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New "Get A Mac" TV ads
Apple today posted two new television ads as part of its "Get a Mac" campaign -- both of which have begun airing on US television. "Flashback" and "Computer Cart" are both available in QuickTime on Apple's website in small, medium, large, and HD formats. "Flashback" touts the Mac's simplicity and how some things never change as both the Mac and PC characters flash back to their childhood. "Computer Cart" highlights the strange and cryptic PC error messages by showing the PC character being carted off along with other error-prone PCs. Earlier this week, Apple began airing its first Apple TV television ad and later posted it in QuickTime on the internet.
SilverStack 1.2 at NAB
Pomfort today announced plans to showcase its Pomfort SilverStack 1.2 image sequence manager for film and video production workflows. Pomfort SilverStack is designed to provide lightweight, professional handling of image sequences -- including extensive feature for viewing, managing, and exporting of image files such as DPX and Cineon formats. The update includes features for improved metadata management, accelerated as well as extended file handling, and new automation features. Pomfort will demonstrate the use of its various options for movie creation such as resolution, codec, textual burn-ins, custom metadata, primary color correction, and linearization filters at the ARRI booth for the digital intermediate process with the ARRISCAN film scanner.
First 'Zune nano' photo?
With stories circulating about a new, smaller Zune designed to compete with the iPod nano, Gizmodo has acquired what may be the first picture of the device. Notable is the 16:9 LCD display, which does indeed cover most of the player, and would be difficult to create in Photoshop; it would not be impossible however, and the player is said to be the size of the normal Zune rather than a compact one. An alternate theory is that the photo depicts an unmentioned third Zune, but there have been no rumors to that effect.
RealPIX real-estate camera
Although real-estate agencies are increasingly hiring pro photographers, a new self-named camera from RealPIX should simplify the process for agents who do take photos themselves. The key difference is the camera's lens, which is far wider than most at 22mm, allowing better coverage of rooms and exteriors. The lens also has an extremely wide maximum aperture of f/2.0, which helps reduce ambient light blur by enabling faster shutter speeds.
The camera does however make sacrifices to reach its $299 price point: image size is limited to 640x480 (0.3 megapixels), and it only has access to an onboard flash, albeit one more powerful than in most compacts. The most critical issue may ironically be the lens, whose fixed length means that it cannot zoom in on details, nor zoom out further for the most cramped spaces. The camera begins shipping on July 10th.
PCMag on AirPort 802.11n
PC Magazine has reviewed Apple's new AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station, the company's latest wireless router that works with most of its newly-introduced Intel-based Macs at the fastest wireless speed available. The new router's ability to work in the 2.4GHz spectrum as well as the 5GHz band, coupled with several other unique features help to justify the router's $179 price tag and to set the device apart from competitors, according to the publication. Interference is considerably decreased when operating within the 5GHz band, but that limits connectivity to 802.11n clients only. "This latest version of the Airport shows a lot of thought and ingenuity. Like other Apple products, it has a modern look, a smaller profile, and exudes quality. Where it truly shines, though, is in its innovative software and USB port."
TomTom RIDER 2nd Edition
GPS device creator TomTom this afternoon unveiled the RIDER 2nd Edition, the sequel to its popular mapping system for motorbikes. As was alluded to in a premature site posting, the revised unit has a new RAM mount that adapts to more handlebars and is more easily adjusted for a clear viewing angle. It also comes bundled with a Cardo scala-rider Bluetooth earpiece for making phone calls without the rider first removing their helmet. A new, free Buddies service also adds an element of social networking with friend tracking and notifications when fellow RIDER owners drift into range.
Transcend T.sonic 820
Transcend has revealed a new player in its T.sonic series, the 820. Exact format support is unknown, but it does at least support photo, video and MP3/WMA files, and comes with features such as voice recording and a built-in FM radio tuner. One new feature is nine-button keypad, which gives quick access to the various special functions, as well as normal volume and track selection options. Two different versions will be available: a 2GB white player, and a 4GB black one. Though the 820 will likely come to North America, no prices or street dates have been mentioned. [via DigiTimes]
Apple Ponders Subscription
Apple is reconsidering its attitude towards iTunes subscriptions, research group INTENT MediaWorks claims. Company CEO Les Ottolenghi said today that discussions with Apple staffers had led him to believe that the iTunes Store will see a subscription service within six months despite Apple's previous insistence on a-la-carte downloads.
"Apple is seriously considering a subscription offering right now even though they will probably tell you otherwise," he asserted.
In brief: Blackmagic Design has announced that Apple has qualified its DeckLink HD Extreme as well as its DeckLink HD Pro capture cards for Final Cut Studio 5.1, Extensis was awarded a patent for its Font Sense technology found in its font management applications, and Adobe has chosen lynda.com as the exclusive producer of in-the-box video training for its new Adobe Creative Suite 3 software. AppleScript Pro Sessions is preparing to cover Adobe's Creative Suite 3 in a five-day training event in Denver, Speck Products is holding a sale on much of its iPod merchandise, and the Portland Mac Creative User Group is holding a meeting next Tuesday on April 17th with an open forum to discuss future topics of interest.
Samsung M300 for Sprint
Samsung is prepping a new clamshell phone to replace the A640 in its lineup. Known as the SPH-M300, the device will take a cue from Sony-Ericsson's phones and hide the external display through an OLED display that only reveals itself for a call. The camera should also be vastly improved over the earlier phone with a 2-megapixel sensor in place of the VGA model of before. Stereo Bluetooth audio and a microSD slot for media are expected, though EVDO Internet support isn't known.
A release of the M300 is pegged for May 14th, according to leaks. It should come initially in a single Dark Silver color but will be followed up by a Sprint-friendly red version in July. [via Phone Arena]
Jaty Leisure Navi-Phone
Jaty on Wednesday surprised a few of its larger challengers with the GPS-L2000, also known as the Leisure Navi-Phone. Its nickname points to its features, the company says: the device has a true GPS unit that not only offers driving directions but also mapping for hikes, sailing, and even golf. An optional DMB receiver also picks up digital over-the-air TV shows. Control is made relatively easy through a 3.2-inch touchscreen that makes GPS more intuitive and replaces a bulkier physical keypad for dialing.
Currently available only in Korea, the Navi-Phone is available from carrier LG Telecom for $590 US in addition to a $6 monthly fee for updated map info from the cell provider. [via AVING]
Disk Order; EasyWMV
Disk Order 2.5 ($23) is a Finder replacement that supports batch file renaming, built-in FTP transfers, and the ability to open compressed archives as if they were ordinary folders. Among other items, the v2.5 release introduces viewing modes such as outlines, file lists and thumbnails, and improves performance of the software on Intel Macs. Two versions are available for download: a Universal Binary that requires Mac OS X 10.4, or a PowerPC installer that will run on Mac OS X 10.3.
[Download - 3.5MB]
EasyWMV 1.2 ($15) can covert or resize WMV, AVI, MPEG, FLV videos and more, saving them as either an MPG or MP4 files. Users can also choose to format specifically for iPods or the Apple TV, applying H.264 compression where possible. Audio and video quality can be adjusted separately. The v1.2 update is a minor one, adding compatibility with uncompressed SWF animations. The app is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. [Download - 3.9MB]
EasyBackup ($10) is a simplified backup utility, enabling files to selected for storage by dragging and dropping them into the application. A log lets users see the progress of each file, and backup can be scheduled automatically through iCal, which will run the process at a certain time every day or week. Mac OS X 10.4 is required. [Download - Size Unknown]
LicenseKeeper 1.1 ($20) catalogues software licenses for backup purposes, ensuring that paid downloads can be updated or reinstalled again in the future. To add licenses, users simply drag e-mails containing serial numbers into the program; the resulting data is stored in XML format. Version 1.1 additionally records prices, order numbers and purchase dates, and can now import messages from Entourage and PowerMail. Users can also store plug-ins, preference panes and Dashboard widgets. [Download - 1.4MB]
Sigma Chess 6.1.4 HIARCS 11 ($50) is a chess game that its makers claim has the most power engine devised for the Mac. The program is now a Universal Binary, and has specific tuning for both single- and multicore processors. It is rated at 100 to 240 Elo stronger than HIARCS 10, and on faster Macs can reach 2,900 Elo, surpassing the World Champion level. The Sigma user interface meanwhile has been updated with features such as MultiPV. [Download - 9MB]
OBE Assistant 1.2 ($41) is a marking book for teachers that produces formative assessment tasks for Outcomes Based Education (OBE). The Assistant takes numerical marks assigned to questions, and then translates them into a more conceptual level of achievement. The v1.2 upgrade is able to put marks in a five-point scale, each being equivalent to letter grades running from E to A. Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher is required. [Download - 10.7MB]
Toshiba HD-A20 Ships
Toshiba today announced that its HD-A20 HD DVD movie player is at last shipping to stores. The A20, first announced at CES in January, is targeted at viewers who want better image quality than the basic HD-A2 but without the more exotic AV output of the HD-XA2: the newest entry can display a full 1080p signal on compatible TVs but sheds HDMI 1.3's enhanced image and more elaborate versions of Dolby and DTS surround.
Importantly, the price has also dropped with the formal release. Toshiba says the A20 should be in stores very soon for $500, a full $100 less than what was announced in January.
Sony E01 Walkman in Japan
After their European preview, Sony today formally introduced its E01 series MP3 players in its home country. The player borrows its design influence from players such as the original iPod shuffle with a USB port for direct file transfers from PCs or USB-equipped home stereos, but uses its available space for a hidden OLED that provides a visual interface as well as full-color album art.
In this official debut, the company is launching 1GB ($92), 2GB ($117), and 4GB ($168) versions with most having the option of five colors ranging from black to gold. They ship to Japan on April 21st but are likely to appear in the US later this year. A photo showing the player with its armband and clip add-ons follows the break.
iPod sales to hit 500m?
Apple will likely pass up the 350 million sales Sony achieved with its Walkman players from the 1980's to 1990's, and may exceed the half billion mark before desire for the portable players begins to decline, according to one research analyst. Ingrid Ebeling, an analyst for JMP Securities, provided a preview of Apple's fiscal second quarter results due April 25th in a research note obtained by AppleInsider. "During Sony's 15-year reign with the Walkman, the company sold over 350 million units, and we believe that Apple's addressable market over time will exceed this number given the upgrade and replaceable nature of iPods as well as the overriding trend of consumers' increasing use of digital media," Ebeling wrote.
Art Lebedev Vilcus Plug
Art Lebedev Studio as an April Fool's entry unveiled Vilcus. The simple attachment is meant as a toy for those who enjoy the questionable (and dangerous) entertainment of plugging their fingers into a wall socket: two holes in the plug are just large enough for the average finger and include copper contacts that are guaranteed to make a complete electrical circuit and achieve the intended shock.
Although built with Russia's wall outlets in mind, the Vilkus also has swappable plugs for US and European power outlets and plugs into a Rozetkus power strip. The device is technically listed through Think Geek for $13 but is unlikely to ever be offered for self-evident reasons.
Nokia N73 Godfather
Commemorating the 35th anniversary of The Godfather, Nokia today hoped to appeal to movie buffs with the N73 Godfather Edition. Its bar-shaped smartphone includes a complete copy of the Coppola film at the native resoluion of the N73's 2.4-inch screen, which successfully fits on to a single 256MB miniSD card. As with the N93 MI:3, cellphone owners can backup (but not play) the movie on another memory card or a PC should the movie be wiped clean from the card.
Silicon Imaging 2K HD Cam
Silicon Imaging made an early start to its announcements for the NAB video expo by announcing the SI-2K line of pro HD video cameras. Both the namesake SI-2K and the smaller SI-2K MINI are built for videographers that want to capture above 1080p quality, recording videos over 2000 pixels wide. Unlike some of these cameras, however, the Silicon Imaging models don't automatically compress videos: instead, a Core 2 Duo in the camera converts footage to a RAW CineForm standard that consumes a large amount of space (4 hours in 160GB of storage) but which also guarantees 10-bit color accuracy.
QuickSnap 1.0 released
Fastforward today released QuickSnap 1.0, a screen capture utility for Mac OS X that offers three main capture options to snap the screen, a window, or a selection. The software can save screenshots in several different formats, and includes support for hotkeys. QuickSnap 1.0 includes timed screenshots, a status menu, and the ability to capture screenshots of the DVD player to make galleries of movie photos. An easy-to-use interface enables users to customize how screenshots are taken, and the application offers user-definable naming conventions for screenshots as well as custom save locations. QuickSnap is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Laptop sales 'rocket'
The world's two largest contract laptop builders have reported a dramatic increase in sales for the month of March, according to PC World. Quanta Computer shipped 2.4 million laptops that month, marking the most the company has ever produced in such a timeframe. The company's revenue grew 31 percent to $1.55 billion US. Meanwhile, Quanta's competition at Compal Electronics shipped its second-highest monthly total, 1.78 million laptops, and saw its revenue rise to $1.059 billion.
The figures back a recent study by IDC, which suggested that laptop sales are growing so quickly that they may begin outselling desktops as soon as 2011. This has been attributed mainly to the prevalence of wireless Internet, and an increase in the number of travelling workers.
Boot Camp beta to expire
Users of Apple's Boot Camp beta software could find themselves lacking support and driver updates, once the product ships with the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard this spring. Boot Camp is special software developed by Apple that allows Intel-based Mac owners to create separate partitions on one or more hard drives to support Microsoft's Windows XP and Vista operating systems. The Boot Camp licensing terms however state that the software is only usable until the company releases a commercial version or until the September 30th deadline, whichever comes first. Apple has not revealed whether it will issue a final version of Boot Camp for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger users, according to News.com, but rumors abound that the company will provide standalone copies of Boot Camp for Tiger users when the final product ships.
OLED TVs within 3 years
A partnership between Toshiba and Matsushita (owners of Panasonic) has been announced that should see the first commercial OLED TVs begin production by 2009, Reuters reports. OLED (organic LED) screens are generally thinner, lighter, and more power-efficient than LCDs, and are also better at reproducing motion; the main obstacle has been size, since while OLEDs are already in use in some places, technology mostly limits them to tiny information displays for devices like MP3 players. Sony is also said to be producing OLED panels for TVs, if not actual OLED sets.
Lawyer challenges Apple
An intellectual property lawyer has openly challenged Apple in its legal efforts against developers who produce software that emulates some of the menu features seen in the company's forthcoming iPhone. Tomasz Rychlicki, an IP lawyer interested in copyright law and authors rights, released software on his website that emulates some features found in Apple's iPhone, and argued that Apple has no legal ground to claim the iPhone's menu hierarchy as its own property. "I'm pretty sure that this situation will not make Apple's clients confused about the new product - iPhone," Rychlicki wrote, who admitted that he himself plans to purchase the device. The laywer cites a previous U.S. court decision which ruled that menu command hierarchy was not eligible for copyright protection.
Sony A800 Coming to Canada
Sony's elusive A800 Walkman is coming to Canada, Electronista has discovered. While the device was previously announced for Europe, the device has been announced for North America through Sony's Canadian branch and suggests pricing directly competitive with players from Apple, SanDisk, and other rivals but with the added playback of H.264 and MPEG-4 videos.
The launch lineup will also be slightly different than in Europe, Sony Canada reveals. Available in May, the players will ship in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities for $170, $230, and $300 Canadian respectively; while matching the iPod nano's price, several color options will also be dropped. Blue will be scrapped entirely for the launch while limiting pink only to the 4GB model and white for the 2GB edition. A US release remains unannounced and hasn't been explained by the electronics maker.
New 2.5-inch Samsung HDDs
Three new 2.5-inch SATA drives have been announced by Samsung. The most notable of these may be the SpinPoint MP1, which holds an ample 200GB, and is rated at 7,200rpm. While these facts are not individually significant, most hard drives of the size sacrifice either speed or capacity to maintain the other statistic. And while the MP1 is intended for workstations, RAID servers and blade servers, it is speculated that it may end up in laptops, notably high-performance models like Apple's MacBook Pro. The drive should begin production in May.
The other two drives are also laptop compatible, but fall under Samsung's SpinPoint M5 series. A 160GB model starts production later this month, while a dual-disc 250GB drive is under development. These are specifically aimed at laptop computers, but are unfortunately rated at 5,400rpm, and use a 1.5Gbps interface instead of the MP1's 3Gbps.
Imation 8GB Flash Drives
Imation on Wednesday doubled the capacity of its USB flash drives, packing 8GB of memory into its Clip, Pivot (pictured), Swivel, and Swivel Pro models. The extra storage allows as many as 2,400 songs or 16,000 photos to be stored on a single drive -- even the extremely small Clip model, Imation says.
The first to receive the added space will be the Swivel Pro, which Imation expects will ship later in April for $200. A version of the standard Swivel with the 8GB option will be available in May for the same price. Launch details for the Clip and Pivot updates will be revealed later in the year.
In-desk iPod dock, USB hub
Belkin has unveiled new in-desk USB hubs and iPod dock (site not updated) that fit into the grommet holes of most desks, keeping the work area clean and clutter free. The company's Front-Access in-Desk USB Hub features four angled ports with a mounting ring that secures the hub, which fits into 2- or 3-inch holes in desks to provide quick and easy USB connectivity. The In-Desk Dock for iPod charges and syncs an iPod as it plays, and includes a stereo-out jack that supports listening through a stereo, powered speaker, or headphones. The iPod dock also fits into 3-inch holes in desks for easy access. Both the In-Desk USB Hub and In-Desk Dock for iPod are priced at $40 each. The iPod dock works with all dockable iPod models including both generations of iPod nano and video-enabled iPods, as well as iPod mini and fourth-generation iPods.
Apple iPod Lobbying
Last week's controversial Michigan iPod proposal may have been in part been influenced by Apple's lobbying money, according to the Detroit Free Press. The paper reports that Democrat state house speaker Andy Dillon and fellow party member Matt Gillard made a trip to California at least partially funded by Apple, which included a trip to the company's Cupertino offices for an iPod and Mac technology demonstration for education. While the details of the talk between Apple and state Democrats remain unknown, the visit reportedly inspired Dillon and Gillard to back a $36 mllion deal that would have iPods and similar devices supplied to every Michigan student to help store class lectures.
Skype for Mac 2.6 beta
Skype on Wednesday released Skype for Mac 2.6 Beta, a new version of the internet telephony application that features better quality and stability as well as a new Mac-only call transfer feature and better feature parity with its Windows counterpart. The company said that the Mac version now boasts virtually all of the features offered on the Windows platform, including the ability to join public chats, a typing indicator, the ability to call any Skype Prime premium services provider and pay with Skype credit, an integrated software update function, and the availability of DTMF tones for automatic answering services during Skype-to-Skype calls. Skype requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and is a free download.
RadTech Bluetooth headset
RadTech today began shipping its BT400GL in-ear Bluetooth headset with noise-suppressing DSP technology. The headset weighs 8.5 grams and measures 39mm long, delivering 350 hours of standby and more than 15 hours of talking time. The compact in-ear design injects sound into the ear canal while blocking extraneous noise, and three sizes of ear tips feature new Nano anti-bacterial rubber. A companion power cradle -- which is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse and is wearable about the neck via a lanyard -- stores the headset when off the ear, and features a silent vibrating alert. The BT400GL works with any phone or device supporting the Bluetooth audio, headset, or handsfree profiles (versions 1.1 and 1.2) and ships in silver or pink for $65.
Opera 9.2 adds 'SpeedDial'
Opera today introduced Speed Dial, a new way to view favorite sites from within its free, alternative browser. Speed Dial allows users to transform their top nine sites into visual favorites that are immediately available in any new tab. Available as part of the Opera 9.2, the feature offers visual thumbnails for each the designated favorites. The fast and efficient Opera browser, also available for mobile devices, offers a number of user features, including an integrated BitTorrent client, fraud protection, content blocking, desktop widgets, rich text editing, thumbnail previews, and other common features such as a download manager, tabbed-browsing, keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures, password management, etc.
MGM now playing on iTunes
MGM Studios and Apple today announced that MGM is now offering titles from its catalog of feature films for purchase and download on the iTunes Store. Beginning today, iTunes customers will be able to purchase films such as "Dances With Wolves," "Mad Max," "The Great Train Robbery" and "Rocky," with other titles to be added in the coming weeks. MGM claims to have the largest modern film library in the world and has received 208 Academy Awards in its history, making it one of the biggest award winning collections of films in the world, according to the release. Apple also said that more than 2 million movies have been downloaded from Apple's iTunes store and that more than 500 movies are now available via iTunes.
Mio C220 GPS Unit
Mio this morning officially released the C220, one of the least expensive GPS mapping device in the company's history and built specifically for first-time users and other basic users. The simple design shares many of the features as costlier models with a 3.5-inch touchscreen, voice guidance in any one of three languages (English, French, or Spanish), and a relatively large 3.5 million points of interest; it only avoids relative luxuries such as Bluetooth or media playback, according to Mio's designs. The C220 is meant to be genuinely portable and lasts for roughly 4.5 hours on battery.
The resulting device is available today at a reasonable price, the company says: it ships today for $250, preloaded with a 1GB SD card holding driving maps for the continental US.
Zune Sequel Rumors
Core details about the next generation of the Zune have been leaked, according to a blogger who claims to have spoken with a member of the Microsoft Zune team. The source has allegedly revealed that the company is already finishing the design stage of a smaller Zune based on flash memory whose size and features would be consciously aimed at defeating today's the iPod nano. The device would be just three inches tall and a quarter-inch thick with a screen that covers nearly 75 percent of the front face. It should also hold more flash memory than today's 8GB flash players, with beating Apple and other rivals in terms of storage as an explicit goal.
"You have to beat the competition, you know," the Microsoft employee said.
LED-based 24-inch LCDs
Samsung today announced that will begin shipping new LED-based 24-inch LCD panels for computer monitors. The company promises the new LCDs will deliver advanced color quality--similar to that of currently shipping high-quality TV sets. The LED-backlit monitor panel has an industry-high color saturation level of 111% (of NTSC standard) compared to a saturation level of only 72% of NTSC for conventional monitors and will deliver full WUXGA HD-resolution (1,920x1,200 pixels) as well as feature Samsung's S-PVA (Super Patterned-ITO Vertical Alignment) technology that provides the widest viewing angle possible -- 180 degrees along with an industry-leading contrast ratio of more than 1,000:1.
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