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Refurb Mac minis $519
Apple is offering refurbished Intel-based Mac minis for $519 with a one-year warranty and free shipping. The Cupertino-based company's 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo Mac mini is available for $519 with 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo DVD-ROM/CD burner drive. Apple is also offering its 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo Mac mini for $699 with 512MB of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and a DVD/CD burning "SuperDrive." Apple offers its AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini systems to extend the computer's warranty coverage from one to three years ($149), and ships reconditioned Wireless Keyboards with Bluetooth technology for $49.
iPhone AppleCare arrives
In brief: Apple is now offering AppleCare support for its $499 and $599 iPhones, General Motors has announced that several vehicles will be available with fully integrated dealer-installed iPod connectivity, AT&T has posted its second-quarter financial results with an unexpected number of iPhone activations, and 3Dconnexion's SpaceNavigator 3D mouse will hit Apple Store shelves by the end of August. Apple has officially introduced AppleCare for iPhone, an extended protection plan for the company's new cellular handsets that adds an additional year of hardware repair. Apple's iPhone warranty is available to iPhone owners for $69.
Denon Blu-Ray 1.1 Players
Denon today held an event to launch its first CI-series Blu-Ray players that are the first anywhere with Blu-Ray Profile 1.1 support. The stand-alone DVD-3800BDCI player and its transport-only DVD-2500BTCI equivalent incorporate a secondary AV decoder set that handles advanced special features in movies, such as picture-in-picture director's commentary or downloadable games, subtitles, or other extras that can be saved on a PC and loaded in the player from an SD card.
iPhone revenue-split deal
Apple is receiving unprecedented amounts in a long-suspected revenue-sharing agreement with AT&T, according to the market publication TheStreet. Sources claimed to be close to the two companies suggest that AT&T is paying Apple between $150 and $200 per purchased iPhone, plus another $9 a month for the duration of the mandatory iPhone contract (normally two years). This is even higher than what was predicted by the research firm Piper Jaffray, which amounted to $3 a month for existing AT&T subscribers, and $8 for new customers.
Pioneer 5X Blu-Ray Combo
Pioneer on Tuesday added to its still young Blu-Ray drive lineup and released the BDC-S02, its fastest ever Blu-Ray combo model for desktops. The 3.5-inch drive reads single-layer, 25GB discs as quickly as 5X, besting the 4X of most competitors. Dual-layer Blu-Ray titles can be read at 2X. The Japanese drive maker saves costs by dropping Blu-Ray recording but offers DVD writing closer to desktop drives with 4X dual-layer DVD+/-RW and 12X single-layer discs. Cache is doubled compared to most drives at 4MB and guards against virtually any disc burning errors.
Three new Apple patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued three new patents to Apple, covering a breadth of interests. The most notable may be a new air cooling system, designed to fit into desktop tower Macs resembling the Mac Pro. Using a blend of fins, fans and a shelf, heat in a case is divided into two main zones: one for the CPU, below, and another for the clustered peripherals up top. Reflecting the uneven heat generated, the default layout assigns two fans to the CPU, while the peripherals are limited to one. This can easily be reconfigured however, simply by moving the shelf to create different zones and allow more fans.
Fujitsu 24/7 200GB Drive
Fujitsu's storage division today previewed the MHY2200BS, a new 2.5-inch hard drive created for environments where storage may have to operate 24 hours per day or in rough conditions. An anti-vibration system prevents the drive head and platters from falling out of sync from the shocks triggered by bumps and nearby equipment -- up to 325Gs of shock can be applied while the drive continues to run at its normal 5400RPM speed, Fujitsu says. Power use is also the best possible at just 0.6W while idle.
Workbench 1.1 released
Wolfram Research today released Wolfram Workbench 1.1, the latest revision of its integrated development e4nvironment (IDE) for Methematica technologies. Built on the Eclipse IDE, Workbench 1.1 is designed for all stages of the development process and is fully compatible with Mathematica 6. Key features include support for Mathematica development projects, a specialized Mathematica code editor, syntax coloring, error as well as warning reporting, debugging, profiling, unit testing, and support for gridMathematica as well as webMathematica. Workbench 1.1 adds a Version Migration Assistant to help users optimized Mathematica 5.2 code for Mathematica 6 intelligent Mathematica expression and code-structure search, and the ability to find as well as replace patterns for all Mathematica expressions (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
OLPC Laptop for Public
The One Laptop Per Child project's just completed XO system may be sold to a general audience as early as this year, the group's chief technical officer Lou Jepsen has revealed. While the ultra-economic system has always been targeted at developing world schools that need inexpensive and rugged computers, the interest in the computer and the desire to reduce the cost of the PC for poorer areas may lead to private companies selling the system to the public. Prices would be set much higher at $350 to account for marketing, support, and ultimately shrinking the $175 cost for developing-world governments, Jepsen said.
Senate backs down on P2P
A measure has been withdrawn from the US Senate that would have tied university funding to controlling file sharing. Proposed by the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, it would have amended the Higher Education Reauthorization Act to require prevention of "illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property" before releasing subsidies. In addition, the Department of Education would have received a mandate to identify the top 25 colleges and universities in terms of complaints from copyright owners.
iPhone Bluetooth headsets
Apple has begun shipping its iPhone Bluetooth Headset, and one user has posted photos of the tiny accessory online. The new offering includes the headset itself, a duo dock to charge the iPhone as well as the included headset simultaneously, and a travel cord. A Magsafe connector on the headset provides a secure connection to the dock or cable, and the iPhone screen displays the charge status of both its own battery and the headset when both are plugged into the duo dock. More photos are available from Flickr. [photos]
Samsung will be releasing a series of new phones in Europe -- one of which will bear more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone, according to the preview site for a French event. The P520 (shown) is dominated almost exclusively by a 2.6-inch touchscreen that will share the same design as the Ultra Smart F700 or its smaller cousin the F520 and includes a distinctly black front with chrome trim similar to the Apple device; the home button is replaced with call and answer buttons. The smaller dimensions will make it thinner at 8.9mm (0.35 inches).
New iPhones in 2007?
Taiwan's leading manufacturer of cellular phones -- Quanta Computer -- has obtained orders from Apple to manufacture a new iPhone model, according to a report from CENS. Domestic printed circuit board manufacturers are preparing materials for mass production to meet forthcoming assembly demands of the new iPhones, which are likely to debut some time in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the report. One J.P. Morgan analyst based in Taiwan recently predicted that Apple will unveil a smaller iPod nano-sized iPhone, but the firm's headquarters in the U.S. distanced itself from such claims.
D-Link wireless USB hub
D-Link has unveiled its first wireless USB hub, the DUB-9240. It connects to a Windows PC through a bundled USB dongle, and provides connections for as many as four extra USB devices; full 2.0 speeds are assured up to a distance of 30 feet. The 9240 is unique in that it operates at frequencies of 3.4 and 4.5GHz, preventing interference with standard Wi-Fi receivers, which tend to operate at 2.4GHz. D-Link anticipates a release of the hub by the end of the fourth quarter of 2007; pricing should be approximately $120, and it will require Windows Vista or XP SP2. [via Gearlog]
Sony ES 5300/4300/3300
Sony on Tuesday afternoon revamped its Elevated Standard receivers with three new models, all geared towards supporting Blu-Ray as well as the latest formats in digital audio. Leading the charge is the 5300ES; the first Sony receiver to support multiple rooms, it can output audio or video to a second zone while keeping up to date on the new area through a picture-in-picure display. The premium receiver also carries six HDMI 1.3 inputs with deep color and a 120-watt amp that powers 7.1-channel sound in Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio forms.
HDHomeRun comes to Mac
Elgato Systems today unveiled an exclusive Mac-compatible bundle of the SiliconDust HDHomeRun network TV tuner with EyeTV 2 software. The HDHomeRun hardware is a centralized networked digital TV tuner that users can share via any Mac on a local area network, offering dual tuners that allow two users to watch or record different programs simultaneously. The HDHomeRun tunes ATSC (over-the-air) digital TV via an antenna, as well as unencrypted digital channels over cable (known as Clear QAM) which provides users with a wide range of free SD and HDTV programs that are broadcast on digital TV as well as cable. The HDHomeRun for Mac is available for $200 from Elgato's online store, and includes the HDHomeRun dual-tuner network device as well as EyeTV software for two computers and two RG6 cables. The device also comes with an Ethernet cable for network connectivity and an AC power adapter.
The Japanese company GreenHouse has released a new audio player, the KanaSD. Although limited to MP3 and WMA files, there are two key features to the Kana: the first is size, strongly comparable to Apple's iPod shuffle, which also deliberately omits a screen. But the most crucial may be storage capacity, since rather than use internal flash, the Kana relies on SD, MMC and SDHC cards. This drops the price of the actual player, and gives owners the option of memory between 32MB and 8GB, and possibly more as SDHC cards grow closer to 32GB.
iPods: security threat?
iPods are counted among security threats in a new corporate survey about portable storage. Credant Technologies says that in a private poll of 323 managers and executives across different fields, 67 percent said that iPods were a threat, while 10 percent said they were the greatest threat. Conversely, 78 percent said that USB flash drives were the biggest issue. The alleged danger of iPods is, first, their storage capacity: while USB keys tend to be capped at 16 to 32GB, iPods can hold as much as 80GB, allowing vast amounts of data to be taken, whether maliciously or not.
Alienware SSD Drive Option
Alienware revealed today that for the first time, three of its notebook lines -- the m5550, m9700, and m9750 -- now have the option of a 64GB solid-state hard drive, giving them the quick load times, extra battery life, and absolute shockproofing of flash memory while still providing enough room for games and other core software needed by desktop replacement PCs. The 17-inch m9700 and m9750 models are also the first anywhere to ship with the option of dual flash drives in a RAID stripe that offers the same 64GB space but at an even faster, desktop-like speed. Customers can also establish the best of both worlds with a dual-drive configuration that includes a 32GB flash drive for the OS and a 200GB, 7200RPM conventional hard disk for games and other media, Alienware says.
AAPL slips on AT&T note
Apple shares tumbled this morning after AT&T reported just 146,000 iPhone activations in its first few days on the market, a number far below the Street's expectations after rumors flew that Apple had sold upwards of half a million iPhones during that same period. Worried investors sold Apple shares in droves, causing the stock to slip even before the market opened, according to Reuters. One financial analyst pointed to the lack of an upside surprise on iPhone activations as the cause of the stock slide, but Apple and AT&T reported iPhone sellouts across almost all of their stores within one week of the handset hitting store shelves. The initial iPhone activations could prove to be a misleading figure, as droves of iPhone buyers reported problems when attempting to activate their handsets during the launch, which were later confirmed by AT&T.
Toshiba Gigabeat U103
In tandem with the American Gigabeat U, Toshiba today also gave its home territory the U103, a new spin on the company's entry flash jukebox. The new model embraces the Japanese philosophy of creating harmony within an environment, Toshiba claims, and is available in an unprecedented 24 different colors; buyers can pick colors rarely seen for any music player, such as aqua, forest green, or tan. In contrast to most players, choosing a different color has no effect on features or prices.
Nano sport integration
H2O Audio today began shipping its new Sport Integration System (site not updated), allowing owners of the company's iPod nano case to "quick clip" the protective cover onto various items like backpacks or handlebars. The Sport Integration System provides secure portability for iPod nano owners using H2O Audio's own case with a bike mount that adjusts to fit any standard handlebars, as well a a "thump-tip" feature to keep the player in view while riding or working out. A clothing clip enables quick transfer to and from sports apparel, and a strap mount attaches to backpack shoulder straps for hiking or camping. The Quick Clip Locking System enables quick connections with the bike mount, clothing clip, and strap mount as well as with the company's iPod nano armband. H2O Audio's Sport Integration System is priced at $30, and is available at Apple stores as well as online.
Vista harmed by XP success
Sales of Windows Vista may, paradoxically, be hampered by the very success of Windows XP, writes one technology columnist. An observer with the Microsoft-focused Redmond observes that during July 20th's quarterly earnings call, Microsoft substantially altered its predictions for OS sales during Fiscal Year 2008: Vista revenue is expected to fall from 85 to 78 percent, while XP revenue should actually increase from 15 to 22 percent. Respectively, the two should shrink and grow by about 50 percent.
Amp'd Mobile Closure Delay
The full shutdown of Amp'd in the US has been delayed a week, the company quietly revealed today in its Q&A page. Although customer service is still set to have elapsed today, preventing customers from contacting the provider, subscribers now have until July 31st to either carry their phones directly to other providers, such as Sprint or Verizon, and to port their phone numbers regardless of their new carrier.
Panasonic digital camera
Panasonic today expanded its LUMIX family of digital still cameras by introducing its new LUMIX DMC-FZ18, an 8.1 Megapixel compact camera with an 18x optical zoom. A 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens accompanies "Intelligent Auto Mode" for face detection as well as an Intelligent Scene Selector and continuous auto-focus functionality. Similar to the entire 2007 line of LUMIX digital still cameras, the LUMIX DMC-FZ18 includes advanced countermeasures against blurring which include an Intelligent Image Stabilization system, which combines MEGA Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control to detect and adjust for motion blur caused by subject movement. The new camera also features a 2.5-inch large, high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, a 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, f/2.8 brightness and is powered by the high-performance Venus Engine III capable of shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode. The DMC-FZ18 has been redesigned to make the camera more stylish and easier to use, according to Panasonic, which plans to ship the device in September for $400.
Toshiba Qosmio G45 Ships
Toshiba today rolled out the Qosmio G45 from its factories, signaling the first appearance of notebooks with HD DVD recording. The flagship AV680 model can record dual-layer 30GB discs in the high-definition format as well as legacy CDs and DVDs, and is fully capable of playing movies both on its own 17-inch, 1920x1200 screen and on flat-panel TVs through HDMI output. Graphics are powered by a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT fast enough for both HD videos and the most recent games. Those interested in authoring content can also take advantage of a large amount of storage: the stock model comes loaded with dual 160GB drives.
Apple to hit $1T cap?
A stock market commentator argues that within the next five years, Apple will become the first company to reach a $1 trillion market cap, a 12:1 growth from current valuations. This is based primarily on 2007 estimates of profit and growth: Apple's retail stores, for instance, are said to earn $4,000 per square foot, by that measure the most successful retail venture in the world. iPod sales are expected to grow 50 percent to reach 60 million units, and Mac sales had already grown 100 percent between January 2006 and 2007, with end-of-year sales expected to be 12 million.
WD MyBook 2TB
Western Digital today upgraded its MyBook external drives to 2TB, representing some of the largest external drives yet from the storage maker or any company. The Premium Edition II, Pro Edition II, and World Edition II now all include two of Western Digital's 1TB drives either in a continuous stripe, a mirrored 1TB arrangement, or as two separate disks. Features are similar to earlier models with the Premium and Pro models each sporting FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 interfaces for attaching to a Mac or Windows PC; the World model relies on gigabit Ethernet to share its data with a local network or remote users on the Internet.
Kodak EasyShare C513
Kodak on Tuesday broke a longstanding tradition in digital cameras with the EasyShare C513. The 5-megapixel compact is the first of Kodak's point-and-shoots to ever drop the traditional CCD for a CMOS sensor. A breakthrough from Kodak's own labs lets them use the lower-cost and more power efficient technology without compromising image quality compared to ordinary cameras; although ISO sensitivity is low with a range of just 80-200, the low noise of the sensor and software-driven image stabilization help produce clean images in most settings. A 3X zoom lens, 13 preset scene modes, and minor on-camera edits help beginners compose shots without turning to manual settings.
Keyspan TuneView iTunes
Keyspan has begun shipping a new version of the TuneView remote control. Rather than operate with iPods, as with the earlier model, the new one is designed to control the Mac and PC versions of iTunes from up to 150 feet away, via an included USB-to-RF transceiver. The highlight of both remotes is the color LCD screen, which lets users browse audio and video without having to play through each track. The interface further mimics the behavior of the iPod, for familiarity's sake. iTunes 7.1.1 or later is required, as is Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Windows XP/Vista. The iTunes TuneView costs $149.
Toshiba Gigabeat U in US
Toshiba this morning launched its first American flash-based music player today in the form of the Gigabeat U202. An import of the most recent Japanese version, the device is small at just 3 inches tall and 1.4 inches wide but includes Toshiba's characteristic PlusPad controls and a 1.1-inch OLED display bright and clear enough for JPEG photos. The device also keeps features typically reserved for the Japan market: line-in recording lets owners record CDs and other albums directly to the player rather than wait to sync with a PC, while an FM tuner can both listen to and capture radio. Battery life is estimated at 20 hours but takes less than 2.4 hours to reach a full charge.
TiVo on Tuesday unveiled its simply-titled TiVo HD, its first HD-capable DVR aimed at the mainstream. The HD (previously known as the Series 3 Lite) brings recording and playback of HDTV shows up to 1080i and dual CableCARD slots that can capture one show while playing or capturing another. Costs are reduced by including a single ATSC HD tuner as well as an NTSC analog tuner; it also omits the OLED of the original Series 3, drops storage to 160GB that nets 20 hours of HD recording, and relies on a Series 2-style remote without programming or glowing keys.
MacPractice gains HL7
MacPractice has added HL7 support to its line of products for medical professionals, including MacPractice MD for physicians, MacPractice DDS for dentists, MacPractice DC for chiropractors, and MacPractice 20/20 for optometrists. The new release can interact with Clinical Labs, EMR software, third party medical and dental digital imaging solutions, and medical and dental solutions from the many other healthcare vendors whose products support industry standard HL7. The new releases include bidirectional HL7 messaging. Two of MacPractice's alliance partners, Spring Medical and ComChart plan to use this capability to pass charges created in their SpringCharts EMR and ComChart software to MacPractice to eliminate errors and improve efficiency.
An independent Mac software developer has introduced Webjimbo, a Web interface for Bare Bones Software's Yojimbo organization application. The tool enables users to view and edit Yojimbo data from any computer with an internet connection and a Web browser. The Web basis allows access from multiple platforms including Apple's iPhone, and the developer notes that the software serves as a viable alternative for Yojimbo users who are having trouble syncing data between multiple Macs. Making use of AJAX technology, the site provides an interface similar to the desktop version of Yojimbo. Webjimbo is priced at $30, and a fully-functional 30-day trial is available. [corrected]
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