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Mac market share up
Apple's market share in May -- particularly in the laptop space -- continued to grow, significantly outpacing the increases seen by others in industry. The Cupertino-based company saw its online and retail sales grow to 13 percent of the overall consumer market during May, up more than 12 percent from its 11.6 percent share in April. The company's notebook sales saw an even more impressive gain, rising to 14.3 percent from 12.5 percent in April, according to NPD data quoted by InformationWeek. The growth was driven by May updates to the consumer-oriented MacBook line, which received larger drives, faster processors, and more memory. However, the sales data were captured before Apple's introduction of the much-anticipated Santa Rosa upgrade to its professional MacBook Pro line in early June and its back-to-school/free iPod promo for education customers.
Sony follows Apple retail
Trying to follow the enormous success of Apple's retail stores, Sony is taking a page from Apple's playbook. The electronics manufacturer, is adding a Genius Bar-like areas to its retail stores, according to a new report. Sony Style retail stores are installing "backstage" counters in their stores to provide computer-only services that include one-on-one training sessions, system optimization, hardware and software diagnostics, new software installation and data migration, according to ifoAppleStore. The company, whchi rolling out the services at all of its 55 retail stores, hopes the new customer-centric section will help bolster its struggling retail division. Retail consultants earlier this month said that Sony could learn from Apple's success and its Genius Bars, which have been the cornerstone of Apple's success.
Refurb iMacs, Mac mini
Apple's online store is currently offering reconditioned MacBook Pros, iMacs, and one Mac mini model at discounted rates. The company's stock of MacBook Pros includes the 15.4-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive featuring a standard or glossy screen for $1,599; 15.4-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive featuring a standard or glossy screen for $1,999; 17-inch 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive featuring a standard or glossy display for $2,299. Apple's reconditiond iMacs range from the 17-inch 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 512MB of memory and a 160GB hard drive for $849 to the 24-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive for $1,699.
Apple hardens Mac OS X
Apple today released Security Update 2007-006, addressing security holes in its WebCore and WebKit technologies which directly affect Web browsing under Mac OS X. The security update fixes an HTTP injection issue that exists in XMLHttpRequest when serializing headers into an HTTP request. By enticing a user to visit a maliciously crafted Web page, an attacker could conduct cross-site scripting attacks. A second fix addresses a hole where an invalid type conversion when rendering frame sets could lead to memory corruption, possibly resulting in an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution when users visit a maliciously crafted Web page, according to Apple. The company today also released Safari-specific security fixes in a separate update for Safari 3.0.1 Beta users which includes the afore-mentioned updates.
Safari Beta 3.0.2
Apple today released Safari Beta 3.0.2, the latest revision of its Web browser for Mac and Windows systems that currently ranks as the third most used internet browsers on the market. The update appears as a separate, unique update released alongside Apple's Security Update 2007-006, which will not appear as an available update to Safari Beta 3.0.1 users. Apple's latest changes include fixes that prevent maliciously crafted websites from compromising the security of an affected Mac or Windows PC. [updated]
WiTV: Web-based Joost
CrossCast Systems will soon begin rolling out WiTV, a platform-agnostic, Web-based competitor to Joost; a system for distributing TV shows and other forms of video over the Web using peer-to-peer TV technology. The new service will work under Mac OS X, Linux and Windows over the Web (likely through a Flash-based interface), and can also be run as a standalone player. The system will also purportedly be compatible with Apple TV. WebTV Wire reports "The nature of WiTV should allow it to automatically integrate with third party media devices including Windows Media Center, the Apple TV, Xbox 360, and mobile devices." Of course, the iPhone will likely be excluded from compatibility because it does not support Adobe Flash. A YouTube video shows the WiTV interface.
Adobe Illustrator, PicLens
Adobe Illustrator CS3 13.0.1 (free) updates Adobe's industry leading software for digital illustration, addressing issues related to overall performance and reliability in several key areas. Improvements include fixes for LiveColor, PSD file import, Chinese IME, printing, graphic styles, color management, transparency, and Live Effects.
[Download - 3.1MB]
Smart Scroll X 2.5.1 ($20) is a utility designed to make scrolling smoother, faster, and easier with a 'coasting' effect similar to Apple's forthcoming iPhone interface. The latest release adds support for Safari 3.0b, and includes various fixes as well as improvements to Pages, Super Wheel, and Grab Scroll. [Download - 1.5MB]
Sticky Windows 2.2.3 ($16) shrinks windows into tabs to provide users with a clutter-free workspace. Sticky Windows 2.2.3 imrpoves stability by eradicating sporadic crashes, allows users to gift a friend with a license of the application via reproduction services, and is enhanced for Mac OS X 10.4.10. [Download - 995KB]
PicLens 1.5 (free) for Safari is a free browser add-on that transforms Safari into a full-screen slideshow viewer, displaying beyond the confines of the browser window frame. One click turns a thumbnail from Flickr, Picasa Web Album, or Google Image Search into a full screen presentation. [Download - 899KB]
Nethergate: Resurrection 1.0.1 ($25) fixes numerous minor bugs and typoes in the fantasy role-playing adventure game set in ancient Britannia. Players explore a unique setting, assault a multitude of cities as well as dungeons, and attempt dozens of quests. The latest release also fixes a problem that the Celts could encounter when departing the Land of the Dead. [Download - 17.1MB]
Tivoli NetWorks Radios
Tivoli Audio on Friday introduced a pair of radios that merge conventional FM radio with Internet streaming. The NetWorksGo and NetWorks Table Radio are both based on the company's analog-only SongBook and Model One respectively but add Internet streaming. Either can tune MP3 (Shoutcast), Real, or Windows Media radio channels through a wired Ethernet connection or through Wi-Fi for more remote locations. Stations are preset, Tivoli says, but can be requested by users and added through firmware updates applied on the user's end by a button press. Both radios can recognize media shared by local Macs or PCs, the company adds. Offline digital devices such as iPods and other players can hook in through an aux-in jack or a USB connection.
Nokia 7900 in development?
While Nokia's tri-band 7500 has remained absent from North America, a follow-up may be in development that could breach the domestic market. German site NokiaPort is reporting the existence of the 7900, supposedly freely admitted to by Nokia on request. The highlight remains the unusual keypad, which uses streamlined, triangular buttons; most importantly however, the phone is said to use quad-band GSM, increasing the likelihood of North American adoption.
It should also have UMTS broadband, and use the Symbian S40 OS. A questionable point is the camera, which appears to have actually dropped from two megapixels to 1.3. Electronista will attempt to confirm these features for the future.
Delphi NAV300 Leak
Delphi is preparing a sequel to its NAV200 GPS unit with cosmetic and functional changes alike, a new leak demonstrates. The NAV300 will pick up all the features of Delphi's entry-level mapping unit but will add Bluetooth and a microphone, allowing hands-free calling and potentially wireless transmission of sound from the GPS system, music, or movies through a car stereo instead of a built-in speaker. Delphi's successor also creates a completely black front for a subtler look with a dedicated Bluetooth button.
SanDisk and Ducati Plans
SanDisk and motorcycle producer Ducati are planning a special joint announcement for next month, the company revealed today. A special event at SanDisk's California headquarters should introduce one or more new 'innovative' products from the storage maker. No details were released about the product other than its inclusion as part of the SanDisk Extreme line, which covers CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and SD cards used in cameras and some media players. The event is set to take place July 18th.
iRiver P10 Teaser
Another teaser site for an upcoming iRiver device has appeared, the company revealed today. The P10 separates itself from the UNIT2 and W10 by offering as minimal a media player as possible, the company says. Virtually dominated by its screen, the P10 uses a refined version of iRiver's edge-click controls to browse menus as well as tune volume and other functions without adding bulk to the player or adding a more expensive touchscreen. Swinging out a built-in stand perches the media player on a desk for watching movies or long-term listening.
Mindquarry 1.1, GO
Mindquarry has published two new releases; the first of these is v1.1 of its self-titled software, which enables workgroups to share files, assign tasks, collaborate on assignments and write wikis. The upgrade to the program introduces a "time machine," which allows users to view older versions of files and thus recreate them. Images and tables can be inserted into wikis much as with an ordinary document, and the Interlink shows all content related to a wiki, including files, tasks and companion articles. The user interface meanwhile separates list views from item views. Mindquarry is free, but support has varying fees.
Shimafuji Space Cube
Japan's Shimafuji has just designed what may be one of the smallest functional computers yet, based on its claims. The Space Cube puts virtually all essential features into a device slightly larger than two inches cubed. Ethernet networking, a VGA display port for visuals up to 1024x768, USB, and audio input as well as output are all included. Storage is handled by removable CF cards, allowing the Cube to expand or even replace data altogether over time. 16MB of permanent flash memory helps store essentials. The technology suits the PC to specialized tasks such as satellites as well as use in the more traditional computer role, the company says.
SOHO Notes, Organizer 6.1
Chronos has released the v6.1 upgrade to both of its flagship products, SOHO Notes and SOHO Organizer. Notes allows users to organize personal and business-related information, such as bookmarks, movies, text files, PDF files and more; the new version includes a folder for software serial numbers, as well as a general "Flagged" folder, which highlights all flagged items in the database regardless of where they are actually located. Keywords can now be assigned through the QuickNote application, and searches can be restricted to just a note's content rather than other fields.
Xbox 360 Failure Rate
Microsoft is seeing nearly one in three Xbox 360 systems die prematurely, according to a survey of electronics retailers. As many as 30 percent of the systems reportedly encounter problems that permanently break the console, triggering the well-known "red ring of death" around the power button that signals one or more components refuse to work. An anonymous EB Games store manager in Australia claims that while the failure rate is dropping as Microsoft refines the process, the rate is abnormally high compared to rivals such as the PlayStation 3 and the Wii.
iPhone Word, Excel support
Apple today revealed that its iPhone will support Microsoft Excel and Word documents, putting to rest one of the major criticisms voiced by potential business adopters of the mobile handset. The company's guided tour of iPhone reveals clearly that the device does in fact support viewing Microsoft Word and Excel documents received in email messages, prompting potential business customers to rethink any decisions to hold off on purchasing the device as a result of lacking functionality in the corporate realm. Rumors are also circulating that Apple is planning to integrate the iPhone with current corporate email installations, which would make the cellular phone an even more tantalizing option for widespread enterprise adoption.
iPhone tester speaks
An AT&T field technician who has been testing an iPhone for nearly two months says that the device is ready for launch. Balsu Thandu, who has been conducting iPhone usage tests for AT&T, looking for technical glitches and checking network access, describes some of the methods he used to conceal the device during testing. These include putting a sock over the iPhone, keeping it in a pants pocket, or hiding the device in a piece of newspaper. In order to test network accessibility, Thandu went to office buildings, subway platforms, stairwells, elevators, crowded bars, suburban malls and city streets. Mobility Today reports "They also showed up incognito at Apple and AT&T stores.
Nokia N95 aGPS Update Soon
Nokia's N95 smartphone will be getting a crucial update that makes its GPS mapping feature more useful, leaked photos show. A new firmware patch being developed by the cellphone maker will introduce assisted GPS that combines the phone's own receiver with cross-checks from an Internet server, helping to locate the device more quickly in regular outdoors use; an average position fix drops from 74 to 57 seconds, according to one report. It can also find the phone indoors where GPS reception is poor or non-existent.
Home theater equipment maker Onkyo finished its week today by releasing two new flagships in its TX-series AV units. Both the NA905 and SA705 include multiple HDMI 1.3 inputs and outputs that ensure any source, including Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies, can pipe deep-color video through the system. Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD audio are also supported for 7.1-channel surround with newer movie formats. Smaller changes also help the overall sound quality, says Onkyo: a symmetric layout for the amplifier cuts down on the traces to the left and right channels while also allowing for more power across the entire system. A special connector dubbed the Viera Link integrates control of the receiver with Panasonic's TV line.
Vista most secure OS?
According to a study (PDF file) conducted by Microsoft's own Trustworthy Computing group in its Security Business Unit, Windows Vista is more secure than any of its current rivals, including Mac OS X and Linux. Vista was paired alongside other operating systems for 90 days, and compared for the number of vulnerabilities and repairs that arose; while it still came second behind Windows XP, and with a "high" severity rating, it still defeated Mac OS X -- which came in third -- and three major Linux variants, namely Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, and SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.
Apple revamps iPhone site
Apple has redesigned and further populated the iPhone section of its website, pushing live a new 20-minute guided tour video and offering easier access to previously posted information. The new video is hosted live and includes demonstrations of device functionality, as well as diagrammed shots of the iPhone's physical controls. Meanwhile, the site now prominently states that the iPhone will require an iTunes account, and links to various press releases; one announcing Web 2.0 app-only development, another announcing the YouTube partnership, etc. A new "Where to Buy" section offers location services for Apple retail stores, AT&T stores, and saying that online purchase is "Coming soon."
iTunes Third Largest Store
The iTunes Store is now the third largest distributor of music in the US regardless of format, according to a new study from the NPD Group. The direct-download music shop is said to have eclipsed Amazon in the first quarter of the year to reach 10 percent of all music sales in the country, dropping Amazon to 6.7 percent. Large-format retailers Wal-Mart and Best Buy have also had their leads cut with 15.8 and 13.8 percent of the market respectively. Researchers credited the improvement primarily to Apple selling 21 million iPods during the holidays, which encouraged more visitors to the online store.
IBM on iPhone security
Apple's highly anticipated iPhone -- which recently garnered more than one million enquiries via AT&T's website -- may well attract the attention of malicious users looking to breach the handset's security measures. With so much attention and hype built up around the $499/$599 gadget, experienced crackers are likely to try their hand at attacking the mobile phone, according to IBM. "We've been following it since it was announced," said Neel Mehta, the team lead of advance research group at Internet Security Systems -- IBM's security division -- in an interview with InformationWeek. "It's going to be challenging for the bad guys to exploit them like they do other [smart phones] but there will be a lot of individuals willing to try because of the amount of buzz around it... We've seen some very determined attacks on other mobile phone platforms, like the Symbian platform. A lot of these attacks are going to be very hard to launch against the iPhone."
Orbino luxury iPhone cases
Joining the quickly-growing ranks of iPhone accessory makers is Orbino, which has launched its Strada line of luxury cases. Each case is made of genuine Italian leather and crafted by hand, from the waxed stiching through to the burnished edges and four coats of polish. Openings give immediate access to all the ports and controls on a phone, and the cases are all deliberately rounded, which not only makes them easier to handle but reduces the likelihood of splitting over time. Orbino is in fact guaranteeing each Strada for the life of an iPhone. A clip on the back doubles as both a belt attachment and a desk stand. Cases in five different leathers are now available, at prices ranging from $100 to $320.
BenQ Summer 2007 Handsets
BenQ will turn a page in its cellphone business this summer with three new models, sources within the company say. Though the company has just launched the 3G-capable SF71 (pictured) under the BenQ-Siemens hybrid name, the company is planning a quick change of direction that will see the as yet unrevealed E72, M7, and T51 handsets launched solely under the BenQ name alone -- already reflecting the breakup of the partnership between the Taiwan-based company and Germany's Siemens earlier this year. Other phones with the BenQ-Siemens label will phase out by the end of the year, the insiders claim.
Art Lebedev Finger Folder
Art Lebedev Studios today released the Finger Folder, a USB flash drive concept that makes a literal representation of the device's purpose as a file holder. It includes an exposed, direct USB connection and leaves a large flat surface on either side that can be labeled much as with actual folders.
No storage capacity has been mentioned for the drive, which current exists only as a design exercise by the Russian creative firm and has not been listed on the company's official store. [via Engadget]
iTransmitter 2 w/remote
The website USBfever.com has begun selling the iTransmitter 2, an FM transmitter specifically designed around vehicles; an included cable plugs directly from the iTransmitter into a car charger, and three presets allow users to move from one car to another without having to manually dial in a new frequency. New to the second version of the product is a remote, which allows full control of the transmitter without having to pick up the iPod. The product is compatible with third-, fourth- and fifth-generation full-size iPods, as well as the mini and nano. USBfever is selling the iTransmitter 2 in white or black for $27.
Gartner on iPhone in IT
Analyst firm Gartner will warn IT managers to avoid integrating the iPhone into their companies, according to an upcoming report timed to arrive alongside the device itself next week. The research group warns that the iPhone is built for personal use rather than the workplace, with most of its e-mail services tailored to individuals and no security measures to guard data on networks or against loss. The device "changes the game" for the average user but is misplaced in offices, according to senior analyst Ken Dulaney. [updated]
MacNN review, giant iPhone
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Luna iPod Alarm Clock from XtremeMac, A photo has surfaced of a giant iPhone covered in semi-transparent film at Apple's 5th Avenue flagship retail store in Manhatten, Sonnet Technologies has unveiled a new case for portable notebooks to protect against spills, Intego has signed a distribution agreement with Conexus Australia's customers through its reseller network, and Native Instruments has launched its "DJ Hardware Guide." MacNN has reviewed the Luna iPod Alarm Clock ($150) from XtremeMac, a dockable alarm system with iPod-like controls and display properties that features an auxiliary input to support iPod shuffles as well as other portable music devices.
Nike+ ads win at Cannes
An advertising campaign for the Nike+ system, which tracks a runner's performance in tandem with the iPod nano, has won one of three Cyber Lions Grand Prix awards at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. Campaign creator R/GA New York won not for a specific video or webpage, but for grabbing attention through its community-building, encouraging runners to compare their statistics and compete against each other. These efforts generated secondary publicity, such as videos on YouTube or local TV coverage.
VMWare Fusion Beta 4.1
VMWare has released VMWare Fusion Beta 4.1, bringing USB support to Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pros and all Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.10 and later. VMWare Fusion is a desktop application enabling users to create and run virtual machines inside an Intel-based Mac. The software supports running Microsoft Windows applications right alongside Mac OS X on a virtual Windows system without rebooting, and now includes experimental support for running VMware Fusion on Mac OS X Leopard hosts. The update also fixes various issues with installation, launch, and networking. VMWare Fusion is available for pre-order for $40.
Toshiba Camileo Pro
As part of the same introduction that brought the X205, Toshiba today also introduced a new video camera for those who need an all-purpose device. The Camileo Pro captures standard-definition footage in MPEG-4 to either the included 64MB of memory or up to 4GB of removable storage. Users with enough memory can also use the added storage to take 7-megapixel still shots with 3X optical zoom, play MP3s, or record voice during lectures and meetings, Toshiba says. The camera is also ready to serve as a webcam through a supplied USB cable and a tripod for stabilizing the image.
LG's 19-inch S900-UP73K
The SEK 2007 expo has been used by LG to premiere the Xnote S900-UP73K, which -- at 19 inches -- should be one of the largest laptops on the market. Positioned as a desktop replacement, it uses a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 1GB of RAM, as well as a 256MB GeForce 8600M for video. Maximum native resolution is 1440x900. The optical drive meanwhile is a Super Multi model, and the stock hard drive is an abnormally large 320GB. Wireless comes in the form of 802.11a/b/g. A Korean release is due for July; plans beyond this are unknown. [via AVING]
FON La Fontenna
Communal Internet provider FON this morning released La Fontenna, a unique external antenna made just with the company's La Fonera Wi-Fi router in mind. The directional antenna plugs into the back and can boost the signal strength between three to five times in a particular facing and helps either draw in more potential customers for the public side of the access point or covers weak spots for private use. A three-meter cable lets the antenna fit around corners or otherwise sit in the best place for coverage.
Toshiba X205 Preview
Toshiba today gave a preview of its upcoming Satellite X205 notebook that provides full details of the system in advance of its release. Shown in Europe as the X200-20, the 17-inch system will stand in as a desktop replacement and will include either a 256MB or 512MB GeForce 8700M GT to appeal to gamers, depending on the model. Every version will have a harman/kardon sound system with Dolby Home Theater for producing both virtual surround through included speakers and full surround through external hardware, Toshiba says.
Apple and the climate
Apple has ranked near the bottom of scorecard that purportedly ranks tech companies' impact on the climate through energy use and material production, according to a new survey. Climate Counts is nonprofit organization funded by Stonyfield Farm, Inc, claims to gauge a company's climate change impact based on factors like whether the companies have taken steps to reduce their impact on global warming, measured their overall climatic footprint, and disclosed their climate actions. "Apple scored a mere 2 points for beginning to review its overall impact. Climate Counts found no information to suggest Apple supports climate-friendly public policy, discloses its climate stance, or measures its overall impact on global warming."
Xcode 3.0, Objective-C 2.0
Xcode 3.0 and Objective-C 2.0 are both on their way in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), scheduled for release in October. The former provides much-anticipated enhancements for Apple's IDE, offering developers to see errors and warnings in their code without opening a build messages window, and offering Inline balloons point to the locations of errors. Code completion features cpme in the form of a drop-down list of completion options with the selections narrow as the user continues to type. Computerworld also notes some significant performance improvements: "[...] of interest to those developers new to the Mac -- and possibly to object-oriented development -- are improvements that speed the editor's handling of large source code files. Apple claims to open and scroll through big monolithic code files up to 10 times faster than before."
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