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: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives