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Apple's Ive wins award
Apple's design guru Jonathan Ive this week won the 2007 National Design Award for product design. Cooper-Hewitt director Paul Warwick Thompson on Tuesday announced the winners and finalists of the 2007 National Design Awards, giving the Product Design Award to "the individual or firm for exceptional and exemplary work in the design of consumer goods, technology, or home and office furnishings." Ive, the release said brought design "into the public consciousness in an unprecedented way." He was selected for his innovative design work over the past 11 years on Apple products, including the iPod, iPod nano, candy-colored iMacs, the iBook, and other products. The nominations were solicited from a committee of more than 800 leading designers, educators, journalists, cultural figures and corporate leaders from every state in the nation.
Marantz HDMI 1.3 projector
The luxury electronics maker Marantz has released a new version of its flagship DLP projector, the VP11. The VP11S1BL is similar in many regards to its predecessor, but has been upgraded to support HDMI 1.3, which more than doubles bandwidth, and enables DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD sound (used by HD movie players) with external AV receivers.
Marantz has specifically chosen to add Deep Color, which enables color gamuts beyond the standard 24-bit sRGB and YCbCR modes on most TVs. Other features of the projector include a 0.95 dot pitch, 6,500:1 contrast, and what Marantz will only call an "improved 6x color wheel." The standard projector costs $20,000; a version with longer throw costs $22,000.
Torq, Runtime Revolution
Torq 1.0.4 (free) updates the driver software for M-Audio's audio equipmet. The latest release adds support for the Xponent controller/interface, and features a redesigned MIDI architecture for improved response. Torq 1.0.4 also includes a new "reset speed slider on new track" preference for keeping the position of the speed slider the same when loading a new song.
[Download - form]
NoteList 2.1 ($15) allows users to store searchable notes in a free format with fully formatted RTF text and images. The latest release features color label categories, and stores window as well as column sizes. NoteList 2.1 also includes an internet-based software update feature alongside one bug fix. [Download - 332KB]
Runtime Revolution 2.8.1 (Studio $400, Enterprise $1,000) brings more than 240 improvements to the cross-platform rapid application and media project development tool. New major improvements include a Web browser object, embedded fonts, SQLite integration, and array improvements. The latest revision also features private handlers alongside Windows Vista support.
TrendyMac 1.2.6 ($110) is a client-side Mac OS X Web log file analyzer. New changes include an enhanced user's manual with more details, as well as additional 'Special' reports. The software now includes an FTP feature that downloads log files, and the update fixes several small bugs. [Download - 6.8MB]
Anzan 1.0 ($20 for 2-computer license) enables users to easily transfer files between multiple Macs on a local area network. The application enables users to drop a file onto the recipient's name, and supports sending files to multiple people along with an optional short message. Anzan is configurable to automatically accepts file transfers from specific individuals, and provides a history of transfers that users can reveal in the Finder. [Download - 1MB]
TranslateIt! for Mac 7.3 ($25/year) is a multilingual dictionary that allows users to look up words quickly and easily. Users hover the mouse pointer over an unfamiliar word in any Cocoa application to see its translation appear in a pop-up window. The software translates to and from any language, providing corresponding dictionaries are installed, and provides English sounds for more than 17,000 English words. [Download - unknown]
LED backlights for HP
The next major manufacturer to use LED backlights will be Hewlett-Packard, according to the Taiwanese site DigiTimes. Reports indicate that AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics are building 12.1-inch panels, which will be delivered to HP in June, in time for a new laptop release in the third quarter. Dell is said to be likely following suit, although this is unconfirmed. LED backlighting is more power-efficent than the standard cathode lamp, and also produces more vivid colors; it is however rare, with companies like Apple only just beginning to lay down plans.
Denon AVR-4308 receiver
Audio specialist Denon is showing an upcoming, high-end AV receiver, the AVR-4308, at current tradeshow in Munich. Though its specifications are generally secret, it appears to be related to the AVR-4306, and is known to support abilities such Wi-Fi, DAB radio and some form of 7.1 surround sound. The company is also giving the receiver a "softer" look, and it will probably carry on the policy of merely upscaling DVD video rather than following Blu-Ray or HD DVD.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is an original, "photo-real" graphical interface, which should further separate the 4308 from earlier products and many competitors. The receiver will launch in Europe in September for £2,000 ($3,955). [via Pocket-lint]
HP Ships 1080p LCDs
HP on Thursday began shipping its 2007 HDTV line of LCDs and plasmas, including its first 1080p direct-view LCD sets. The 42-inch LC4276N and 47-inch LC4776N each achieve the full HD resolution and claim a 1,200:1 static contrast ratio as well as three HDMI ports, a VGA connector for PCs, and an RS232 serial port for automated home theaters. The TVs ship for $1,899 and $2,499 at their respective sizes.
Two smaller, 720p sets have also been released, HP says. The LC3272 and LC3772 put out the mid-range HD resolution at 32 and 37 inches each with the same expansion options. The company sells them at $899 for the smaller 32-inch set and $1,199 for its larger sibling.
Sony-Ericsson Shinobu Leak
One of Sony-Ericsson's flagship Walkman phones has leaked online today through an auction. Selling from a Polish firm named Artkom, the K123i is reportedly a prototype of a future W-series slider nicknamed the Shinobu. Unique to the phone and its eventual production version is one of the first 16.7-million full color LCD in a Sony-Ericsson phone, say reports; it should also have HSDPA for 3G wireless and a front camera to match for video calls on supporting networks. A 2-megapixel camera will face the rear in the 0.49-inch thick device.
JVC High Speed 2 LCD TVs
JVC today launched a surprise refresh of its 1080p Series LCD TV sets with three new models that pack a brand new display engine. The High Speed 2 display range has a new engine, dubbed Clear Motion Drive II, that better handles fast movement. While an earlier set already produced twice the refresh rate at 120Hz, the technology for the new models is said to dramatically improve processing by interpolating on-screen movement in any direction using 8,000 surrounding pixels and adapting the technology to a full HD, 1080p panel. The upgrade is so quick, JVC says, that one of its 120Hz panels with an 8ms pixel response could beat a 60Hz set with no pixel lag whatsoever.
TrekStor media server
Trekstor has started selling the MovieStation maxi t.u., a new media server with an extremely high capacity. Whereas the Apple TV can only hold 40GB by default, the t.u. starts at 250GB, and can be bought in even bigger versions reaching up to 500GB. The server is also graced with better video codec support, allowing AVI, DivX and XviD, as well as MPEG-1/2/4. Audio codecs include MP3, OGG, WAV and WMA, but not AAC.
Ricavision Home E-Reader
Ricavision has just entered the eBook business through its Home E-Reader. Rather than depend solely on customized PC software to load the device with books or other documents, the reader uses Windows Vista's SideShow technology to synchronize; it can store files for offline viewing but also make a wireless connection to its host to get files directly through the network. Also a departure from the norm is a stylus for making notes that can be synchronized on the E-Reader's next contact with the PC, Ricavision says. As with many readers, the device uses eInk to dramatically reduce power consumption and last thousands of pages before a recharge is necessary.
ConceptDraw Project 3.3
CS Odessa has released ConceptDraw Project 3.3, an update to the project management software that offers enhanced printing capabilities and focuses on preparation of proper project documentation as well as enhanced usability. ConceptDraw Project is designed to aid users in tracking any number of projects at once, especially when difference focuses need to share common resources. The update features new redesigned project reports, as well as the ability to set fonts to the entire view. Minor usability improvements include tooltips on Tasks, modified group popup menus, and the ability to quickly add resources via an Assign Resources dialog. The software is priced at $200 for a single-user license, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Upgrades are avialable for owners of earlier versions for $100.
iPhone Earns FCC Approval
Despite its imminent release in June, the iPhone has only just received the seal of approval, according to a document published by the FCC. The Apple device was tested as of March for the safety of its wireless elements, such as its GSM and Wi-Fi transmitters. Most notable may not be what is in the report, but rather what has been left out, the details show. Apple in its submission sent the FCC a special confidentiality letter requesting that no photos of the product or manual be made public for 45 days after approval, breaking with practices often seen with other manufacturers.
LG FM37 for UK
LG today revealed a Westernized version of the FM37, a major change in its approach to media players. Nicknamed the Touch Me, the device still features a 2.4-inch touchscreen for controlling playback and support for MP3/OGG/WMA tracks as well as H.264, MPEG-4, and WMV movies. In contrast to its Korean edition, however, the FM37 drops the country-specific DMB digital TV tuner in favor of a more universal FM receiver with recording packed in. Its battery is capable of 20 straight hours of music or three hours of video.
Toshiba Satellite T30
Toshiba on Thursday catered to its more serious audience with the Satellite T30, a special Japan-oriented system for business. The line is split into two models for both essentialist users as well as those who need an extra level of speed: the base system ships with a 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB of RAM, and an 80GB drive; a next step up adds a much faster 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo as well as a more advanced mainboard for better performance. Either system can be custom-configured with more as the situation demands, according to Toshiba.
AC3D 6.2 released
Inivis Limited today released AC3D 6.2, the latest revision of its affordable and intuitive 3D design software. AC3D is specifically designed for 3D visualization, gaming, and simulation models. The latest release adds support for 3Dconnexion's range of 3D navigation hardware, as well as the ability to export 3D models into Google Earth. Features include subdivision-surfaces, a UV unwrapper/mapper, 2D as well as 3D text, Boolean operations, multiple views, polygon reduction, and more. The application is priced at $75, with upgrades starting at $35. AC3D 6.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Apple UK cuts shuffle cost
In brief: Apple UK cuts the price of the iPod shuffle, a new iPod ad has surfaced, OWC is offering upgrade memory for Apple's new MacBooks, and a beta testing period has begun for audio Bible software. Apple's branch for the United Kingdom has cut the price of the iPod shuffle from £55 ($110) to £50 ($100). The price drop mirrors reductions made to the company's fifth-generation video iPod last month, when the 30GB model dropped to £180 ($360) from £190, while the 80GB model sunk from £260 to £240 ($475). It is unknown whether the smaller iPod nano will soon follow with its own price reductions.
iPlanner supports Google
LutherSoft brought support for Entourage and Google Calendars to iPlanner, its calendar printing software. The application is designed to bridge the gap between iCal and paper systems, such as Franklin/Covey and DayRunner, allowing users to print calendars and task lists directly onto a day planner layout. iPlanner supports printing onto smaller pages and positions the data to fit onto pre-printed day planner pages, circumventing Entourage's lack os Mac support for pre-printed day planner pages. iPlanner offers more than 50 layouts, and allows users to print multiple schedules on the same planner page in columns. iPlanner is priced at $25, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
LG.Philips AMOLED screen
The partnership of LG.Philips LCD claims it has made a significant breakthrough in the realm of AMOLED (active matrix OLED) displays. It is said to have produced the first full-color, flexible AMOLED display using amorphous silicon (a-Si), which is important not so much for the material's capabilities, but its manufacturing benefits -- unlike many OLED screens, the new one can be made in existing TFT-LCD plants. This should reduce the current high production costs. LG.Philips' test screen measures four inches, and displays images at QVGA (320x240) resolution with over 16.7 million colors. There are no (known) plans for any commercial use.
Sony PSP Online Store
Sony will have an online shop for its PSP handheld, the company has confirmed at its Gamers Day event in San Diego. While owners of its much larger PS3 console have had access to an online PlayStation Store since the November launch, the PSP has been excluded from using its Wi-Fi for such a service despite launching in 2004. SCEA head Jack Tretton admitted frustration with the PSP's artificially limited connection options when speaking with journalists.
"I think the advent of a long awaited and quite frankly long overdue ability to deliver a downloadable service for the PSP will help us out a great deal," he said.
Clevo 901C Notebook
Clevo today revealed a notebook faster still than a model previewed just several weeks before. The D901C is officially only a slight variant on the 17-inch D900C shown in March, complete with the choice of desktop Core 2 processors and up to three hard drives. New, however, is the option of a new NVIDIA graphics chip, according to sources familiar with the design. To be released in three weeks, the 8700M GT will be faster still than the 8600M GT introduced last week and is said be clocked high enough to double the last-generation GeForce Go 7600 GT's benchmark performance. An even faster 8800M is also due later, say others.
HomeDock Music Remote
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today unveiled its HomeDock Music Remote, a remote control enabling users to connect an iPod to a home stereo and roam freely about the housewhile viewing and controlling music. The new remote includes a slim, compact OLED display to show which song is playing. Users simply dock an iPod and download song as well as playlist information to the remote, allowing users to view and navigate selected iPod playlists and artists from anywhere within 150 feet. Users can also create on-the-fly playlists containing up to 10 tracks via a special "Jukebox" feature, according to the company. DLO's HomeDock remote uses RF signals to work through walls and ceilings. The HomeDock Music Remote is priced at $130, and is available from Apple retail stores and DLO.com.
Apple Notebook Bond Patent
Apple may have developed a solution to the increasingly confined spaces of thin and light notebooks, according to one of its new patents. Though titled only a "Computer Enclosure," the technique -- filed as a continuation patent in December and granted today -- hopes to overcome the structural limits of most of today's notebooks. Most are usually either thin and light but susceptible to bending, Apple said, or else are thick and depend heavily on screws or other fasteners to keep the body intact, cutting down on available space for hardware inside.
Amazon discounts MacBooks
Amazon has lowered pricing on its older MacBook models and is offering Apple's new MacBooks at discounted rates. The online retailer is selling White 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBooks with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,200 after a $100 rebate; Black 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBooks with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $1,400 after a $100 rebate; White 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBooks with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,000 after a $100 rebate; Black 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBooks with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive for $1,250; and White 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBooks with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive for $920 after a $75 rebate. Amazon is also offering 1GB ($50) and 2GB ($100) memory upgrades for Apple's 2GHz MacBook model.
Express/eSATA II adapter
NitroAV has started shipping a new device in its SATAStar line, the 2-Port eSATA II Professional ExpressCard Interface Adapter. As its name implies, it enables laptops with ExpressCard slots to connect up to two external SATA devices, such as hard drives. Its 34mm format means it can be used with Apple's MacBook Pro, and because it makes use of SATA II, it can transfer at speeds of up to 3Gbs. Aside from Macs, the adapter should also be compatible with any Windows or Linux system with the appropriate port. It is being priced at $70.
eSATA II 3Gb/s ExpressCard
NitroAV on Thursday announced its 2-Port NitroAV eSATA II 3Gb/s Professional ExpressCard (34mm) Interface Adapter for Apple's MacBook Pro and other compatible laptops. The 2-Port 34mm ExpressCard is based on Silicon Image's (SiI) 3132 chipset with drivers available for the Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Linux and Novell Netware operating systems. The 34mm ExpressCard host adapter offers maximum performance with multiple commands for each port loaded into on-chip memory, eliminating the need for host CPU intervention and minimizing PCI bus usage. The company says that command execution engines dramatically reduce latency between commands, enabling drives to stay fully loaded with queued commands. The card features two SATA2 "Shielded & Durable" connectors (eSATA) with two independent Serial ATA channels, support for 48-bit LBA (for drives larger than 137GB), single-lane 2.5Gbps, and SATA II transfer rate of 3.0Gbps. The 2-Port NitroAV eSATA II 3Gb/s Professional Express Card (34mm) Interface Adapter is available now for $70.
Nokia 8600 Product Shot
Nokia's upcoming 8600 handset has been all but confirmed, courtesy of a new forum leak. Nicknamed the Luna, the will be a simpler version of the 8800 Sirocco that places the controls on top of the unique slider rather than hiding them underneath, keeping basic controls intact even when the shell is closed. Nokia is also said to envision the 8600 as bringing the 8800's features to the mid-range; accordingly, the leaked device is now known to have both a 2-megapixel camera, EDGE Internet access, and Bluetooth.
Adobe abandons Freehand
Adobe has confirmed it will abandon Freehand, the popular illustration tool acquired as part of its merger with Macromedia. Although the company continues to sell Freehand MX -- last updated more than four years ago, it is now urging current Freehand users to migrate to Illustrator CS3, and says it has added features to that version of the application it hopes will make the migration "comfortable," according to a blog posting on the company's website: "Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies," Adobe's John Nack wrote.
Coke, iTunes EU promo
Dubbed the largest music promotion in Europe's history, Coca-Cola has once again partnered with Apple's iTunes Store, this time to offer European Coke drinkers 2 billion chances to win free iTunes downloads as well as iPods and concert tickets. The promotion is scheduled to run between May and August, according to Crave, and Coca-Cola will pay for the cost of the downloads as part of the deal. The promo will give away iPods, as well as free tickets to numerous iTunes and Coke-sponsored concerts. Various well-known but yet unnamed stars are scheduled to perform at the musical events alongside new and lesser-known groups, according to the report. Dance collective Faithless has recorded a track specifically for the new partnership, and will perform live at the promotion launch at the Cannes Film Festival. The dance group also joined designers to create a limited edition Coke bottle that will ship only during the iTunes+Coke promo. Last summer the companies joined to promote European iTunes and the companies also launched a promo in the UK last Fall as well as a smaller free iTunes song campaign in Italy earlier this year. [corrected]
Sony VAIO RM and FE Update
Following the release of the TZ, Sony today also improved two of its larger systems, pointing to future North American updates. The VAIO RM desktop now has as its base Intel's updated version of the 1.86GHz desktop Core 2 Duo with a full 4MB of level 2 cache; it also has the choice of a GeForce 8600 GTS versus the earlier 7600 GS, stepping up performance for optional Blu-Ray movie support as well as 3D. The system starts at $1,574 but climbs to $2,402 in its peak model.
Samsung 8GB microSD Card
Samsung on Thursday revealed that it had developed a record-setting microSD card. Topping out at 8GB, the storage will let music phones hold roughly four times the data of most cards in shops today -- up to 5 DVD-level movies, the company says. The increase in memory density also gives the card a speed increase well beyond most microSD cards. Where most of the miniature cards can only write at 2MB per second, the 8GB model achieves a 6MB speed that matches the Class 6 performance of some of the best full-size SD and SDHC cards. Reading data is faster still at 16MB per second.
Sony VAIO TZ in Japan
Sony today chose its home country to introduce the TZ, its replacement for the ultraportable TX. As revealed in earlier product shots, the TZ is slimmer even than its predecessor (under 0.9 inches at its thinnest point) thanks to a newer shell. The keyboard is also MacBook-inspired and rises through the top shell to prevent spills.
New in the official release, however, is a unique storage option. Custom orders can not only install a 32GB solid-state disk but also swap the standard DVD-RW drive for a standard 160GB hard disk, offering both the speed of flash and the extra space of magnetic storage.
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