[digg this] The much adored Mac and iPod maker is certainly the darling of the media and there are not many who can draw a crowd like its boss, Steve Jobs, but the Apple CEO's growing influence may extend to even PC-centric publications. A new report indicates that PC World Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken quit this week because of differences over an upcoming editorial piece on Apple's Steve Jobs. Wired reports that McCracken quit abruptly today because the company's new CEO, Colin Crawford, tried to kill a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple." Although it still was in draft form when Crawford killed it, the new exec, who has a close relationship to Steve Jobs, was unwilling to bend.
Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was the top paid CEO last year with nearly $647 million in total compensation--nearly double of the next highest paid exec--despite a meager salary of only $1. The publication notes that chief executives of America's 500 biggest companies got a collective 38 percent pay raise last year, to $7.5 billion -- or an average of $15.2 million.
In brief: Another Apple senior vice president today sold his shares of Apple stock, My Dream App has put out a call for developers for "Season 2" of its contest, Creative Manager Pro has released version 8.4.2 of its self-titled ad agency/project management software, and MacThemes has relaunched as MacThemes 2.0. Senior vice president Anthony Fadell on Monday exercised 10,000 shares of Apple stock for $15.48 each and sold them the same day for $100.05. The sale was conducted under a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan which allows a company employee to set up a program in advance for such transactions and proceed with them even if the employee comes into possession of material nonpublic information, according to the Associated Press.
A groundbreaking decision by the Denmark Consumer Complaints Board could have crucial consequences for Apple and thousands of Apple laptop users on a global level. The board says it has evidence of a hidden original design defect in Apple's iBook G4 systems which the Cupertino-based company repeatedly denied. Thousands of users all over the world have tried to get Apple to acknowledge the fault and agree to take back the computers, according to the board, but all have failed. The Consumer Complaints Board now claims to have documentation proving the existence of a design fault, and decided in April that Danish consumers must be able to return computers with this fault to Apple.
Ambrosia Software has released DEFCON v1.4.2, originally developed by Introversion. Loosely based on the 1983 film "WarGames," players of the game assume control of one of six continents, as a war escalates through the five namesake alert levels. Once DEFCON 1 is reached, nuclear weapons are unleashed, and the winner is the player that inflicts the most casualties, or suffers the fewest. Users can play offline against the AI or online against both Mac and PC users. The v1.4.2 update fixes sound-related crashes, as well as performance problems associated with naval fleets. The game runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and costs $25 for the full version; a trial download limits players to a single game mode, played against a single human or AI opponent.
TRI-EDRE has released the third edition of Clone X, its disk copying and restoration utility. Owners can make local copies of the Mac OS, complete with updates, or copy over the contents of an entire hard drive, which can be returned to their source at a later date. On a less dramatic level, the program allows the creation of bootable Mac OS X DVDs with custom-picked applications, or simple system discs that can be used for tests or clean installations. Despite the change in version number, TRI-EDRE says that no content has actually been modified. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $50 for the complete package. A trial version is a 7.5MB download.
Trillium Asset Management, the investment group which announced last week that it would urge Apple to go green at its annual shareholder's meeting, today withdrew its resolution and applauded the Cupertino-based company's environmental efforts revealed yesterday in an open letter written by CEO Steve Jobs. "With Appleís new commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRís in all products in 2008, the company has taken its rightful place in the environmental leadersí circle," said Shelley Alpern, vice president of Trillium Asset Management. "With Apple's announced plan to eliminate BFR's and PVC in 2008 they have addressed the most specific issue raised by our resolution. Now, we're looking forward to seeing Apple move from aspiration to implementation, as its new, less toxic products enter the marketplace over the next year."
WiebeTech has begun shipping its RT5 eSATA RAID device that allows any five PATA (IDE) drives to create a single volume as large as 3.75TB. The RT5 eSATA features a built-in RAID controller that supports RAID levels 0, 0+1, 3, 5 (including hot spare options) and an eSATA connection that eliminates volume size limitations. Users can load bays with five IDE drives up to 750GB each for a single logical volume of up to 3.75TB. The storage solution offers many of the same features available on WiebeTech's RT5 series, such as a password protected button-driven menu on the front. A built-in alarm lets users know immediately when a drive fails, and the enclosure boasts sturdy aluminum and steel construction. The RT5 eSATA is priced from $1,700 for the base unit without drives, up to $4,150 for 3.75TB of storage.
A major change to the PlayStation 3 could come before the system is replaced, claims an anonymous contact within Sony. While the game console's Cell CPU and other core components remain intact, much of the device will change to fit the device into a home theater system. Its Blu-Ray drive's loading mechanism and output layout will change to integrate the PS3 with other components of a home theater; the adaptation could even include a change that puts the console at the heart of a home automation system, another Sony contact said. Regardless of exact hardware, the software is said to be changing to support output besides a TV alone.
Meetro 0.66 (free) combines instant messaging with social networking, allowing people to chat with Meetro users in their home town, while displaying profile information such as blog posts and Flickr favorites. Third-party IM clients such as AIM, ICQ and MSN can be integrated. The new release makes the program a Universal Binary, and includes previous "soft" updates such as interest highlighting and a dashboard displaying local information like weather and restaurants. Mac users have the option of two Meetro widgets. [Download - Size Unknown] Shoo Apps 1.0 ($15) is meant for Mac owners annoyed by overly cluttered desktops. Users set time delays within the application, and Shoo will automatically begin hiding programs as they fall out of use. Delays can be applied to all programs at the same time, or individually to keep them convenient. Shoo Apps is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X; the trial download lasts seven days. [Download - 4.2MB] Tidy Up! 1.2.6 ($30) is used to find and delete duplicate files on a computer, restoring disk space. Possible search criteria includes information like the duration and bitrate of music files, and the program can synchronize deletions with Mail, iTunes and iPhoto. Version 1.2.6 allows found items to be given Finder labels, and fixes several bugs, such as interruption of the "Move to Trash" command when an error occurs. Tidy Up! is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - 8.4MB] MegaSeg 4.0.2 ($250) merges mixing and radio automation software into a single package. Users can trigger sound effects via hotkey, segue or beatmatch both songs and videos, and create dynamic or fully programmed playlists. The v4.0.2 update inserts over 40 changes, such as compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.9, and proper DAC-3 support for PowerPC Macs. Some other notable adjustments include faster sorting and more options for importing from iTunes. [Download - 13.2MB] Montage 1.2.2 ($140) is a scriptwriting application developed exclusively for Mac OS X. Once a script is finished, it can be sent along with queries and/or synopses to numerous industry contacts, and tracked accordingly. The v1.2.2 update is devoted mostly to bug fixes, such as a problem that prevented Annotations from working, and another issue that prevented styles from applying in the Scenes and Script views. Montage is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9. [Download - Size Unknown] Avernum 4 1.1.1 ($25) is a fantasy role-playing game with hundreds of quests and many unique skills and spells. Players attempt discover the reasons for a sudden beastial invasion of the nation of Avernum, located deep underground. This upgrade mainly fixes a variety of bugs, but also makes more even use of system resources. The game functions with both PowerPC and Intel Macs. [Download - 20.1MB]
AT&T is in the last stages of preparing demo booths for the iPhone that could dwarf many others, says a well-placed source. The store displays will be far larger than most at three feet wide and a full seven feet tall, guaranteeing that the Apple device will stand out versus many of the smaller and non-exclusive showfloor models. Each booth will also have exceptional power requirements, with a separate power supply instead of drawing on collective power adapters. The change is so great that stores will actually need to partially rewire their stores to accommodate the change, the tipster said.
Not to be left out of the growing number of notebook leaks, ASUS today had several of its portables revealed in advance of Intel's Santa Rosa platform announcement. The first systems to ship from the worldwide PC maker will cover the basic spectrum ranging from near-ultraportables to desktop class systems. At the start is the 13.3-inch W7S, which serves as the reference for performance in the company's lineup: though starting with a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo using an 800MHz bus, the small widescreen PC will also have the yet unannounced 128MB GeForce Go 8400 for relatively fast video and 160GB for storage. It will be upgradable to as much as a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM.
RhinoSkin today unveiled its new Universal Aluminum HardCase (site not updated), a protective carrying case that fits most laptops and notebooks including Apple's latest models. The Universal Aluminum HardCase boasts rugged construction and convenience, featuring a set of patent-pending mechanisms to prevent any movement of the computer when the case is opened or closed. The mechanisms slide and lock to provide a tight, custom fit to the notebook, and permit airflow to prevent overheating during usage inside the case via ample ventilation. Users choose between opening the cover and locking the screen in place or folding the top of the case over to transform it into a laptop stand that angles the keyboard for comfortable typing. Retractable handles slide in and out for carrying the laptop in briefcase style, and a shoulder strap with an accessory pack enables owners to sling the case over the shoulder while stowing the power supply (pricing was unavailable).
US-based NuVision on Thursday sent out two new versions of its Deep Black LCD TV for those wanting full HD in a dedicated home theater. The company's 42-inch 42LCM1 and 47-inch 47LCM1 share the 1080p native resolution of many sets but are designed for higher-end home theater crowds. Each is unusually bright at 500cd/m2 for the 42-inch model and 600cd/m2 for the larger version. The figures keep each TV visible even in very bright rooms, says the TV designer. Also common to both and geared to the serious home theater audience is an in-house NiCO image processing engine for the namesake deeper blacks and an RS-232 port for linking the sets to a home automation system. Connection options include HDMI, component, S-video, and RCA hookups.
In brief: Apple's senior vice president Bertrand Serlet today sold 10,625 shares of the company's common stock under a prearranged trading plan at $101.58 each, XtremeMac has begun shipping its HDMI switch, Native Instruments has begun shipping TRAKTOR Scratch, and AssistiveWare has introduced the "Give Your Mac a Voice Promotion" with discounts between 25-34 percent. Apple senior vice president Bertrand Serlet filed a Form 4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 10,625 shares of common Apple stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to the Associated Press, grossing the executive more than 1 million at $101.58 per share. The stock sale, which was conducted under a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan, comes after Apple's record March quarter which sent shares soaring past $100.
Telestream has released an update to its Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime. As its name implies, the basic software allows users to play Windows Media files through QuickTime; paid upgrades, like WMV Player Pro, add functions such as import, export and editing. Version 2.1.1 enables playback of the Windows Media 9 Advanced Profile, also known as VC-1, as well as improved MPEG-4 support and two-pass VBR (variable bitrate) encoding. The software also better handles installation through Apple Remote Desktop, and has the option of reclaiming file types taken by other applications. The Components are free and require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later -- upgrade prices and information can be found at the Flip4Mac website.
Acer will herald the launch of new processors from AMD and Intel with a completely new notebook design, the company revealed this week through a teaser page this week. Dubbed the Gemstone, the core design was developed with help from automaker BMW and replaces the old Aspire models. The shape, hinted at in the teaser, is intentionally curvy like sports cars and is dominated by the black shell that inspires its name. Although meant to suggest premium PCs, the shell means buyers "won't see a difference in price," according to Acer CEO J. T. Wang,
In contrast to reports from the likes of the Associated Press, the OLPC XO laptop may never have Windows preloaded, according to Software and Content president Walter Bender. Ars Technica is told there is currently no agreement for a Windows version of the computer, even one with Microsoft's $3 version of XP. The confusion may be attributable to Microsoft's participation in the OLPC developer program, which should see applications developed for the XO, but not necessarily an operating system.
Samsung has announced a successor to its F300 Ultra Music phone, known in the United States as the UpStage. The F308 is almost closer to a companion, as the key difference is a switch from CDMA to GSM, which is more broadly supported. The camera has also been upgraded from 1.3 megapixels to two, though, and other highlights include an FM radio, Bluetooth, and 100MB of internal memory. The phone of course retains the F300's primary feature, which is separate dialing and music controls on opposite sides, complete with their own displays. No pricing or distribution information is currently available. [via Mobile Whack]
A Sun Microsystems developer has revealed via a blog post that Sun will help port Open Office to Mac OS X. "I'm excited to let you all know that as of now Sun engineering will add its support to the ongoing Mac/Aqua porting effort," wrote Sun developer Philipp Lohmann. "You can imagine my excitement when I first heard about renewed efforts to make an Aqua port reality. And now finally I can spend my paid time to add to this great effort." Lohmann notes that there was a plan to offer a native version of Open Office for Mac practically from the start, but adds that the community decided to produce an X11 port as a first step. The blogger says Sun is joining the Mac porting project because Apple has a significant market share in the desktop space, and the company's notebooks are appearing more and more at various locations such as conferences and airport lounges.
Dell is readying two new notebooks based on AMD's new 65nm Turion 64 X2 processors, according to European suppliers. The 14- or 15.4-inch D531 and the exclusively 14-inch D631 will compare closely to the Intel-based D630 but use the lower-cost AMD chip to provide dual-core speed. The swap also provides the side benefit of the yet to be announced Radeon X1270: the new chip brings AMD-based systems up to par with the relatively fast integrated graphics of the Intel-oriented X1250.
Auto-des-sys this week debuted form.Z 6.5 RenderZone Plus at the AIA National Convention and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas. The company says the latest release is a "new product that represents a major evolutionary step toward Global Illumination, which is now supported by different techniques, including Final Gather, Ambient Occlusion, and improved Radiosity," according to Architosh News. Form.Z RenderZone Plus was releaswe for beta testing in late March, offering the then new techniques via a simple set of interfaces enabling users to configure higher quality renders. The software features exposure correction, a post rendering process enhanced with shaders, an interactive OpenGL shader that can generate a variety of color gradients in a surface, and a re-engineered OpenGL renderer.
Not be confused with the KE970, LG's new KU970 is expected to ship soon to Singapore and Australia, with Europe and other Asian countries to follow. The phone is a 3G slider equipped with HSDPA, enabling downloads as fast as 3.6Mbps. On the front is a VGA camera for video calls, and on the back is a two-megapixel still counterpart. It continues to have a mirrored 2.2-inch screen, and it will of course support Bluetooth and MP3 playback. Arrival in North America is likely far into the future, as LG has yet to introduce earlier Shines to the continent. Click through for a larger, more detailed photo. [via I4U News]
Completing its series of phone announcements for the developing world, Nokia on Thursday morning wrapped up with some of its lowest-cost phones ever. The 1200 and 1208 alike serve villages and other areas where even owning a cellphone by itself is difficult. Either phone shares the call timer from the 1650 for cost-sensitive owners as well as small phone carriers that may want to parcel out very basic phone plans. The two also have a multi-user phonebook that keeps separate contacts for up to five people; this lets whole families share a phone without mixing each other's phone lists, Nokia says.
Apple's recent decision to split its ProCare program into two different services effectively doubled the cost of the company's prior offering in the U.S. as well as Canada and the U.K., but Italy an Japan still offer the original ProCare service (Italian) for the same price. Apple on May 2nd and May 3rd overhauled its retail services by removing training and adding a separate One to One training program as well as a new free Personal Shopping service for $99, effectively doubling the cost of the company's old ProCare membership. This change has yet to occur in Italy and Japan, however, as those countries still enjoy the full ProCare service for $99 per year with free training, according to Setteb.it.
Koobox, one of the few vendors specializing in home Linux systems, has just introduced its latest configurations. Designed to be strictly functional, the new Essential system is only equipped with a Celeron D 356 processor, with 256MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. The stock optical drive is just a CD-RW model, and if users don't already have a spare display, they'll have to buy a CRT or LCD of their own. It does however come with an optical mouse and 2W stereo speakers, as well as the OpenOffice productivity suite. The stripped-down Essential system costs $300; for $339, users get a DVD-RW drive, plus SurfSafe and VirusSafe for website blocking and anti-virus protection.
Ubermind has released its ApertureToGallery export plug-in, allowing Aperture users to export images directly from an Aperture library to a Gallery, a Web-based photo organizer. The plug-in offers a straight-forward user interface with stored settings for various gallery connections, an album browser for choosing the export destination, and new album creation functionality using captions as Gallery Image titles. ApertureToGallery is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
AMD today delivered a much-needed upgrade to its mobile Turion 64 X2 chips with the advent of new models built on a 65 nanometer process. The smaller CPU die lets the processors run cooler, consume less power, and also improve performance; the semiconductor firm hasn't released benchmarks but should be closer to Intel's Core architecture. Also integral to the new chips is the M690 platform, AMD says. The mainboard chipset allows the updated Turion 64 X2 to enter a low-power mode named display cache that avoids accessing system memory, raising battery life to a full five hours. Systems using integrated graphics also get a boost with Radeon X1200 video built-in that can outperform Intel's current GMA 950 in games and Windows Vista's Aero Glass interface.
Continuing its launches for regions newer to cellphones, Nokia on Thursday unveiled three models for the more style-conscious. The 2505 (shown) is one of Nokia's rare CDMA models and is geared towards users in developing areas who care about a sense of style but need more essentialist features. The flip-phone's outer shell includes a quick flashlight for those regions where power isn't a certainty; it also has an FM radio for music instead of less prevalent digital music. Its etched keypad and completely smooth backing are alternately designed to make the phone easier to use and sleeker than normally crude entry phones, Nokia says. The 2505 should be ready for most of the world later in the spring with prices varying from country to country.
T-Mobile is claiming it will be the first in the United States to offer the Vista-influenced Windows Mobile 6 to its customers. Beginning on May 4th, owners of the carrier's Dash phone will be able to download the upgrade to their desktop, and in turn install it on top of Windows Mobile 5.0. The primary benefits will be Windows Live search and chat functionality, and better e-mail display, with all the graphics and HTML formatting allowed by a PC. All Dashes will be preloaded with Mobile 6 beginning in June.
Apple's latest patent application surfaced today describing multiple Dashboard interfaces with customizable settings for individual users that depicts 2D as well as 3D interfaces for swapping between those Dashboards. The patent, titled "Multiple Dashboards," details an interactive Dashboard cube that users can flip or turn to reveal several different collections of widgets, which will likely find its way into Mac OS X Leopard. Apple goes on to say that other geometric objects are usable to display Dashboards such as cylinders, spheres, triangles, diamonds, and more. Users can create separate Dashboards that include sets of widgets related to specific purposes, such as work and personal matters. The new technology supports customizable key combinations or menu selections to switch between Dashboards, and state information is saved for each collection of widgets to restore that Dashboard to its previous respective configuration.
Research in Motion today rolled out its first full-size, media-savvy phone in the form of the BlackBerry Curve. Also known as the 8300, the Curve picks up the same features as the Pearl but adds the full keyboard of the 8800. A 2-megapixel camera as well as an enhanced media jukebox and photo editing tool come preloaded on the smartphone. A full 3.5mm headphone jack lets headphones plug in without an adapter and tune into as much as 2GB of music on a microSD card.
Alltel is today boasting of having one of the thinnest phones available in the US: the Samsung Wafer, also known as the R510, has arrived and brings the style of the T-Mobile Trace to Alltel's CDMA network. Weighing only 2.7 ounces, the slim candybar phone still holds a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and a microSD slot for media storage. In Alltel form, it also brings the provider's widget-like Celltop layer for checking news, weather, and other data over EVDO broadband. The Wafer sells for as little as $50 when paired with a $50 rebate and a two-year service plan; it can also be had outside of a contract for $240.
Creative today made clear its ambitions by introducing the Zen Stone, its first completely screenless music player and the first aimed at beating the second-generation iPod shuffle. Claiming to be even simpler than the Apple device, the Stone is loaded through drag-and-drop file transfers. It's also more intelligent, Creative says: the device can recognize folders and will let the owner skip between them to limit in-order or random play to a particular album or playlist. Music is supported in MP3, WMA, and WAV as well as Audible audiobooks.
Nokia this morning used a press event in New Delhi to roll out its new series entry phones, promising to deliver genuinely useful extras to countries that often go without. Two of the phones highlighting the launch are the 2760 (pictured) and 2630. Both include Bluetooth, a VGA camera, and an FM radio for music; the 2760's larger clamshell design also makes it possible to record video, a rarity in any phone of its class. The 2630 further stands out among handsets, says the company: the device is the thinnest ever Nokia phone, measuring just 0.39 inches deep and appealing to those looking for a truly sleek phone despite a lower budget.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl