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The music labels will ask Apple to add a subscription model to its industry-leading iTunes Store as part of their negotiations to renew their music licensing agreements with the Cupertino-based company. According to the Financial Times, the discussions will begin next week when Universal Music, the largest of the "Big Four" music labels, begins its licensing negotiations with Apple. The other major labels, Sony-BMG, Warner Music and EMI, have either already begun talks with Apple or will in the near future, according to the report. The negotiations come on the heels of a revolutionary DRM-free music agreement by EMI and while Apple is in a unique and powerful position in the industry: iTunes, which accounts for 75 percent of the digital music, has sold over 2.5 billion songs.
Correo 0.2 (free) is an open-source e-mail client based on Mozilla's Camino and Thunderbird software, but with code specifically written for Mac OS X. The v0.2 preview now allows file attachments, and is integrated directly with Address Book. Passwords are also stored in the Mac OS X keychain, and the browser can be set open messages in a separate window. [Download - 20.2MB] The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 3.0.2 ($40) allows Mac owners to sync programs such as iCal, Address Book and iTunes with devices running Windows Mobile. Version 3.0.2 simplifies the app's use, no longer requiring a device to be set to "flight" mode before connecting. Supported phones have been expanded to include the Orange M3100 and the HP RX 19xx series. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later, as well as iPhoto 5 and iTunes 6 for using the respective plug-ins. [Download - Size Unknown] DMG Master 1.0 ($15) creates DMG image archives using a "document-based" approach, specifying source files and destination with a drag-and-drop approach. Source files can be located anywhere on a hard drive. Another unusual feature is the ability to the store archive passwords in the documents themselves, making them easier to recall later. DMG Master is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 204KB] iTunes Dupes Barrier 1.1.9 ($10) searches for duplicate songs within both iPod and iTunes databases. The update adds compatibility with iTunes 7.1.x, and fixes several bugs, including a crash that could occur while searching an iPod. The app is a Universal Binary, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, along with iTunes 4.0. [Download - 2.1MB] Atomic Mac 6.7.0 ($25) is a database containing both the periodic table and a general collection of information on the elements, such as melting points and abundance in the Earth's atmosphere or soil. The v6.7.0 upgrade enhances the user interface with ability to adjust the size of the periodic table window. Two versions are available: a Universal Binary for Mac OS X, and a PowerPC equivalent that runs on Mac OS 8 or 9. [Download - 3MB] WebcamTweaker 1.2.4 ($16) records photos and videos with a webcam, applying special effects with the option to send files directly to e-mail, iTunes or a user's iChat Buddy picture. Created movies are iPod-compatible. Version 1.2.4 improves support for USB webcams, and introduces four new effects, called Hole, Edgefier, ColorEdge and FalseColor. Mac OS X 10.4 is required. [Download - 1.8MB]
In brief: AlienSkin Software has released the Eye Candy Effects Collection, Motionbox today announced a new personal video download service designed for the Apple TV, one Mac fan has posted a photo of his newly created 'Macpack,' and Ricoh has introduced its Aficio SP 4100N and SP 4110N printers designed for small offices or workgroups. AlienSkin Software's Eye Candy Effects Collection includes retail versions of Eye Candy 5: Textures, Nature, Impact, Xenofex 2, and Snap Art. Users can create chrome, fire, smoke, lightning, clouds, comics, and dozens of other effects with 54 filters and more than 1,000 one-click settings.
MakeMusic today released SmartMusic 10.0, a major update to its music learning software. The company also released SmartMusic Impact, a Web-based student grading and records management system designed to save educators time by computerizing the posting, grading, submitting, and managing of student assignments while automatically assessing grades. SmartMusic 10.0 includes more than 200 large ensemble titles with on-screen notation for band, jazz band, and orchestra with professional audio recordings for students to practice. The update includes Standard of Excellence, Book 2, as well as Time Pieces for Flute, Volumes 2 & 3. Baroque titles for all instruments also come bundled with the application. SmartMusic 10.0 is priced at $100 per year for the first computer and $25 per year for each additional seat.
AT&T today added the Nokia 2610 to its stable of candybar phones. Features are simple but relatively advanced compared to most budget phones, the American provider notes: Nokia's Xpress messaging lets subscribers trade voice clips in place of SMS text messages, and the device is still Internet-savvy with basic web browsing, e-mail, and instant messaging. Enough memory is onboard for MP3 ringtones. The carrier sells the 2610 immediately for $20 as part of a two-year plan. Those who prefer the device without the commitment can also buy it from AT&T for $170. [via Crave]
Xenonics has recently begun shipping the SuperVision, touted as one of the most powerful night-vision scopes in the world. It is in fact said to be superior to military-grade (Gen 3) scopes, with higher clarity, better resolution and further range. It also has 2 to 8x zoom, which with many other scopes may require a magnifier add-on to achieve similar performance. The SuperVision does have two drawbacks though, the foremost of which is the fact that it is handheld, unable to be mounted to a helmet or gun. And despite having superior resolution, its CCD sensor still only records 380,000 pixels. One SuperVision costs $1,399.
Apple today confirmed that the much-anticipated iPhone is on-track to ship in "late June," but said that the development of the consumer device has delayed Mac OS X Leopard until October because the company has devoted more of its resources toward iPhone development. Conceding that it will be unable to meet its original "Spring" timeframe, the Cupertino-based company today released a statement saying that its consumer-oriented mobile phone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in "late June", but that the company would not be able to ship its next-generation operating system by June as originally planned.
Code hackers have broken Windows activation for copies of Vista that came with major system builders' PCs, Microsoft's senior product manager Alex Kochis wrote today on a company blog. Two new techniques have surfaced which successfully convince original equipment manufacturer (OEM) copies of Vista that they run on their intended PCs, letting pirates run bootleg versions without ever having to activate their copies online or by phone.
Apple's new 8-core Mac Pro may be throttled by its memory technology and its older operating system, according to new benchmarks run on the cutting-edge system. Even though the eight total Xeon cores offer a literal doubling of theoretical CPU performance in testing, testing of memory-intensive programs such as Aperture and Photoshop CS3 -- both of which routinely store gigabytes of images in memory -- reveals almost negligible differences between 8-core and 4-core 3GHz systems.
TV network CBS today revealed the CBS Interactive Audience Network, a new initiative to bring as much of its TV programming online as possible. The company has struck deals with several key Internet distributors to make much of its content available on a non-exclusive basis and says it will split ad revenues (when applicable) between itself and the companies hosting its clips. Every clip posted online will be available directly to US viewers, CBS says, though only shorter segments as well as full-length sports events will be available to an international audience.
Each student in a Kansas City high school may soon receive a Mac laptop supplied by the city's education board, according to the Kansas City Star. In a plan laid out by school administrators, the board would lease 6,000 Macs, which would be assigned to students annually. To guarantee maximum use of the computers however, the board would also invest in support costs, including upgrades to wireless Internet access. The tentative scheme -- which has not been approved -- would cost $2 million annually, and begin in November of this year, targeting grades nine through 12. The board is also considering charging students a $50 insurance premium plus any necessary repair costs. Nothing will be decided until at least May 8th.
Apple's retail store in Orlando, Florida dubbed 'Millenia' is closed through April 20th in preparation for its brand new opening, which will take place on April 21st at 10:00 a.m.... Apple's Concierge Genius Bar reservation system is now allowing guests to schedule appointments for the current day as well as the next two days; Previously only paid ProCare customers could book future-day appointments.... Apple is rumored to be drawing potential retail concepts with design consultancy Fitch, exploring potential ways to develop ideas and concepts for Apple's store format.... San Francisco's third future Apple Store is working its way through the permit process, according to ifoASppleStore; City permit records show that Apple will spend more than $3.4 million to acquire the building at 2125 Chestnut Street, and will renovate the interior to install a distinctive Apple Store that could open before 2008.
iRiver today brought its minimalist Clix 2 media player to the US as a new entrant in the hotly contested flash media player field. Previewed at CES, the device keeps its size small by embedding directional buttons around the edges of the 2.2-inch screen. The player is more flexible than the rival iPod nano through support for MPEG-4 videos as well as Flash Lite-based games, FM radio and voice recording. It also becomes one of the first US-bound devices to ship with an AMOLED organic display: the screen both improves brightness, iRiver says, and maintains a strong 24 hours of battery life despite being larger than the 1.5-inch screen of its challenger from Apple.
Employees and other owners of the Nokia N95 may soon have reason to be suspicious of their handsets. Even though the phone has just been released in the United States, British company Spycatcher is now selling a spyphone version, cosmetically identical to the normal product. The difference in the spyphone is that all conversations are broadcast not only to the intended recipient, but the real buyer, allowing them to listen in from anywhere on Earth. This includes text messages as well, and users cannot throw people off by switching SIM cards. Phone location can be pinpointed to the nearest cell site. Access to this technology is somewhat restricted, however: the fake N95 costs £2,703 ($5,540) with VAT, and may not be legal outside of the European Union.
Samsung helped usher in its first fourth-generation (4G) wireless devices on Thursday with the shipment of four new devices in its homeland. Highlighted in the news are the phones: the P9000 (pictured in back) at last brings the company's hybrid computer and phone to shops with a unique fold-out keyboard that uses WiMAX and earlier EVDO to connect to the Internet anywhere using Windows XP, complete with a front camera for video chats. The M8100 (not shown) takes the same connections and camera functions into a smaller slider phone design.
CineForm today announced a new product family called NEO that supports high-resolution HD and 2K media source acquisition and online editing for both Windows and Macintosh platforms. NEO uses the Visually Perfect CineForm Intermediate format to enable an online compressed Digital Intermediate workflow. The NEO family includes NEO HDV, NEO HD, and NEO 2K -- each of which address specific feature and pricing needs within the high-resolution post-production market. CineForm is also announcing that new versions of its existing products -- Aspect HD v5, Prospect HD v3, and Prospect 2K v3 -- will all gain new features, including expanded support for HD-SDI acquisition and expanded support for cross-platform QuickTime features. CineForm also announced new lower pricing for its Prospect HD and Prospect 2K family of products.
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today unveiled its newest line of VideoShells for Apple's fifth-generation iPod. The special edition DLO VideoShells come in six colors, and feature a durable polycarbonate back with a colorful brushed-aluminum snap-on faceplate to showcase the portable player. The form-fitting cases offer protection against everyday wear and tear, according to DLO, and are available for $25. Case colors include red, blue, green, silver, pink, and violet. Additionally, Best Buy and dlo.com are both offering a special two-faceplate bundle for $30 for a limited time. Bundles are available in red/blue, pink/green, and silver/violet combinations.
Fujitsu today overhauled most of its PC line in its home country, boosting speeds and memory to better handle Windows Vista. All of its mid-range Lifebook systems now come with Core 2 Duo processors and 1GB of RAM. The S3840brings this performance to a 13.3-inch system with a 40GB hard drive and a long 5.5-hour battery life. The 15.4-inch E8240 and H8240 cater respectively to basic and performance users, with the first claiming a 1280x800 resolution, integrated graphics, and a 40GB drive; the second has an HD-ready 1920x1200 display, dedicated NVIDIA graphics, and a larger 60GB drive. The Lifebook E-series update ships first in May with a base price of $1,919 after tax in Japan; the S- and H-series models will sell for $1,857 and $2,948 respectively. Updates should be echoed in North America at lower prices.
A company called Fins-Up has released The Fin, an add-on for Apple laptops that functions as a permanent stand. The product is made of single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum, and raises a laptop just far enough off a desk to create a more comfortable typing angle, simultaneously reducing system heat by allowing air to circulate underneath. The durability of the Fin means it can double as a handle, making it easier to carry a laptop around a home or office. Four models of the Fin are available: the MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 versions retain a natural aluminum color, while the MacBook versions are powder-coated black or white. Each stand costs $30 and must be user-installed with the included screwdriver.
Apple has filed for a patent titled "Techniques for pairing remote controllers with host devices" that mentions using a "mobile phone" to serve as a remote controller for a Mac computer. The patent also covers the Cupertino-based company's own Front Row Remote, and leaves room for other Bluetooth-enabled devices to serve as remote controllers as well. "Still another solution uses Bluetooth compatible handheld devices, such as a mobile phone, to serve as a remote controller for a Macintosh computer," Apple wrote. "This solution requires installation of software on the mobile phone as well as the computer."
Although EBGames' current listing for the pink Zune states it as "back ordered," Zune-Online insists that the release date for the player has been advanced considerably. The official date, as explained by Microsoft's Cesar Menendez, is May; if ZO is to be believed however, the player will begin shipping tomorrow, April 13th. The pink model is one of at least two new colors shipping this year, the other being the red Zune aimed at a general summer release. Both products are believed to be attempts at luring attention away from the Apple iPod, still dominant in the portable music market.
Microsoft intends to phase out the OEM version of Windows XP at the start of 2008, isolating those not ready to upgrade, writes APC Magazine. After January, Microsoft's contracts with computer builders will require the installation of Windows Vista -- which, despite a variety of improvements, has received complaints of hardware and software incompatibility, as well as high system requirements. Many shoppers are thus still asking for Windows XP to be installed, even though the death knell for the OS has already been sounded.
Apple has filed for a continuation patent that details accelerated scrolling via the iPod click wheel, but the description and drawings that make up that filing also point to the inclusion of an iPod scroll wheel in place of a keyboard's numeric keypad. "The keyboard apparatus includes a plurality of keys and a rotational input unit. The rotational input unit allows a user to perform a rotational movement with respect to the rotational input unit," Apple writes. "The rotational movement (rotational user input) can then be processed by the electronic circuitry of the computer system and used to manipulate navigation or selection actions with respect to a graphical user interface being presented to the user on the display device."
LaCie today unveiled the LaCie 526, a 26-inch widescreen LCD in its new 500 Series range of displays. The 526 monitor supports 95 percent AdobeRGB as well as 98.5 percent ISO-coated color spaces, and the screen has a 12-bit Look-Up Table (LUT) alongside 16-bit processing for smooth gradients. The screen comes with an integrated hardware calibration solution for "single click" calibration as well as additional tools to help users fine-tune white point, test and report for verification of profile accuracy, and create a reference profile for switching profiles without the need to recalibrate. The uniformity-enhanced panel includes a backlight stabilizer, and the wide 25.5-inch H-IPS panel offers 1920x1200 resolution for displaying two A4 pages at full size alongside tool palettes. The new LaCie 526 is slated for shipment in the end of April at $2,000.
Envision on Thursday grew its LCD line by three with new computer displays for Macs and PCs. At the front is the G918w1, a 19-inch widescreen display with HDCP support for its DVI input. The added encryption compatibility lets it play certain protected Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies at the full 1440x900 resolution of the LCD while also passing certification for Windows Vista Home Premium's secure movie playback. Envision claims strong performance at the display's size with an 800:1 contrast ratio and a 5ms pixel response time. It ships to stores today for $219.
AlterMedia has begun shipping Studio Suite 8, the latest revision of its management software aimed at companies in the creative industry. Recording studios, game developers, and rental outlets can handle everything from schedules to libraries and invoices with Studio Suite 8, according to AlterMedia, and the software integrates with several other applications such as iCal, Final Cut, and Pro Tools. The eighth edition makes over two dozen improvements, including the ability to attach any external file to a project to keep track of all involved resources. Users can also check a dashboard overview of daily tasks, and monitor the real-world status of a budget as it relates to actual payments and expenses. The interface also boasts a cleaner, more refined appearance. A single Studio Suite license is priced at $750, with additional workstations available for $450 per seat. [corrected]
Primera Technology today announced that it has integrated Qflix-enabled drives into its Bravo-Series Disc Publishers, enabling retail stores to offer professionally-burned and printed video content on DVDs on-demand with integrated CSS copy protection. "Content owners have long been requiring copy protection on replicated discs in order to protect their valuable media assets," Primera stated. "Now, the same type of copy protection as used on replicated discs is available on-demand at retail outlets by using Qflix drives and media in Primera's disc publishers." The company will exhibit its Qflix-enabled disc publishers at NAB 2007 in booth SL 12405.
Sony has officially discontinued the 20GB version of the PlayStation 3 in North America, ending its run only six months after the Blu-Ray console's November 17th launch. The company described the decision as a reflection of demand, which was overwhelmingly in favor of the more feature-rich 60GB version, which sports both a card reader and Wi-Fi. "Initial retail demand in North America was upwards of ninety percent in favor of the 60GB SKU, so we manufactured and shipped-in accordingly," said SCEA's David Karraker. "Based on retailer and consumer feedback, we have decided to focus our current efforts on the more popular 60GB model."
In brief: Apple is encouraging video bloggers to optimize their videos for iTunes, WeaKnees.com is offering upgrade kits for the new Apple TV, Dell's attempt to replicate Apple's success by opening its own chain of retail stores is already experiencing difficulty, and FileMaker Pro is highlighting its "No Child Left Behind" compliance at the 2007 National School Boards Association Conference (NSBA). Apple is offering video bloggers several hints on how to optimize videos for iTunes, and to ensure that videos will play on its iPod as well as its new Apple TV set top box. The Cupertino-based company sent an email to content creators who work with iTunes with several recommendations for producing video content. Apple suggests encoding at 640x480 or 640x360, rather than 320x240, and cautions against adding letterboxing to make videos a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Apple today published a patent that may point to a more full-fledged media center interface from the company. Dubbed a "Multi-media center for computing systems," the design revolves around a module controller element that would mediate between multiple devices and programs, allowing them to control media playback through plug-in software modules while presenting a consistent front-end to the entire experience.
Apple is due to report its March quarter results on April 25th, and is likely to reveal Mac sales toward the lower-end of expectations due to a pause ahead of Mac OS X Leopard's launch alongside anticipation for new 8-core Mac Pros, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. Nevertheless, Wu says iPod sales appear better than expected and that Macs are poised to fly off the shelves after Apple launches Mac OS X Leopard. The analyst is modeling $5.12 billion in revenue, $0.63 in earnings-per-share, 1.4 million Macs, and 10.3 million iPods for the March quarter. American Technology Research maintained its 'buy' rating on Apple shares but raised its price target to $118 from $115 based on a 27x multiple on its calendar year 2008 earnings-per-share of $3.86, as well as $13.44 in net cash.
Vonage CEO Michael Snyder this morning quit this company in an effort to restore confidence in the VoIP provider, which is also planning other job cuts as part of a reorganization effort. No comments were made by the executive explaining his reasons for leaving, though the company said that the departure would be immediate. The resignation comes as the latest blow to the confidence of Vonage, which lost to Verizon in a patent case that threatens to lock the Internet calling service out of the latter's phone networks. The company was also briefly barred from subscribing new users until a temporary stay allowed them to continue.
The mid-range GeForce 8600 GTS video card is reaching stores early, enthusiasts have found. Although not slated for an announcement until April 17th, GeForce 8600 GTS cards made by PNY have been discovered at Best Buy running the predicted 675MHz core and 1GHz actual (2GHz effective) memory. Some shoppers have also found a BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC model overclocked to 710MHz for a slightly higher price, according to reports. The PNY Vepto card pictured currently sells in the Kansas City suburb of Lee's Summit for $250. More vendors and different board models are expected for the official debut next week. Click through for the full shot. [via The Inquirer]
Nisus Software today released Nisus Writer Pro public beta, a test version of the latest member of the Nisus Software family. Nisus Writer Pro is designed as a flexible and simple writing tool with numerous useful features. Building on the core of Nisus Writer Express, Nisus Writer Pro brings new features such as Table of Contents, Cross References, Bookmarks, Text Wrap Around Images, Widow and Orphan Control, and Line Numbering. Classic Nisus Writer users will immediately recognize the addition of attribute sensitive Find and Replace, Glossaries, and an upgraded Nisus Macro Language. The public beta is available for download, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The final release is expected later this spring.
Sony announced at today's Tokyo Big Light expo that it would launch some of the first ever productiton OLED displays this year. Although exhibited before as a concept display, the 11-inch set will be a reality for 2007 and should carry with it all the benefits of the organic display, including an exceptionally thin 3mm (0.11 inches) body, an unparalleled 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a color gamut higher than 100% of the NTSC range. Video input is handled through a single HDMI output as well as co-ax for antennas or cable. The company wasn't yet ready to set a specific launch date or price for the OLED screen, which also goes without a name; however, it promises a release by the end of the year and may ship the ultra-thin TV beyond its Japanese home. [via Impress]
Iomega today announced a new rack-mount addition to its line of network attached storage (NAS) models for small and mid-sized businesses: the new Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 450r Series with print server capability. Featuring advanced performance, capacity, and energy efficiency in a 1U form factor, the new NAS device offers 1TB and 2TB models and is expected to begin shipping next month. The new Iomega NAS 450r series utilizes Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, delivering file and print services as well as standard Windows backup and security applications. It features a hardware-based RAID (supports RAID 0/1/5), four hot-swappable 7200-RPM SATA II drives, and dual-core Intel Xeon processor technology as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet connections, ECC memory, and an Ultra 320 SCSI (VHDC1) connection for high-speed archival backup.
Music fans may soon finally be able to digitally purchase songs from The Beatles. Apple Corps, the company representing the pop band, has settled a $59 million royalty dispute with EMI Group. Heralded as the last hurdle before digital distribution of the Liverpoool's band music, the royalty settlement comes on the heels of a revolutionary DRM-free music distribution agreement by EMI and this week's announcement of the departure of a key Apple Corps executive.
Gateway's basic brand eMachines on Thursday launched a trio of faster basic PCs and more easily accessible LCDs. The computers all share an improved baseline with 120GB hard drives, DVD burners, and faster processors. Starting the line is the entry-level T3612, which steps up from a 3.33GHz Celeron D to 3.46GHz while sporting 512MB of RAM and Vista Home Basic; the T5088 jumps from 3GHz to 3.2GHz with its single-core Pentium 4 and improves storage using a 160GB hard drive and a 15-in-1 card reader. The range-leading T5226 sees a similar CPU increase to a dual-core 3.2GHz Pentium 4 with the 1GB of RAM needed to handle Vista Home Premium and a 250GB hard drive.
Panasonic started the morning with its new Toughbook CF-08 tablet. Intended computer users who almost always need a tablet, the 10.4-inch touchscreen is claimed to be much more resilient than some tablets: the back holds a hand strap to prevent a fall, but the shell itself can withstand drops from up to one meter (3.3 feet). The Japanese firm has also opted for battery life over performance with Windows CE 5 and a 312MHz XScale processor that nets 4.5 hours of use with a screen at full brightness and as much as 14 hours on lower settings. Bluetooth, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi let the CF-08 add a keyboard or stay online away from a desk. Panasonic has declined to give a fixed price, but says it will ship its newest Toughbook to Japanese shelves by May 15th. A US release is possible but unannounced.
Toon Boom Animation this week released Storyboard Pro, another application in its production pipeline for professionals. Toon Boom's Storyboard Pro allows users to take an idea and translate it into a visual story. Developed in conjunction with expert storyboard artists, the company says that Storyboard Pro speeds up production planning and enables artists to achieve advanced production integration. The application offers a paperless system for the traditional storyboard process digitally using a graphics tablet and pen and is designed for films, documentaries, gaming, advertising, and animation projects. It includes advanced features for storyboarding, integrated simultaneous creation, and effective pre-production management. It is available as a Universal Binary for Mac OS X v10.4 (1GB of RAM is recommended). The $900 software is available with an extra $100 discount through April 27th.
Canto Software today released Video Suite 2, which turns Cumulus 7 into the digital asset management system for video producers and editors. Video Suite 2 enables video professionals to catalog video and Flash animations, and add all the metadata they need to track, find and reuse those valuable assets. Video Suite 2 extends the capabilities of any Cumulus 7 digital asset management system by enabling users to catalog video into scene-specific shots, each with its own thumbnail and metadata. It allows users to track transcripts, model releases, credits and other information for each video asset. In addition, Video Suite 2 automatically captures file-specific metadata, such as shot duration, frame rate, codec information, etc.
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 ¬≠Power 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