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Apple today began shipping Final Cut Studio 2 from the online Apple Store, according to shipment confirmations received by readers. Announced last month at NAB, Apple's revved Final Cut Studio 2 update the industry-standard video production suite--which now includes Final Cut Pro 6 with Apple's new ProRes 422 format for uncompressed HD quality at SD file sizes and support for mixed video formats and frame rates in a single Timeline. It also includes Motion 3, which offers an intuitive 3D environment, paint and new behaviors; Soundtrack Pro 2 with tools for multitrack editing, surround mixing and con- forming sound to picture; Compressor 3, which offers batch encoding for multiple formats with a single click; and DVD Studio Pro 4.2 for SD and HD DVD authoring. The suite includes "Color," a professional color grading and finishing application for ensuring consistent color and creating signature looks.
E-on Software has released the free Personal learning editions of Vue 6 Infinite and xStream. Vue 6 Infinite and xStream are applications designed for creating, animating, and rendering natural 3D environments for movie, broadcast, and architecture. The Vue 6 PLE is a fully functional version of Vue 6 Infinite/xStream that enables users to create complete projects, save work as well as export to other applications, and render stills or animations without size/length limitations. Vue 6 Infinite requires Mac OS X (specific system requirements were unavailable), though xStream is currently unavailable on the Mac platform.
IBM today released Eclipse Lotus Sametime 7.5.1, its Mac-compatible video chat software offering point-to-point video integrated with desktop applications on Mac as well as Linux systems. The free download includes Sametime Mobile, which is built on the Eclipse and allows users extend the environment with mobild devices such as RIM or Nokia. The trial period lasts for 90 days, and users can develop plug-ins using the Sametime Software Development Kit (SDK) to enhance or extend Sametime to suit personal needs. IBM Lotus Sametime requires Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later with at least 512MB of memory.
Though not the first carrier as expected, Canada's Rogers Wireless has joined those selling the Product (RED) version of the KRZR K1. Aside from its distinct tint, what distinguishes the phone is that a small portion of the profits go towards the Global Fund, which aims to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis around the world. The (RED) K1 costs as much as its regular counterpart -- $310 CAD unlocked, but less with contracts and rebates, down to a minimum of $150.
Surveys based in Europe and the UK published today suggest that nearly half of Europe's iPod users are likely to consider Apple when making their next mobile phone purchase. "Appleís rating improves dramatically when you talk to existing iPod owners," Canalys senior analyst Pete Cunningham said. "Almost half the respondents who owned an iPod rated Apple as likely to be considered for their next phone, compared to just 20 per cent for those who didnít have an iPod, and they were five times as likely to give Apple the highest rating. There is a lot of loyalty that Apple can tap into." Respondents were asked how likely they were to choose different cellphone manufacturers, according to Macworld UK, with Nokia coming in first place and Apple ranking in the mid-range behind LG and just ahead of smartphone vendors such as RIM and Palm.
The New York City Police Department has become the latest government body in the US to embrace the famous Segway, once touted as a world-changing vehicle. The force has specifically ordered 10 i2 Police units, which are different from the basic i2 mainly for their extra indicators and storage space. Officers will use their Segways to patrol areas generally inaccessible to cars, such as Central Park and Coney Island; some of the other claimed advantages include faster response times and zero emissions. Their range, however, is limited to 23 miles before a recharge is required. Each vehicle should cost the NYPD $5,660.
Search engine giant Google today announced Universal Search, calling it a breaking down of the "silos" that shelter websites, media, and other content from each other during a search. Visitors to the site will now see both regular web results as well as visual links to photos, Google Video and YouTube clips, and also more information-specific details such as maps or book listings. Extra content will also filter into searches as the engine is developed over time, Google says. The change is dramatic enough that the Mountain View company is improving its underlying architecture to help compare results between one media type and another.
Amazon today revealed the forthcoming launch of a direct-download music store offering tracks without DRM (Digital Rights Management) in the open MP3 format. "The announcement is a carbon copy of Apple's deal with EMI," said Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster. "Amazon will offer the same DRM-free tracks as iTUnes, and therefore will have no competitive advantage over Apple." The analyst says Amazon is playing catchup with iTunes, and points out that Amazon's music store will not carry any DRM-free tracks that Apple's own iTunes store doesn't already offer. "We believe the Amazon music store will not materially impact Apple's business," said Munster. "In fact, although Apple's dominance frustrates music studios, the reality is that Apple's market share (70 percent in the U.S.) gives Steve Jobs and iTunes the upper hand." Piper Jaffray maintains its "Outperform" rating on Apple shares with a $140 price target.
In a surprise statement, SanDisk this afternoon said that it praised news of Amazon's DRM-free music store and EMI's support. The company claimed that it welcomed the development, saying that the embrace of a universal format was crucial to establishing the digital music business. "This is the first time a major record label and a major retailer have come together to offer consumers the freedom to buy music compatible with all MP3 players," said company general VP Daniel Schreiber. "As consistent advocates of consumer choice, we believe this is an important step forward."
Created by remote maker Ricavision, one of the concepts for the 2007 WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering) conference is the MK140 FM, which if brought to market would be the first of its kind. Simplistically it is just a 3.5-inch, QVGA touchscreen, but the difference is that it sticks to a refridgerator door, and is actually a SideShow device that pulls data from a nearby Vista PC via WiFi. This allows users to check their schedule, read e-mail and view media without even turning on the computer. A stylus is used to write virtual Post-it notes. The one drawback is that it has a 16-hour battery life, so if used as an electronic memo, it may need to be recharged every night, or left plugged in. [via SlashGear]
Sony's global recall of lithium-ion batteries may not have completely resolved Sony's battery problems, say reports. Toshiba has noted tat at least one instance of one of its portable computer's Sony-made batteries catching fire in late April, despite the system using a model of the power supply that had been altered to fix the original issue, which would often ignite batteries without significant warning or a comparatively modest impact.
Motorola's GSM version of the RAZR maxx could well reach US shores, says an anonymous source. The contact claims that Italian cell provider TIM will launch a version not just with the 850MHz GSM frequency needed to make calls in North America, but also HSDPA Internet access on the same band. The change would open the gates to a version for North American carriers such as AT&T and Rogers, according to the report, which would also mean both full 3G broadband access and a front video camera for either AT&T's Video Share or Rogers' VISION service.
MacCase has begun selling an entirely new line of Mac accessories, dubbed the Premium Leather collection. Everything comes in five different colors (tan, pink, red, black and chocolate), and is purportedly inspired by car makers like Ferrari and Aston Martin, which use white stitching on curved panels. The shoulder bag costs $200, and should fit 15-inch laptops, as well as a phone or MP3 player in a side-mounted pocket. The sleeves meanwhile are all priced at a flat $90, despite coming in 13-, 15- and 17-inch sizes. Finally, pouches are available for full-size iPods ($25) and miscellaneous accessories ($35).
Intel's just released Santa Rosa platform for the Core 2 Duo will start receiving updates as soon as July, a newly escaped roadmap shows. The semiconductor firm plans to release its first Core 2 Extreme processors ever released for notebooks sometime in July, offering at first a speed increase from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz as well as unlocking the chip's clock rate multipliers to allow for overclocking in larger or heavily-cooled notebooks. An even faster 2.8GHz variant will be available by September, the roadmap explains. Each should still have the same 800MHz system bus and 4MB of level 2 cache as today's chips.
AT&T CEO Stan Sigman has described Apple's forthcoming iPhone as "the largest commercial product launch in the history of electronics" during a graduation speech at the West Texas A&M University. "This is you. AT&T and Apple will release the iPhone," Sigman said. "Since we announced this product earlier this year, over a million people have written in to express interest in being first to get one." The executive went on to announce that the first pre-released iPhone in the state of texas was given to the president of WDAMU. The president proudly held up the sleek device for all the crowed to see, and Sigman offered students a unique memory to take with them in future travels.
Best Buy's in-house brand Insignia today shipped out the NS-7HTV, the first known portable TV in North America with an ATSC tuner for picking up over-the-air HD broadcasts. While its resolution is limited to 480x234, the 7-inch screen manages the native 16:9 aspect ratio of HDTV content. Viewers can also tune into analog NTSC shows before the 2009 cutoff period and use the screen as a portable display for game consoles and DVD players through either RCA or RF jacks.
Formac has released a new portable hard drive, a version of the disk mini that supports FireWire 400, as well as the alternative's USB 2.0. Capacities from 60 to 160GB are available, and because the mini relies on six-pin FireWire, either connection can be used as the power source. The casing is notable for having a Mac-friendly black or white aesthetic, and also using a shock absorption system, protecting the drive from less dramatic impacts. Formac is currently marketing the new disk mini in Europe, where AppleMac.biz is selling it for prices ranging between £60 ($120) and £135 ($270) without VAT. [via Tech Digest]
Virtual Programming today released Championship Manager 2007, its football management game challenging players to experience the highs and lows of real football management. "Think you can do better? It's your decisions that count: your budget, your buys, your formation, your tactics... your chance to prove it! Use your skills and knowledge to manage your club the way you feel it should be -- now it's your turn." Championship Manager 2007 is available as a digital download for $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. Boxed games are due to hit shelves within 7-10 days.
Toshiba today stepped up its efforts in the HD video format conflict by announcing a new rebate for its entry-level HD-A2 and other HD DVD players. Beginning May 20th, those who pick up the basic player will receive an instant $100 discount that drops the price of the player to $300. The discount would make the device the most inexpensive complete movie player available until the price drop's end on June 9th, based on Toshiba's claims. Buyers of any other player will also see the momentary drop for a shorter period, earning the same price cut from June 10th until the 16th. Those who buy any of Toshiba's 42-inch or larger sets at the same time will see a $200 cut.
TLA Systems on Wednesday released DragThing 5.8, a significant update to its popular dock application for Mac OS X and announced that DragThing is now the official upgrade path for all existing users of Sig Software's Drop Drawers. DragThing can now directly import settings from Drop Drawers, including the contents, keyboard shortcuts, and appearance of drawers. "Many new features have been added to this release specifically to make Drop Drawers users feel more at home, and we're confident DragThing users will enjoy them too," the companies said in a joint statement. DragThing, the original dock designed to organize your Mac, puts documents, folders, and applications just a single click away and supports multiple, customizable docks. Registered users of Sig Software's Drop Drawers can upgrade to DragThing for the special price of $20, a $10 discount on the normal cost of $30. This release is also free for registered users of DragThing 5.
Customized PC house enano today announced the e2 series of its book-sized mini PCs. In contrast to most PC makers' small systems, the e2 is pitched as a green alternative to towers and other large desktops. The use of mobile Core 2 Duo processors and other notebook-oriented parts cuts energy use by as much as 80 percent and also reduces the amount of heat, noise, and consumed desk space -- earning the desktop an Energy Star approval from the EPA for its contribution to the environment, according to the company.
Samsung has announced that a variant of its U600, the U608, is going on sale in Hong Kong under the company's Anycall brand. Like its predecessor, the new phone has Bluetooth 2.0 and a 3.2-megapixel camera, and can play MP3, WMA and AAC/eAAC+ music files. Other features include an FM radio and a microSD slot. In fact the phone is essentially unchanged, though it will be available in blue, silver and copper colors. An oddity in Samsung's specifications is that while quad-band GSM is mentioned, there is no reference to any sort of broadband support, even the U600's EDGE. The 608 is being priced at $3,480 HKD ($445 US). [via Unwired View]
Dell may be guilty of committing fraud against its customers, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday by New York's government. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's suit alleges that the system builder's financial branch misled buyers, promising relatively inexpensive financing plans but then turning back on guarantees and support contracts, leaving users stranded when their systems break. The state attorney would force an end to the reported fraud through an injunction against Dell's methods and would also obtain damages for every customer affected.
Pinger -- a mobile voice messaging service -- today released an application enabling Mac users to quickly upload Address Book contacts as message recipients. Pinger supports Address Book as well as Microsoft Entourage, and Mac users can import contacts to instantly send voice messages. Pinger works with all major carriers and mobile phones in the U.S., and offers a system preferences panel that allows users to select which folders to synchronize with the Pinger service. The panel works on Mac OS X 10.3 or later systems, and the software is available for free as a public beta test.
A collection of Japanese Epson products are being promoted as part of a unified "digital darkroom" concept -- a computer system ideally suited to serious photography work. At the heart is the Endeavor CM3100, a slim mini-tower computer that nevertheless has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and a Super Multi DVD drive. Perhaps most importantly it comes with 500GB of SATA II hard drive space, which is useful for archiving vast photo collections.
Skype today released Skype for Mac 2.6, the latest release of its communications software for Mac that offers a new feature currently unavailable to Windows users. SKype has introduced a new call-transfer feature exclusive to the Mac platform, enabling users to transfer an ongoing call to another Skype user on a contact list. Skype is available for free, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Sprint on Wednesday began offering the Samsung M300. The clamshell is a simplified companion to the M510 launched on Monday and brings some style to the often-neglected sphere of entry-level phones. The reflective outer shell hides the LCD until calls or the clock light up the display; a red or silver shell around the phone also lends polish and stops the phone from catching on clothes. Bluetooth is standard; Sprint notes the clamshell trims price through a VGA camera as well as stripping the EVDO broadband and microSD slot of the M510.
Financial problems continue to plague Sony into 2007, says the Associated Press. Already hurting from 2006 issues like development delays and a massive battery recall, the company reports that between January and March, it lost 67.6 billion yen, or $563 million US. This was even worse than the 66.5 billion yen lost in the same quarter a year prior. Sony attributes this mainly to the Playstation 3, which has not sold as well as expected, and in fact costs the company more to produce -- most income is generated through games.
Online retailer Amazon today announced the upcoming launch of a direct-download music store completely without digital rights management on its tracks, making it one of the few stores to offer music from multiple unrelated labels without the restrictions. Songs will be offered in the unguarded MP3 format, allowing users of Macs, Windows PCs, and most any operating system to download and play the songs regardless of the playback software. The choice also means that music bought through the store will play both on iPods as well as competing players such as the Zune or Creative's Zen series.
ezGear today unveiled three new cases for Apple's forthcoming iPhone which include the ezSkin, ezSkin Bumperz, and ezSkin Xtreme. ezSkin cases are made from high quality silicone for a snug fit along with a smooth coating to repel dirt, and provide unfettered access to the iPhone's physical functions. The company is offering a thin transparent screen protector with all ezSkins that allow users to manage the touch screen normally while protecting the multi-touch display from scratches. The basic ezSkin is a slimline protective case with a separate removable belt holster, removable neck strap, and a protective flap for the iPhone's dock connector. ezSkins for iPhone are slated for shipment in June of this year alongside iPhone's planned launch (pricing was unavailable).
Cocoia has released Cocoia Timezones 1.0, the full version of the time zone navigator for Apple's iPod. Cocoia Timezones 1.0 features themes, personalized overlays that indicate time differences, and a city bar that shows settlements per time zone on an iPod. The full version is personalized to always show the difference between the selected time zone and users' local time, and comes with a wide array of themes to choose for a world map -- including limited editions. The software works with first- and second-generation iPod nanos, as well as iPod with color display and video iPod. Cocoia Timezones 1.0 is priced at $3 (system requirements were unavailable).
Sling Media will enter the Internet access business by reselling it to Slingbox users, the company revealed late yesterday. CEO Blake Krikorian indicated that his company would turn over existing broadband access so that users could temporarily boost speed through software, allowing for a better streaming experience to a computer or smartphone. The strategy would begin with Boston provider GetConnected, though Sling would not elaborate on pricing or the specially enhanced speeds.
WiebeTech on Wednesday announced price reductions on many fourth-generation DriveDocks as well as a new FW 800 Notebook DriveDock (NBDD8v4) with FireWire 800 connectivity. The new dock allows quick access to any PATA/ATAPI 2.5-inch notebook drive and offers power options, including Bus-Power through a FireWire 800 connection, an optional +12V adapter or via a standard disk drive 4-pin molex power source: users can simply connect the drive to the Dock, plug-in power and attach a FireWire or USB cable to a host computer to quickly and easily transfer data from a "bare" notebook drive. For more protection, a mounting plate is included on the dock to protect the drive's circuitry. The Dock is priced at $170 retail and will ship early June. In addition, the company offered discount pricing on existing dock products: the SATADock now costs $170 and the FireWire and Notebook DriveDock are now $100.
Fujitsu this morning started offering the Lifebook U, one of the company's smallest PCs and reportedly the world's smallest official convertible tablet PC. Its 5.6-inch, 1024x600 screen makes the computer a UMPC when the display is folded shut or flipped into tablet mode, the Japanese designer says, but opening it reveals a conventional keyboard layout ideal for desk work. The U also boasts a far longer battery life of up to 8 hours courtesy of Intel's 800Mhz A110 ultra-mobile CPU and an extended battery pack. Extra security comes through a fingerprint reader.
In time for the launch of the Halo 3 beta and the announcement of the September 25th game launch date, GameStop today launched pre-orders of the Special Edition Halo Zune. The start of sales reveals the full scope of content beyond that mentioned in the company's original preview. As well as the custom plastic shell and menu wallpaper, the limited edition will come with several videos including a Zune-specific episode of Red vs. Blue; the player will also be preloaded with the complete Halo series soundtrack to date and conceptual artwork.
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HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko