The Apple TV Service & Support area enables users to extend technical support as well as repair coverage on the device, and offers troubleshooting tips alongside a How-to section and a service area.
Ukraine-based CS Odessa has released Brainstorm Lite, used to encourage rapid idea development. The program takes the unusual tack of imposing more restrictions on users, forcing them to quickly come up with thoughts and write them down in a limited span of time. Users are likewise unable to edit or delete their material until a session is over, at which point the software becomes a simple text editor. Files can be saved in TXT or RTF format or exported to outlining and mind-mapping software using the OPML format. The Mac version of Brainstorm is a 32MB download.
Niveus late yesterday rolled out its 2007 line of home theater PCs catering to the higher end of the spectrum. The Rainier series marks the first from the company for those enthusiasts who want a serious home theater but don't need the firm's premium Denali line. Each computer is four inches tall and can easily fit in a TV stand while still remaining silent through a passive cooling system. They also bring much stronger HDTV viewing options to the company's line: the 500HD and 750HD both feature HD DVD drives for watching 1080p movies, while all four Rainier versions optionally hook into Niveus' new Digital Cable Receiver with dual CableCARD tuners to legally play and record cable HDTV on the computer itself.
Best Buy today announced that the Apple TV, which officially began shipping yesterday, will be available in all 822 of its U.S. stores starting on Tuesday -- two weeks before Apple's estimated March 23rd delivery date. An initial shipment of 3,000 units will limit availability in the brick-and-mortar retailer's giant chain of stores, however, averaging at around five Apple TVs at each Best Buy outlet, according to News.com. The agreement also marks the first time Best Buy will sell an Apple product other than the company's market leading iPod portable media players. At least one industry analyst believes the Apple TV -- which is priced at $299 -- will catch on slowly at first, ramping up sales for the Cupertino-based company as increasing numbers of consumers learn about the device and what it does.
Speaking to a hearing of the US International Trade Commission, Sprint and Verizon have urged the government not to adopt a plan suggested for a patent infringement suit. Broadcom has proposed that since Qualcomm was ruled to have violated a patent on battery-saving technology, the solution may be an import ban on phones using Qualcomm chipsets. According to Sprint and Verizon however, the problem is that they need the chips to provide EVDO -- a standard created by Qualcomm, and the most widespread form of broadband for American CDMA networks. The ITC hearing should continue through the week, with testimony today coming from companies such as Samsung and Motorola, as well as government safety experts, who are expected to argue that a ban would harm emerency services. The ban is as yet tentative. [via Reuters]
Communications giant AT&T gave its IP-based TV subscribers an extra option on Thursday by revealing U-verse OnTheGo. The service extends the company's existing broadcasts by letting subscribers watch a mix of pre-recorded and live content from their PCs without requiring any special equipment; a broadband Internet connection is enough for most computers, AT&T says. Though some content is pre-recorded, key channels such as Bloomberg and The Weather Channel are broadcast live, making AT&T's option one of the first networks to air live shows on both computers and TVs. Choosing OnTheGo adds $10 to the existing monthly rate for U-verse, which is available in a limited number of cities and currently requires a Windows XP system. The company promises, however, to expand its coverage and offer more channels in the future.
Apple's newest patent filing surfaced today revealing a new power smart notebook system that won't power down while an iPod or iphone are connected to it for charging up.The patent, titled "Charging of mobile devices," states that "if a television set were to have the appropriate port, it could be used to charge a connected device, such as a music player. The television set could determine that it is being used as a charging source for the music device and not turn off that port." The patent in its most basic form would prevent notebooks from going to sleep or powering down when peripheral devices are connected, thereby charging the devices even when sleeping or powered off. Interestingly, no television set currently available on the market offers such a port as defined by Apple's patent filing.
With television profits being increasingly threatned by the rise of sites like YouTube, NBC Universal and News Corp. (owners of Fox, IGN and MySpace) have announced a new video site to debut this summer. Though it is nameless for the time being, the site already has substantial content planned: users will be able to watch clips and full episodes of shows such as "Heroes," "House" and "30 Rock," and movies already on tap include "Borat," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Devil Wears Prada." What may make the site a genuine threat however is revenue and distribution -- while many other video sites are supported by advertising, NBC and News Corp. have already managed to secure parties such as Intel, General Motors and Cadbury Schweppes to support the videos. The site is likewise guaranteed to be ubiquitous, since distribution partners include AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo. These corporations will in turn use custom embedded players to retain the look of subsites.
An anonymous reader of Hiptop3.com claims to have acquired a slide from a T-Mobile national marketing meeting in California, which suggests that a new phone is in development called the "Sidekick X RAZR." As would be expected, the slide also implies a collaboration between Danger and Motorola, the creators of the original Sidekick and RAZR phones. The new phone is actually described as a "multimedia device," which suggests that it may play video as well as audio files, although this is by no means guaranteed. It may refer as much to the existing capabilities of the Sidekick, which supports text, e-mail and instant messaging, as well as full-fidelity web browsing. No other details are available. [via Hiptop3.com]
Nokia has patented a new smartphone design that would give an even greater amount of control, according to a newly discovered filing. The device would not only have a slide-out keyboard but also a pivoting number pad: while it would slide out for normal calling, it would also rotate into place next to the keyboard for spreadsheets or steering using the directional pad. The design would also have a space near the display for a separate control scheme. Click through for more details and complete images.
Wibu-Systems today debuted its CmCard/E, a new Card module that makes the CodeMeter Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology available under the ExpressCard form factor. The CodeMeter DRM system is a proven and highly flexible protection technology for digital products, according to Wibu-Systems, and has seen strong adoption by many software vendors since its introduction in 2003. "CeBIT of this year is for us the opportunity to enlarge our scope of hardware solutions by releasing the new card module CmCard/E providing a 4 GB of flash in addition to our CodeMeter DRM system," said Wibu-Systems CEO and founder Oliver Winzenried. "With the new card we can support larger storage capacities for all kind of applications including the capability of protecting large audio and video files. CodeMeter security products integrate with all mayor platforms based on Windows, Apple and Linux."
Alienware today said it had upped the speed of the Area-51 ALX desktop with overclocked quad-core processors. The company says it has ramped up the speed of the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 to 3.2GHz, far outstripping the 2.66GHz of Intel's stock factory model. The extra performance gives the system the headroom for future games while still having the raw clock speed needed to run today's games quickly, the system builder says. A base ALX ships for $5,751 with the 3.2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 500GB of hard drive space, and dual GeForce 8800 GTX video cards. Less demanding users can also opt for a limited-run Area-51 7500, which starts at $3,448 with half the RAM and storage as well as a 512MB GeForce 7950 GT.
Crumpler today unveiled The Belly (site not updated), a new backpack for toting laptops designed to carry chargers as well as discs and paperwork. The bag features a waterproof "ripstop" lining, a "weasel-proof" padded laptop pouch with a removable sleeve, and a large main compartment boasting easy access. Two side pockets hold a water bottle and an MP3 player -- such as Apple's iPod -- in a padded compartment. Shoulder straps feature two loops for pouch attachment and provide fine adjustment via a sliding chest strap. The backpack features a Dr. Bodenschatz back hugger, and seven small internal pockets. The Belly ($225 to $250) accommodates 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-, and 17-inch standard or widescreen laptops.
In what may be an unexpected move, the US branch of the human rights charity Amnesty International has begun a cellular network, Amnesty Wireless. It is actually running as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) like Amp'd Mobile, but is using Sprint's CDMA network, and is donating 10 percent of its charges to its parent organization. Furthermore, monthly statements will also highlight new human rights issues, and subscribers will be able to make up to 30 minutes of free calls to targeted leaders. To encourage switchers, Amnesty is offering a free LG 225 phone with up to 200 anytime minutes, unlimited night and weekend calls, and $175 towards buying out a previous contract. Calls to other Amnesty users will be free, and the 225 offer costs only $30 a month. [via MobileBurn]
Samsung has added to its LCD TV line today with three new LCD sets for its PAVV TV line. A continuation of the Bordeaux design named after its resemblance to a wine glass, the new 40-, 46-, and 52-inch TVs rest at the top of the company's line with exceptionally high contrast: each of the sets uses Samsung's dynamic adjustments to manage a 15,000:1 contrast ratio. Every screen also uses Wide Color Control Plus to keep images vivid across the entire display.
JS8 Media has released ReelBean 2.9, a movie converter and player application for Mac OS X that adds an Apple TV export option for converting videos to play through the Cupertino-based company's new set top box. The larger dimensions for the Apple TV are permitted in iTunes 7.1, and the latest release corrects the initial dimensions of the player window when a movie is opened to allow for large dimension movies. ReelBean converts videos to various formats which include iPod, Apple TV, MPEG-4, H.264, QuickTime, AVI, and others. The software also allows users to extract individual tracks -- video and audio -- to separate files for editing. A scene selection drawer complements a video transparency slider, alongside a playback speed controller and the ability to start a video from the last point played when previously opened. Most of the features in ReelBean 2.9 are available for free, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later. The pro features are accessible via a $15 license.
ActiveState has released Perl Dev Kit 7.0, a Perl application deployment suite that adds optimization tools and extends platform support to Mac OS X. The kit is designed to make it simple for programmers to build and deploy applications, filtering text interactively with on-the-fly results and improving code performance via coverage experiments as well as hotspot analysis and data set comparisons. Features include PerlApp -- a tool to create and deploy self-contained Perl applications to all major platforms -- as well as PerlNET, which allows .NET Framework code to access Perl code running outside the .NET Framework. PerlSvc converts Perl programs to native Windows services, PerlTray changes Perl programs to Windows system tray applications, and PerlMSI creates MSI files using Perl code. Perl Dev Kit 7.0 Pro Pack is priced at $200 or $50 for a student license.
TDK today started shipping some of the first-ever printable
Facefarm.com has launched a new face matching service with subscriptions for Mac OS X users. The service enables users to post head-shot photographs online for use with address book software. Facefarm.com supports cropping and sizing of images directly on the website, and enables Mac users to automatically keep the faces of all contacts up-to-date in Address Book as well as on a cellular phone. New or updated faces are added to contacts automatically within 24 hours of a detected change on facefarm, and the Mac subscription runs as a simple system preference pane. Subscriptions are priced at $1 per face match, and the service requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Hammer Storage this morning became a heavyweight in media backup drives with the myshare network storage device. The enclosure holds a pair of hard drives and serves as a central hub for a home's files regardless of the computer or device: no software is needed to access the drive from a Linux, Mac, or Windows PC, and any computer can access those same contents through the Web. Two USB ports also let the hub share printers or backup and share any outside USB storage.
Motorola and Amp'd on Thursday have officially launched the Moto Q Amp'd Edition. As was leaked early by the company, the virtual carrier's version of the Q turns the smartphone into a primarily multimedia device with live Internet TV, an online music store, and full stereo Bluetooth audio for wireless headphones and speakers. The QWERTY keyboard (the first on Amp'd phones) helps tackle social networking, the carrier says. Pricing hasn't yet been provided for the US edition, but the company has confirmed that choosing the Moto Q with Amp'd Mobile Canada will cost $40 Canadian per month with unlimited media streaming and 8MB of regular data.
Nokia this morning announced that the long-awaited N95 smartphone has started shipping. The device drew attention during its September announcement for its design and sheer number of features: the slider design operates in two directions, giving quick access to music controls one way as well as a keypad in the other. A 5-megapixel camera, support for 3G wireless through HSDPA, and GPS mapping are still present in the finished version. Notably, however, the N95 is currently being released to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. No mention has been made of an American launch, although the company has said that its phone supports the country's networks. A release in the US will likely occur later in the year through AT&T.
Now AAPL Stock: 95.01 ( + 0.99 )
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ