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In brief: Spike Lee helps auctions an iPhone for charity, the mayor of Philadelphia buys one for himself, iStyles releases its first skins, and David Pogue previews "the missing manual." The charitable foundation Keep A Child Alive has posted an eBay auction for the first iPhone from Apple's SoHo store. Bought by director Spike Lee ("Do the Right Thing," "25th Hour"), the package also includes two Jawbone Bluetooth headsets, and two round-trip tickets for the domestic United States. All of the proceeds will go back to the charity, which pays for the anti-retroviral drugs given to AIDS children in Africa.
Smith Micro Software has announced the release of the first Mac version of Morpheus Photo Animation Suite. The program allows users to apply moving effects to still images, such as mixing bodyparts, morphing between one image and another, or warping portions of an image to exaggerate them. The complete results can be exported to Flash, QuickTime and animated GIF videos, or dissected and saved to still formats such as JPEG, PNG and TIFF. The layouts can be exported to XML, and a sample HTML page can be generated for each clip. Photo Animation Suite is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Apple's in-home activation strategy failed for many customers (login required), including early customers who tried to activate their account or transfer numbers from another carrier. Before using an iPhone, users are required to download iTunes 7.3 and connect their iPhone to the computer, but in some cases, customers were not able to activate their phones. Customer representatives said that the cause was due to the high number simultaneous activations, but the online activation process -- a first for the industry -- appears to have marred the "I want the smile" experience for which Apple and AT&T were hoping. In many cases, customers were greeted with the message "your activation requires additional time to complete" and were told that AT&T would send an e-mail message when complete, leaving many with a $500-600 "slick" paperweight (at least until activated).
In addition to our disassembly photos and our initial unboxing photos, a MacNN forum moderator has posted his first impressions of the iPhone along with his in-line experience, unboxing photos and the activation process.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k