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Mozilla.org has released Sunbird 0.5, a new version of its standalone calendar application. The new release has a much more polished user interface in the calendar views. It also re-adds working hours and automatic migration of data in Sunbird 0.2, iCal.app, and Evolution. The printing functionality has been improved, and there is support for Google Calendar (via the Google Calendar Provider extension). Finally, there are reliability, performance, and usability improvements. The software requires Mac OS X 10.2.x or later.
Review, iTunes gift cards
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Data Backup 3, AT&T plans to begin selling iTunes Gift Cards starting June 29th, Apple Expo is set to take place between September 25-29th this year at Porte De Versailles in Paris, the Jaman movie download service is offering Apple TV owners a taste of high-definition entertainment, and ShaggyMac has added a cleaning sponge to its line of laptop accessories. MacNN has reviewed Data Backup 3 from ProSoft Engineering ($60, shown at right), an application designed to help users back up files on Mac systems without much hassle while also providing numerous options for backup media. Users can back up everything but the system, all documents as well as data files, everything in a particular user's folder, and more.
Jobs on iPhone strategy
During Apple's town-hall meeting earlier today, company CEO Steve Jobs outlined his beliefs on how the iPhone will permanently change the mobile phone business. The executive also described the iPhone as the third leg to a chair -- signifying Apple's overall business -- with the two existing legs consisting of the iPod+iTunes business and the company's successful Mac computer line. The fourth leg to the chair, according to Jobs as cited by Ars Technica, is the Apple TV. Apple's chief described the company's existing Macs as the best new product pipeline, and detailed forthcoming products as "off the charts."
Sanyo Katana DLX Leak
A sequel to Sanyo's well-known Katana flip-phone is real and close at hand, a leak on Sprint's own developer site shows. Virtually complete, the handset should be at least as slender and will have all the staple features expected of a mid-range phone, including a camera with still and video capture support, Bluetooth, and EVDO mobile broadband. Media playback support should be broad with AAC audio and H.264 video joining more typical MP3, MPEG-4, and other formats. The now standard microSD card slot should be accompanied by 96MB of internal flash.
Talkety iPhone VOIP
The VOIP service Talkety states that it is now supporting the iPhone without special software, as required by other VOIP providers such as Skype. After signing up for one of Talkety's service plans, callers can simply visit talkety.com from their iPhone, and after logging in, the site will display Talkety contacts in a scheme similar to the iPhone's own. The site can dial both these and new numbers, and tap into a "recently dialed" list, or conference with up to 50 other people through a Pro service account.
BlackBerry 8830 at Sprint
Sprint on Thursday revealed that it will be the second provider to carry the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition in the US, giving the subscribers to its network an opportunity to roam more easily beyond North America. Shifting to a black color versus the silver of the Verizon model, the smartphone will share the same unlocked SIM card slot and allow connections to GSM networks as well as its native CDMA. Customers will have the choice of either signing up for a custom Sprint plan or leaving the GSM card open to sign for another provider altogether if they expect to use an outside network for a long time, the company says.
iPhone availability tool
Although an Apple press release stated that the function would not be ready until 9 PM, an iPhone availability locator for Apple retail stores is already working. The mechanism displays a green indicator for stores that are carrying the iPhone (which, at this point, appears to be every Apple retail store in existence) and a red light for stores that are not carrying the device. As previously reported, all of the 164 Apple retail stores in the US will stay open until midnight, after closing from 2 pm until the launch at 6 p.m. The company also announced that customers can purchase up to two iPhones on a first come, first served basis. The iPhone will go on sale at Friday, June 29 at 6:00 p.m. local time at Apple retail stores and corporate-owned AT&T locations nationwide.
AT&T: iPhone accessories
AT&T is planning to offer an assortment of Apple branded and third-party accessories alongside the highly anticipated iPhone launch slated for tomorrow evening, according to AT&T documents obtained by MacNN. Various accessories will be available in AT&T Stores as well as online via its eStore, but the carrier warns that selection may vary by location. Apple branded accessories scheduled for availability at launch include the iPhone Travel Charger, iPhone In-Box Stereo Headset, iPhone Bluetooth Mono-earbud, iPhone Bluetooth Travel Cable, and iPhone Dock Connector to USB Cable. Third-party accessories will include Black Nappa Leather Sleeves, Vertical as well as Horizontal cases, armbands, leather wrapped holsters, clear plastic shells, vehicle power adapters, Shure stereo headsets, and a series of colored gel accessories.
Moving contacts to iPhone
Cotinuing the influx of information from AT&T, the carrier has also explained the means of transferring contacts from other devices to the iPhone, which does not read contacts from a SIM card like other GSM devices. The most efficient and inexpensive method is to make sure the contacts are in format that can be imported by iTunes, which means that users must have a Mac, or else Microsoft's Outlook or Outlook Express. If none of these are an option, AT&T will insist that customers either manually transfer the contacts themselves, or turn to help from one of the company's storefronts.
Japan Reaps iPhone Rewards
Although Apple stands to benefit directly from selling the iPhone, some of the company's eventual challengers in the mobile phone world should also profit from the device, according to contacts within the display business. Japanese firms Sharp and Toshiba are said to be involved in manufacturing the LCD portion of the touchscreens that sit at the heart of the device, even though they themselves produce phones that should compete with the Apple either immediately (Sharp) or for eventual releases in Asia and Europe (Toshiba). Epson is also involved, the sources say.
QuarkXpress 7.2 Server
QuarkXPress Server 7.2 has been released, adding a new XML capability that can repurpose content created in QuarkXPress into other systems, such as an e-mail server, Web server or other content delivery environments. The new release supports http, SOAP, .net, ASP, PHP, JSP and includes a Java manager for the development of automated and scalable publishing solutions. At a base functional level, QuarkXpress Server is designed to publish Web-to-print and variable data publishing (VDP) solutions that automate the creation of creative material. Other new features include improved output accuracy: Job Jackets helps ensure that a print job adheres to the user's specifications from creation to production. The new release is also a Universal Binary.
Apple employee iPhones
Apple chief Steve Jobs today promised to provide all full-time Apple employees with free 8GB iPhones, and bequeathed all part-time employees who have been with the company for more than one year free iPhones as well. The company head today informed Apple workers at a town-hall meeting of the decision, but the free handsets won't likely appear in the hands of employees until consumer demand dies down following the initial launch. Apple's iPhone scheduled to hit AT&T and Apple store shelves tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. ET.
MySpace TV Live
Quickly validating its preview, MySpace today kicked off the launch of MySpace TV. A separate but closely-linked part of the company's social networking site, the page brings many of the channels and sorting features of YouTube but promises far stronger social tools: in addition to tracking favorite video producers, MySpace subscribers can also tag clips to put them into a profile and personalize a video channel based on their tastes and past viewing history.
Plantronics Voyager 520
In addition to its wired headsets, Plantronics today also unwrapped a lone Bluetooth headset that will ship relatively soon after the iPhone's appearance in stores. The Voyager 520 is designed to be comfortable and technically capable enough to last an entire working day, with a soft ear hook and up to eight hours of continuous calls on a single lithium-ion battery charge. Call controls are also as simple as possible with the answer button doubling as a rocker switch for adjusting volume.
Unlocked India iPhone
Although the iPhone will likely not be available officially in India for at least another year, the device may make its debut unofficially there in as little as a month. Shipments of the iPhone are already, reportedly, being smuggled to the country and unlocking techniques are being developed that would allow the phone to work on any network in India for a price of Rs 1,000 or Rs 1,500 (about $25-$35). "Unlocking the iPhone isn't tough," a dealer in central Delhi told Business Standard. In the grey markets of Palika Bazar or Sarojini Nagar, an entry-level iPhone will be available for Rs 30,000 (about $715).
Finale 2008 unveiled
MakeMusic has unveiled Finale 2008, the latest upgrade to its music software that boasts unprecedented playback options as well as major productivity enhancements and improved control. Finale 2008 records/imports a mono or stereo audio file to enhance playback, includes more than 250 world-class instrument sounds from the makers of the Garritan Personal Orchestra, and offers multiple sound libraries that work together. The company is already accepting pre-orders for Finale 2008, which is scheduled to ship in July.
iPhone Highest Buzz Yet
The buzz surrounding the iPhone may be as intense as those for some of the best-known product launches in history without requiring as much effort, according to analysts. An observation by expert Michael Gartenberg of JupiterResearch today notes that while Apple is likely to have spent roughly $100 million promoting the iPhone enroute to its Friday launch, the company's existing reputation and careful management of press should get the device more attention than Microsoft's August 1995 release of Windows 95 despite spending half as much on marketing.
iPhone return and repair
AT&T today said it would offer the ability to opened iPhones and that users would be able to use the provide iPhone SIM card in other AT&T phones. Through efforts, MacNN has managed to obtain information on the return and warranty policies for the iPhone, including the ability to reuse SIM cards. At AT&T's retail stores (kiosks are inelligible), both the phone and Apple's Bluetooth headset will have a 14-day return policy, which is applicable only with an AT&T receipt and all of the original equipment. If a box has been opened, AT&T will take 10 percent off the refund as a re-stocking fee. All other iPhone products -- first- or third-party -- will fall under AT&T's normal 30-day return policy, including the wireless service. Critically, AT&T will not accept products bought directly from Apple, and it will not handle "dead on arrival" iPhones.
Additune is a new music recommendation application that is only for Mac OS X. It is designed to help you grow your existing iTunes playlists by looking at each playlist's "unique mood." Select a playlist from your iTunes library and Additune will recommend songs that extend your playlist. Additune can also recommend songs that fit your current mood by looking at what songs you've been listening to lately. The developer says "Additune can recommend songs you don't yet have or if you just want to mix something up fast, Additune can recommend songs that are already in your library." The tool is free with no ads. The developer makes money on the referral fees from the songs that are recommend, allowing us to provide you with a great product free of charge. Additune is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X 10.4.
Blu-Ray Five Free Movies
The Blu-Ray Disc Association today raised the stakes in the HD format wars by launching a new promo it hopes will tip the balance. Countering a surge in HD DVD sales triggered by recent price cuts, the majority of Blu-Ray player manufacturers and film studios have agreed to give away five free movies with each new player. Movies can be hand-picked but will be drawn from a selection of 21 titles that varies from major releases such as Babel to older titles such as Species. The players themselves will include all models from major companies -- including the PlayStation 3, the news suggests.
Eos wireless speakers
Taking a stab at the speaker system market occupied by Sonos and others, IntelliTouch has debuted its Eos wireless satellite speaker system for use with the iPod. Using non-WiFi (but "WiFi-friendly) wireless transmission technology, the speaker system links up to four remote speakers, purportedly delivering interference-free CD sound quality (48Khz). The wireless transfer method uses error correction and a unique frequency hopping scheme for a real-world indoor range of up to 150 feet (50 meters) through walls, floors and ceilings. In open outdoor environments, Eos can broadcast in excess of 300 feet (100 meters).
Radeon HD price cut?
In publicizing its new Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 video cards, announced as shipping earlier this month, AMD has apparently exposed lower prices. Whereas the 2400 series was previously intended to debut at a base of about $99, new figures suggest a range of $50 to $85; the 2600 cards, meanwhile, should cost no more than $149, rather than the former $199 limit.
No reason for the price change has been given, but competition from Nvidia may be the most likely incentive. The company recently released the GeForce 8400 GS, a comparable low-end card that costs just $69. In the mid-range, the 8500 GT is $89, and the 8600 GT is $150.
Corporate email on iPhone
Visto today announced that it is offering corporate email functionality for Apple's iPhone along with end-to-end security. Through Visto, iPhone users can experience secure mobile access to current as well as legacy versions of both Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino corporate messaging platforms. Visto enables access that is easy to implement and administer, alleviating IT concerns regarding security as well as reliability, according to the company. Industry watchers cited the iPhone's lack of corporate email support as a major factor in the device's potential for adoption among business customers, as well as the question of whether the handset would support Microsoft Word/Excel documents. Apple answered that question with a recently posted online tour of the device which revealed support for viewing both types of documents in email messages.
Gateway E-295c & C-140
Gateway has updated its 14-inch convertible tablet PC, which is being sold now in home and professional versions. Both are directed mainly at animators and illustrators, since they come with a pen and digitzer by Wacom, who specializes in digital art. The pen has 256 levels of sensitivity for different effects, and will register contact even when used at a slant.
The pro version of the tablet is the E-295c, which can be configured up to a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, and 4GB of RAM; similarly, buyers can stick with integrated graphics, or upgrade to a 128MB Mobility Radeon X2300 HD. Users can choose between Windows XP Tablet or Vista Business at no cost difference. The base price of the system is $1,549.
Altec-Lansing PT Speakers
Leaving the safe harbor of its traditional computer speaker business, Altec-Lansing this morning launched its Powered Theater line made just for home theater setups. The two-piece PT8051 and larger, one-piece PT7031 use NXT panel speakers to produce a full-room sound without the cabinet depth needed for conventional audio. The choice is an ideal fit for LCDs and plasmas where space is as much a concern as quality, Altec-Lansing says.
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece from Scottevest and is offering 20 percent off the sweatshirt to MacNN readers until July 10th, Playboy.com has launched the 'iPlayboy' for Apple's iPhone, the largest water park in Europe alongside the Italian Radio Deejay station are organizing the first European meeting for iPod owners, and RailsConf Europe 2007 is set to kick off September 17th in Berlin, Germany. MacNN's review of the Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece -- a technology-oriented sweatshirt with built-in iPod controls and internalized headphone wiring -- comes alongside a promotional deal from Scottevest: MacNN readers can purchase the sweatshirt (normally $70, shown at right) at a 20 percent discount until July 10th by using the coupon code 'MacNN' during checkout.
iPhone Prepaid Fallback
AT&T is eager enough to sell iPhones that it will even offer a prepaid option in extreme cases, the company has revealed through a leaked launch guide. While the provider will still insist that all normal sales choose a two-year contract, it will also ask to perform an advance credit check during the sales process that should offer a contract-free option: those with low or uncertain credit will have the option of choosing a GoPhone Pick Your Plan service that demands regular payments but doesn't set a mandatory term, according to the document.
Punch! debuts ViaCAD 2D/3D
Punch! Software has released the first version of ViaCAD 2D/3D, available for both the Mac and Windows. A general-purpose design program, it allows users to create curves, NURBS surfaces and solid objects, as well as automatically draft 2D drawings based on 3D renderings. Parts are drawn from a library of 26,000 symbols, and extensive training aids are at hand. Among the 300 tools in ViaCAD are skins, covers and nets for NURBS, local face editing tools for foreign parts, and controls for mass properties and interference checking. A highlighted feature is the LogiCursor, which attempts simplify 3D by anticipating a user's moves. The Mac OS X software is a Universal Binary and costs $100.
FontAgent Pro Server 2.0
Insider Softare today released FontAgent Pro Server 2.0 (site not updated), offering professional font management with integrated diagnostics and repair functionality. The software aims to offer administrators consistency and control over font use by providing designers with access to only those fonts that are designated for specific users, groups, and projects. The latest release includes an advanced multi-threated architecture that takes full advantage of Apple's Intel-based Macs, as well as multi-core Mac systems which results in a five- to ten-fold increase in font-server speed and scalability, according to Insider Software. FontAgent Pro Server 2.0 is priced at $1,700 per server, with each user requiring a licensed version of FontAgent Pro ($130 per seat). The server software requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Hitachi TVs June 2007
Hitachi on Thursday made one of its most substantial TV upgrades in recent months with both LCDs and plasma sets receiving a major improvement. Unlike some launches, every model in the upgrade is capable of a 1080 vertical resolution and focuses on large screens, the company says. Topping announcements is the Director's Series P60X901: at 60 inches, the plasma TV is the largest ever from Hitachi in the class and displays a full 1920x1080 picture. It also debuts a new interpolation technique, dubbed Reel60, that eliminates the juddering effect created by pulldown conversion of 24 frames-per-second film rates to the TV's native 60-frame speed. The 60-inch model and a smaller but equally specified 50-inch P50X901 will ship in August at prices of $8,000 and $4,300 respectively.
15 percent want iPhone
A new poll on iPhone demand takes a more optimistic appraisal than other recent surveys. According to a Harris Interactive poll of more than 10,400 people between the ages of 13 and 64, 15 percent are at least somewhat likely to buy an iPhone, within which one percent is absolutely certain they will be buying. However, while four percent of the "somewhat likely" group wants to buy as soon as they can, 55 percent is willing to wait for a price cut, and an overlapping 49 percent wants to know how good the product is in practice.
Verizon on iPhone Launch
Verizon today announced that its retail stores would remain open until 9PM on Friday, attempting to draw customers away from the high-profile launch of the iPhone. Some of the carrier's phone features may lure customers away, the company claims. The company pays particular attention to cost and notes that many of its phones cost $100 or less, including some music-capable versions.
"Customers can select a mobile phone that fits their style, their mood and best of all, their wallet," Verizon says.
Plantronics and its sub-label Altec-Lansing today launched several new earphone sets, including a trio of headsets made for the iPhone and most cellphones. The Upgrader UHS 302, 306, and 307 each have inline microphones with volume control and a switch to flip between calls and music; the 302 is an over-the-ear design with clips to keep the pads at a proper fit, while the 306 and 307 both rely on in-ear tips with differences stemming from their choices of more quality-oriented SnugFit shape for the 306 and a stable, exercise-driven AirFit shape for the 307. Versions of these earphones without the microphone, named the UHP series, will also be available, Plantronics says.
15" MacBook Pro LED review
ExtremeTech reviews the new 15" MacBook Pro with an LED screen, noting that while the laptop with desired upgrades and accessories is pricey (about $2900 total), it delivers a virtually unrivaled user experience. The reviewer first notes that the data and setting transfer process from a PowerBook was made almost too easy by apple's Migration assistant -- a total set-up time of 40 minutes. Commenting on the new MacBook Pro's most compelling feature, the LED-backlit screen, the reviewer notes that the display is much brighther than his PowerBook's display. And the built-in iSight is identified as an oft-overlooked boon. "(With my PowerBook) I never could find a good place to put the (iSight); it was always in the wrong spot. Well no more worries about that, my MacBook Pro has the camera built right into the top of the screen. I can easily just look right into the camera when I'm vidoeconferencing without giving it a second thought. Since the camera is no longer a headache, I've found that using video chat is a lot more fun and a lot more useful."
LEvertigo laptop cases
Be.ez has announced the availability of the LEvertigo range of cases in the United States. The cases are designed specifically to house the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. Be.ez officials said "the Vertical design allows you to have the bag close to your body at all times, and with the padded computer sleeves and secret zipped pockets you are left with a protective and secure transporter bag. The range consists of five different color schemes catering for everyone's taste; LEvertigo Pearl, LEvertigo Prune, LEvertigo Kakee, LEvertigo Ebene and LEvertigo (Street)." There is the LEvertigo (Street) that sports a protective satchel and the vertical positioning; the LEvertigo Kakee, a cotton wax bag; and the LEvertigo Ebene a dark variation in the LEvertigo range. The cases are priced at $60 for the LEvertigo Street and $70 for all other models.
Apple limits iPhones sales
Apple today officially announced that its iPhone will go on sale at Friday, June 29 at 6:00 p.m. local time at Apple retail stores nationwide and that the Apple's online store will also begin taking orders at 9 pm ET on Friday, June 29th. All of the 164 Apple retail stores in the US will stay open until midnight, after closing from 2 pm until the launch at 6 p.m. The company also announced that customers can purchase up to two iPhones on a first come, first served basis. In addition, beginning Saturday morning, Apple will be offering customers free, in-depth workshops offered throughout the day at all Apple retail stores and said that it will offer support for iPhone at the Genius Bar and personal training through Apple's new One to One program. The company's retail stores are also expected to offer expanded summer hours for the iPhone, opening at 9 a.m. everyday. The release also said that customers can check iPhone availability at their local Apple retail store starting at 9:00 p.m. the night before on the Web.
Logitech Carl Zeiss Webcam
Logitech this morning chose to revamp its webcam line with two new webcams using optics previously reserved for dedicated photo cameras. Both the desktop-minded QuickCam Pro 9000 and QuickCam Pro for Notebooks use Carl Zeiss-made Tessar glass lenses that provide sharper pictures than normal webcam-grade or plastic lenses. They similarly share a refined autofocus system that can properly center on a subject slightly less than four inches from the lens. Both further record at a standard-ratio HD resolution of 960x720 at full speed, a useful addition for full-screen video.
K100D Super digital SLR
Pentax today update its entry-level 6.1 megapixel digital SLR camera: the K100D Super digital SLR, the newest member of the K Series, combines the Pentax Shake Reduction (SR) system, an innovative Dust Removal (DR) system, and full compatibility with Pentax SDM lenses. The camera now Incorporates the Pentax-original Dust Removal (DR) system, which was previously available only in more advanced models; it helps keep the CCD surface dust-free to ensure spotless images, while also offering full compatibility with Pentax SDM lenses. The camera is compatible with every Pentax SLR lens, offers a large 2.5 inch LCD monitor with 210,000 pixel resolution, and utilizes a friendly Mode Dial featuring Auto Picture and Picture modes as well as new Scene modes for simpler photography.
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