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Q3 earnings expectations
In its third-quarter financial results, due on July 25th, Apple is expected to earn 72 cents a share on revenue of $5.29 billion, up from 54 cents a share on $4.37 billion in sales posted in the same quarter a year ago according analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. In its second quarter, Apple announced revenue of $5.26 billion and net quarterly profit of $770 million, or $.87 per diluted share.
ThinkPad laptop turns 15
The ThinkPad, created by IBM and currently sold by Lenovo, today celebrated its 15th anniversary. On July 19th 1992, the former released the 2521 tablet (right), for which the name "ThinkPad" was originally secondary. It had a 10-inch, 640x480 monochrome display, and ran off a 20MHz 386SX processor; network connections were made via a 2.4Kbps modem, and users who wanted a keyboard or removable storage had to connect the devices externally. RAM was limited to 4 or 8MB, but it did have a 20MB solid-state hard drive, technology only now regaining favor in mobile computing.
ColorWare custom iPhones
ColorWare, famous for creating and selling custom-painted iPods and Zunes, has now turned its attentions to the iPhone. Shoppers can pick from a variety of solid and metallic colors for virtually any aspect of their phone, from the frame and back, to the earbuds and Apple logo. Each part is manually disassembled and painted using a hybrid technique, which ColorWare says is half-borrwed from the automotive industry. The company further has two purchase options: buyers can order a new, pre-painted phone, or send in their existing one for the cost of $150 plus shipping. New 4 and 8GB ColorWare iPhones cost $650 and $750, respectively.
LaCie Big Disk Extreme+
LaCie has begun taking orders for the 2TB version of the Big Disk Extreme+, which differs from the basic Big Disk by including FireWire 400 and 800 ports in addition to a USB 2.0 connection. Drives are housed in aluminum alloy casing, and a "smart" fan system adjusts cooling as needed. In common with other LaCie drives, a utlity lets users hit the front blue button to engage a particular program, normally backup software -- EMC Retrospect is included. The 2TB Extreme+ should ship later this month for $850 (website says early August); the company also offers 1TB ($350), and 1.5TB ($600) capacities. [pricing corrected]
Scratch-proof iPhone skin
BodyGuardz has introduced an allegedly scratch-proof, transparent skin for the iPhone. The company says the skin is manufactured from the same material used to protect the front of automobiles from stones and other abrasive elements. Note that this is not a protector for the iPhone's screen, but rather for the iPhone's body. The manufacturer says "BodyGuardz protective film is the toughest film on the market today and requires no special care or maintenance." The company has also posted a video demonstration for applying the protector on YouTube. Each pack includes two Complete BodyGuardz, and is priced at $25.
Sony's European division today announced the DAV-X10, a compact home receiver for budget home theaters or those with tight spaces. An internally developed virtual surround technique known as S-Force PRO generates the immersive audio effect while using only two satellite speakers and a central subwoofer, producing a combined 480W of power. HDMI routing ensures that the device can both accept surround sound built into HD sources and upscale video from lower-resolution DVD and TV sources up to either 720p or 1080i. Owners of Sony's Bravia TV sets can also use the HDMI linkup to control the receiver through their main remote control.
120GB PlayStation 3?
The president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, David Reeves, has hinted at the possibility of a 120GB PlayStation 3. Speaking with the Norwegian site Dagbladet, Reeves downplayed the likelihood of bringing the 80GB model to Europe, arguing that an extra 20GB would not be worth the expense for most buyers. He suggested however that a double-sized console could be justifiable -- "So maybe you'll see something a little bit later," he added.
Broadcom Helps Verizon
Broadcom will offer Verizon a unique deal to let the US provider continue importing cellphones in spite of a trade ban, according to a deal unveiled today. Although the block put in place by the International Trade Commission directly touches on allegedly infringing Qualcomm patents used by many of Verizon's phones -- effectively banning new models from shipping to the US -- Broadcom has said it will grant a special license to allow the new devices to reach the carrier. Under the deal, Verizon will pay $6 for every cellphone or notebook data card that can use EVDO Internet access but will not have to pay more than $40 million per calendar quarter and will be capped at $200 million regardless of the ban's duration.
OmniGraffle 4.2 update
Omni Group has published the the last-ever v4.x update for OmniGraffle, v4.2. OmniGraffle is used to create charts, graphs and diagrams, and features options like smart guides, Bezier curves, and the ability to import and/or export to PDF, PICT and OmniOutliner. The upgrade improves import and export for Microsoft Office Visio, and has been localized in languages including French, German, Spanish and simplified Chinese. Two versions are available: a basic package costs $80, but is missing Professional aspects like Visio, tables, and multi-page documents. The Pro software costs $150; both editions are Universal Binaries for Mac OS X 10.4.
Toshiba 10K Battery Recall
Toshiba today issued a small but significant recall of notebook batteries for systems made between January and April 2006, citing three incidents in the past ten months in which similar batteries have caught fire. Covering mostly Japanese AX and TX models but also including local and international versions of the Satellite A100, the recall is said to only be essential for 5,100 models but has been expanded to 10,000 units to replace batteries which include some of the lithium-ion cells affected by the problem.
iMac turns into giant iPod
In brief: Ive receives design award, 15-day weather forecast, emoticon texting for iPhone, iMac turns into giant iPod , Mad Men to launch on iTunes and more .... Apple's Jonathan Ive received yet another award for his outstanding product design work at Apple. The design guru--whose official title is vice president of industrial design at Apple--has won numerous awards over the years for his work on the iMac, iBook, and iPod. On Wednesday, the National Design Awards were presented at the White House yesterday to 10 top designers and architects, including iPod designer Ive and Adobe, which developed the industry-standard Photoshop graphics application. Sponsored by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, a New York arm of the Smithsonian Institution, the awards US First Lady Laura Bush said that the "union of form and function has changed the way we peel potatoes and brush our teeth. Your design has made it more fun to go back in time and play oldies on our iPods and to really go back in time by doctoring our photos on Photoshop," according to the Washington Post. It was announced that Ive had won the award in May.
Velocity Home Server Leak
System builder Velocity Micro is readying a network media hub based on Microsoft's newly completed Windows Home Server. The highly stylized system will be both relatively powerful and quiet thanks to a current-generation processor based on Intel's current Core 2 architecture; a heavily ventilated case with special cooling should render the system all but silent, Velocity says. Custom orders will outfit the system with varying levels of storage into the terabyte range spread across multiple SATA drives. External SATA and USB will fill in the gaps for customers who need easily removable storage.
Macware is shipping the first version of MacFreelance, primarily an invoice and billing application. Charges can be timed or fixed, and billed in scales ranging from minutes to months. To handle worldwide sales, international currencies are supported along with the calculation of up to four different taxes. Aside from its main purposes, the program also lets users create client lists, track payments, and monitor time and mileage. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 and costs $40.
HumanSoftware Squizz! 4.8
HumanSoftware has released the v4.8 update to Squizz!, a plug-in for Adobe Elements 2 through 5, and Photoshop CS through to CS3. The program is used to distort images, particularly for wrapping them around other objects; it is also designed to be superior to Photoshop's own Liquefy, with no brush limits, and a unique grid tool. The update adds features such as a Bezier grid, a brush with a "freeze" option, and the ability to distort with an envelope. Finally, it has been converted into a Universal Binary. The plug-in costs $150 new, but can be upgraded for prices starting at $30.
iPhone nano Before Holiday
The initially discredited "iPhone nano" may be real, purportedly very reliable sources have told AppleInsider. Apple is said to have been developing a smaller, lower-priced version of its phone to be ready just months after the June release of the flagship model. Timing has been close enough that engineering efforts for the sister device were already wrapping up as the current, full-size phone began production, according to the report. Appearances are said to represent a cross between the iPhone and the iPod nano and to focus only on media functions, with at least some Internet-based functions limited or removed altogether.
UDMA 6 CompactFlash
SynchroTech has announced the CFFire800, a FireWire 800-based CompactFlash Drive Read-Writer. The device uses UDMA Mode 6 (ULTRA ATA/133), and features purported read speeds of up to 43MBs with Lexar's new UDMA 300X and 39MBs with SanDisk's Extreme IV CompactFlash cards. It requires no drivers on supported Macintosh or Windows systems and plugs into 9-pin FireWire 800 (1394b) ports. It also utilizes bus power, requiring no external adapter. The reader supports various CompactFlash standards, including PIO Modes 1-4, DMA Modes 0-2, and UDMA Modes 0-6. It uses a single CompactFlash slot for CompactFlash Type I and II including Hitachi Microdrives and other CFII+ rotating media. The CFFire800 is priced at $60, with an optional CompactFlash Type I to 16-bit PC Card Type I/II Adapter for $26.
Samsung G600 Official
Samsung today kicked off the official release of the G600, its latest camera and media-focused cellphone. The slider design makes use of the company's latest refinements in sensors to provide a 5-megapixel camera in a 14.9mm (0.6-inch) frame, including 5X digital zoom and an LED flash for night shots. A front camera is provided for video calls and is accompanied by unspecified 3G wireless (likely UMTS). Users also have a wide range of choices for music, according to Samsung: FM radio and a microSD slot are backed by a still-rare USB 2.0 port that helps sideload MP3 music and other files quickly.
Sprint and Clearwire WiMAX
Sprint and Internet provider Clearwire today struck a deal that would see the two companies jointly build WiMAX networks, creating the first genuinely US-wide service of its type. While both companies will build their own segments individually, subscribers to the future services will be able to use either network. Branding, the network backbone and the development of the 4G service's future technology will also be shared, both companies said. Sprint in particular will take on the majority of phone-related development, offering dual-role CDMA and WiMAX devices as well as helping virtual carriers such as Helio use WiMAX should they decide to support it.
Nokia Assisted GPS
Nokia today announced that its Nokia Maps service could now use assisted GPS, providing owners of the right handsets with a much quicker way of tracking their position. As hinted in a software leak, Nokia devices with built-in GPS receivers will now be able to use their Internet access to check their position against online information and help the GPS chipset acquire its first position fix sooner. The technique improves lock-on times by about 25 percent and also helps in situations when 2.5G or 3G access is strong but GPS is weak, according to informal tests. Local carriers will also be able to replace Nokia's servers with their own for more accurate regional mapping.
Recosoft PDF2ID 1.0
Recosoft has announced the first version of its PDF2ID, a document conversion plug-in. The software takes PDF files and formats them for Adobe InDesign, reconstructing the original layouts by arranging styles, paragraphs, graphics and more. Users can further customize how PDF2ID does the conversion, selecting which elements to include, and whether they should use their old positioning or be imported raw. The plug-in relies on a client-server architecture, and is said to be optimized for multi-core processors. Mac OS X 10.3 and Adobe InDesign CS2/CS3 are required; the program will launch in September, but buyers who pre-order will receive a copy of the beta in advance.
Sonny releases Bookends 10
Sonny Software has launched Bookends 10, the latest version of its reference, bibliography and general information management program. The software lets users list, tag and search files, organize them into smart groups, and download new ones directly from sources such as Amazon, PubMed and the Library of Congress. Version 10 introduces an improved, customizable interface, including a built-in viewer for PDF, image and text files. Users can now also rate their references, and combine Spotlight searches with those in databases and smart groups. An upgrade is $30; the full program is $70 for students, and otherwise $100. Mac OS X 10.4 is required.
iPhone Vodafone Hack
The iPhone may have been successfully activated on a network outside of AT&T without approval, according to a UK report. A user who bought both an iPhone and an AT&T prepaid SIM card says that he used the recently developed iASign hack to enable the phone's basic use, but promptly placed the SIM into an unused phone, asking Vodafone to enable the device on its network; reactivating the phone again using iASign allowed the phone to operate natively on the European carrier's network, he says.
Firefox 188.8.131.52 (free) popular open-source Web browser. This release fixes security holes related to XPCNativeWrapper pollution, unauthorized access to wyciwyg:// documents, remote code execution by launching Firefox from Internet Explorer, file type confusion due to %00 in name, privilege escalation using an event handler attached to an element not in the document, frame spoofing while window is loading, XSS using addEventListener and setTimeout, crashes with evidence of memory corruption and more.[Download - 17MB]
Downfall 2.7.1 ($20) 3D falling-blocks game. It consists of over 30 different boards to play. All the boards have special blocks like indestructibles, dynamite sticks, snow shovels, wrecking balls etc. This updated version includes the following changes: The pop-up help, the dialogs and the options menu have all been improved. Some minor design changes and bugfixes. [Download - 1MB]
Hot Plan 1.3 ($20) multi-purpose personal planning tool designed to help users collect and manage their thoughts, ideas, projects, but also bookmarks, links and text clips. Also offers a method to associate target dates to actions and receive notifications when the target date is reached. Version 1.3 introduces a revised user interface, extends the number of export options, adds printing support, introduces a popup calendar for easy dates selection, auto-completion for tags, advanced preferences for backing up the database along with general improvements and optimizations. [Download (demo) - 1.9MB]
Springy 1.3 ($18) archiving utility for Mac OS Users have the ability to see at a glance, the contents of an archive or disk image without being forced to extract any file from it, add, and/or extract files of choice from an existing archive or, as well as previewing them. All archiving tasks can be done via Drag and Drop or through Springy's Finder contextual menu. The new release has support for DMG and ISO disk images, and for PKZip Zip64 standard for ZIP archives. [Download - 6.1MB]
Simon 2.3 ($30) site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks web pages, FTP and DNS servers, local or remote ports or volumes, and other services for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, or HTML reports. This release adds a new Mount service and notifier, allowing mounting and unmounting local, AFP, or SMB volumes, plus extends the MySQL and Script plug-ins to act as notifiers too. [Download - 7.4MB]
Vodafone wants 3G iPhone
The interenational phone carrier Vodafone is saying that while it would like to distribute the iPhone in Europe, its major issue is the lack of 3G in the device. Reuters writes that in a recent Vodafone conference call, during which it reported healthy third-quarter finances, the company expressed doubts about success for the iPhone in Europe using its current design -- its cellular broadband comes in the form of EDGE, a "2.5G" technology that even Apple CEO Steve Jobs has admitted can be slow.
KVH TracVision SlimLine
KVH today introduced its TracVision SlimLine satellite TV receivers for RVs and trailers, hoping to catch vacationers looking to take HDTV with them on the road. All the new models rely on a 12-inch dome with a high-efficiency antenna that captures signals as easily as a 15-inch unit, making it easier to fit the receiver into tight spots; they also boast provider independence and will tune video from DirecTV and DISH as well as Bell Canada's ExpressVu service. New to any KVH set is an optional feature called AutoSwitch that lets DirecTV subscribers flip between HD and SD content as well as pick between any one of three satellites to find the sweet spot for reception.
Mac worm maker
One researcher's revelation that he had developed a new worm for Mac OS X has had unintended repercussions, reports say. The author of Information Security Sell Out says that following the worm announcement, he was at first bombarded by insults, mainly asking for proof of the worm and his identity. This quickly escalated however, leading to death threats, although their seriousness is unknown. "You are lucky you are anonymous or I would put a bullet in your head for this," read one anonymous comment at ISSO.
Core 2 Extreme at 3.33 GHz
Sources close to mainboard designers claimed today that the first processor to use Intel's 45-nanometer Penryn architecture will be a quad-core gaming model with an extensive boost to its clock speed, reflecting a dramatic reduction in power use and the resulting heat output. Although going without a formal model name, the chip would become the top model in the Core 2 Extreme line and would be clocked at 3.33GHz -- about 11 percent higher than the just-announced 3GHz QX6850 and also faster than the future 3.16GHz Xeon. This would also be accompanied by the expected boost in level 2 cache from 8MB to 12MB and the Core 2 Extreme's unlocked multiplier that allows for overclocking when using strong enough cooling.
Apple Media Remote Patent
Apple has been researching technology that would let the iPhone or the iPod double as a remote control for steering playback of music and videos on the Apple TV or other media hubs, according to a new patent filing. The application, originally submitted in December 2005, would let a wireless portable media player synchronized with a server and tell that server to play files based on metadata such as the song name, album, or genre; the server in turn relays its sound to a stereo or a TV using either a wireless method such as the company's AirPort Express audio output feature or a direct, wired connection.
Piper: iPhone income share
Although Apple is already said to be earning a substantial margin on each iPhone, it may be earning extra through its agreement with AT&T, note analysts with the research firm Piper Jaffray. Gene Munster and Michael Olson argue that AT&T is sharing subscription revenue with Apple, based on the circumstances under which a person bought their iPhone. At a minimum, Munster and Olson estimate $3 a month per existing AT&T customer, for the duration of their two-year contract; this figure is said to go up by $8, however, if the person switched to AT&T for the iPhone. Other less likely arrangements range from a mere $5 bonus for new subscriptions, to $7 for current subscribers and $14 for new ones.
ooma Phone Hub
Young Palo Alto firm ooma today revealed a new Internet phone system that it believes could change the American approach to long-distance calls. Based around an ooma Hub plugged into an Internet connection, the system lets any analog phone attached to an ooma Scout peripheral automatically make VoIP calls as though they were on a normal phone line; the use of an online peer-to-peer technology lets the company not only avoid running large numbers of servers but eliminate the connection costs for reaching physical lines or cellphones. Any calls made inside the US become free as a result, ooma says.
JVC Everio HD3
JVC on Thursday expanded its Everio cameras with the HD3, a new model that it says will bring HD video to more people. The 3CCD camera is 27 percent smaller than the HD7 but still produces 1440x1080 video and contains a 60GB hard drive for extensive recording; in extended mode, the camera can record as much as 7 hours of video at full resolution without a substantial drop in quality. Video can also be captured to Class 6 or higher SD and SDHC cards when footage needs to be easily transportable, JVC says. The camera includes a handful of image quality assist tools such as digital shake reduction, aperture or shutter priority, and visual aids for exposure and focus.
AT&T 8525 vs. iPhone
PC World editor-in-chief Harry McCracken, who earlier this year left the publication because an anti-Apple piece was censored, has posted a list of 13 reasons not to get an iPhone, including lack of 3G, inability act as a modem for laptops, no built-in chat client, no slingbox client, a lack of adequate storage space, inability to edit Office documents, no built-in To-Do list, contract requirements and the virtual keyboard. McCracken says he purchased a Windows Mobile-based AT&T 8525 instead, commenting "A week with the iPhone showed me I could be adequately happy tapping out text on its screen. But I'm happier still with real keys with actual tactile feedback--the 8525's slide-out keyboard provides nice big ones with a dedicated period key, real arrow keys, and other luxuries," but admitting "(there are ways) that the iPhone is more impressive than the 8525, and it's just plain fun in a way that the 8525 will never be."
IM iPhone apps
Two new instant messaging Web-based applications for the iPhone have been released. FlickIM is an AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) chat application designed specifically for the iPhone. It features typing status messages, bubble-shaped text boxes and a contact listing. It also sports a sleek grey interface and a specially designed text entry box. iPhoneChatClient uses the IUI interface to closely mim iChat in a sliding list format. Its interface moves relatively quickly, though there aren't great options for holding multiple chats simultaneously and currently there is no buddy icon support.
Office 2008 challenges
When Microsoft releases Office 2008 for Mac OS X (currently in beta) later this year, upgraders will face significant challenges, including the elimination of Visual Basic for Applications scripts and macros -- a factor that will obviate cross-platform capabilities for many organizations. Use of a new file format, OOXML, will also present some issues. The new format is also not compatible with Office 2003 on Windows and Office 2004 on Mac OS X. In order to prepare for the document format shift, Microsoft has released a preliminary conversion package and plans a final version, while Apple reportedly will deliver a copy of TextEdit with Leopard that has the capability to open and save .docx (OOXML) files. Still, the tool strips Office 2007 files of their attached VBA scripts and macros. The Mac BU will ship an updated version of the conversion tool that will allow "editable access to VBA macros sent from Office 2007 users," according to eWeek though no date for that release has yet been set. Presenting an added hurdle, Office 2004 users will have to save documents in new .docm (for Word) or .xlsm (for Excel) formats in order to deal with Windows security concerns. Several users lament Microsoft's decision to encourage transition from Visual Basic to AppleScript; the latter is not cross-platform.
Curio 4 released
Zengobi has released a major upgrade of their brainstorming and project management application for Mac OS X 10.4, Curio 4. The tool features integrated mind mapping, a Snippets and print-to-Curio service for gathering items outside of Curio, an updated customizable interface, and project management features such as assigning resources, start/due dates, durations, priorities, and completion percentages to figure tasks. The new release sports improved searching through its new advanced search shelf and Flashlight file finder, and enhanced inter-application capabilities with its support for embedded messages from Mail, and OPML import and export to and from lists and mind maps. Pricing ranges from $100 for the home version to $150 for the pro version.
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