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Art Directors Toolkit 5.1
Art Directors Toolkit 5.1 is a free update to the reference utility for artists and designers working with digital media and works hand-in-hand with Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and QuarkXpress. The new release has font scrolling with mouse, a new new HTML view that displays only characters that have an HTML entity to eliminate searching through thousands of glyphs and uses the latest Pantone Color Bridge CMYK data to represented the Pantone solid coated and Pantone solid uncoated color libraries. The update is free for version 5.0 users, and $20 for verison 3.0 and 4.0 users. Version 5 sells for $40.
iSkin Revo debuts
iSkin, best known for its iPod cases, has announced the availability of a new case for the iPhone, dubbed revo. The revo uses an anti-microbial premium silicone casing (which the company says keeps your phone germ free) and a touch-compatible privacy film that provides normal viewing when looking at the screen at directly, but obfuscates view when viewing indirectly. The case also ships with a polycarbonate scratch resistant screen guard called the ViSOR that snaps onto the front or back of the phone. The revo's padded edges also help protect against shock from unexpected drops. Available in six duo-tone designs, the revo retails for $40.
AMD details CPU roadmap
At AMD's financial analysts' meeting today, the company laid down details for some of its previously shrouded processors, particularly those in future mobile platforms. The first of these is a product codenamed "Falcon," a part of the Fusion line, which will be a quad-core chipset using a core nicknamed "Bulldozer." Notably, it is already being touted as compatible with DirectX 10 and 11, the latter not having been exposed to the public.
Ultra-mobile devices will soon be equipped with the "Bobcat," a CPU designed to consume anywhere between 1 and 10W of power for minimal battery drainage. No other data about it has been made public.
HTC Kaiser at FCC
HTC's Kaiser smartphone could end up in the US with two or even three verisions, based on new FCC filings. The Kaiser 100 would serve as the business-oriented model with no cameras at all to help it find customers in security-conscious offices; the Kaiser 110 would add the 3-megapixel camera for normal users while the global Kaiser 120 would add a front VGA camera for video chatting where supported, according to the government body. Wireless tests in the documents also confirm the presence of Bluetooth, a GPS receiver, an HSDPA modem for 3G wireless, and WiFi in every version of the device.
Sony Thrives Despite PS3
Sony today sent word that its profit had soared in the spring, reaching a record level of 552 million dollars between April and June. The result largely sprung from very strong sales of the company's Cyber-shot camera line as well as its Bravia LCD sets and Handycam DV cameras. This was also a dramatic turnaround from a nearly $567 million loss during the winter, according to Sony's statistics. However, the Computer Entertainment division that handles the PlayStation 3 game system noted that its losses had only continued to worsen, growing to just over $245 million due to the struggling sales of the Blu-Ray console.
Blu-Ray Target exclusivity
Sony has announced that beginning in the fall, and continuing through the winter holidays, its Blu-Ray systems will be the only HD players available in Target stores. Target already carries Blu-Ray movies, but has generally been platform agnostic, although only HD DVD players are currently available from the company's online store. The lock-out could prove to be a major victory for Sony and Blu-Ray in general, since the "big-box" audience served by Target is one of the largest in the North America. Blu-Ray and HD DVD continue to fight a heated sales war, with each side claiming superior figures.
Samsung to embed ShoZu
Samsung has announced a deal to embed ShoZu into its cellphones. The service allows users to upload or download photos, music and movies, without first having to load a mobile browser, or even interrupt a phone call. The first Samsung phone with ShoZu will be the SCH-L760, which was recently announced as having blogging-friendly tools, but did not have a third-party company attached. Beyond YouTube, available upload targets will include Dada, Facebook, Flickr and more, with custom uploads being permitted to FTP sites and e-mail addresses.
Bookeen Cybook Gen3
Bookeen on Thursday promised a genuinely new era of eBook devices with the Cybook Gen3. Its design centers around a 6-inch, 166 dots-per-inch Vizplex e-paper display that provides much better contrast and cuts the refresh rate by more than half. The screen is so clear as to be easily readable even in direct sunlight, Bookeen claims. Just as special is the now confirmed inclusion of support for Amazon's Mobipocket eBook format, which lets users buy and read DRM-protected books from the online retailer.
Leopard early start kit
Finally providing the same feature-complete beta to developers who did not attend WWDC earlier this year, Apple has released the Leopard Early Start Kit with Leopard beta. In addition to the beta, the package includes access to an exclusive collection of digital resources and information, including WWDC07 Leopard Videos that contain tech talks and more, an updated Leopard Dev Center that includes Beta Reference Library documents, guides, release notes, sample code, and more. There's also a collection called "Coding Headstarts" that provides video, a lesson guide and sample code.
ASUS P750 Leak
ASUS is prepping one of its most advanced phones yet for a fall launch, according to a source near the company's Taiwan home. Dubbed the P750, the device would adopt the familiar candybar shape of most of the company's P-series phones but would check off many of the features considered valuable even in larger handsets, ranging from a dedicated GPS chipset to a full-strength HSDPA chipset that would peak at 3.6Mbps during downloads. These wireless extras would be fast thanks to a 520MHz ARM processor, 128MB of RAM, and Windows Mobile 6, the source claims.
Vista sales hit 60 million
Microsoft is now saying that it has sold over 60 million licenses for its latest operating system, Windows Vista. Reuters writes that the figure was announced at Microsoft's annual meeting with financial analysts, and is the most recent data available from the company since Vista hit the 40 million mark in May.
The announcement appears to confirm a permanent slowdown in Vista sales, which ran to 20 million in the first month, but were halved for both March and April. This rate remained relatively constant from the beginning of May until the end of June.
Rulers and more
Lemke Software has released GraphicConverter 6.0, a major new release of the photo editing and conversion software for Mac OS X. The tool can import approximately 200 and export of approximately 80 graphic formats, and import images directly from cameras and scanners (via TWAIN). It also features a graphical file and picture browser, slide show functionality, a Photoshop-compatible plug-in scheme and more. The new release includes Dutch and Catalan localization, lossless jpeg cropping, optional footer to open images added (UB only), a save for web function, basic layer, rulers and additional automator actions. Finally, the new release is updated for compatibility with the current Leopard beta. GraphicConverter is priced at $35 for the full version and $20 for an upgrade. A demonstration, universal binary version is available in 12 different languages.
Sony TP1 Ships
Having made its announcement early this year at CES, Sony has without fanfare begun shipping its TP1 home theater PC. The completed version of the cylindrical media hub runs on a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo and carries 2GB of RAM, each of which give enough power to decode and display HD video through the HDMI output. The final version also relies on Vista Home Premium for its HDTV tuning and other media center tasks.
$127 billion market cap
Thanks to a major boost in share price after a rosy earnings report, Apple's worth as a public company is now higher than that of Hewlett-Packard and quickly closing in on other tech giants like Intel and IBM. With shares of AAPL hovering around $145, the company's market cap sits at about $127 billion, surpassing HP's $124 billion. Intel sits at around $141 billion and IBM at about$175 billion. AppleInsider reports on analyst consensus that Apple shares are poised to gain even further ground in the coming months, quoting AmTech analyst Shaw Wu who stated "We believe bears remain too pessimistic in underestimating Apple's profit potential and ability to generate strong cash flow. Moreover, bears have also underestimated bulls' ability to form more realistic expectations and focused too much on overzealous and sometimes outright irrational estimates."
iPhone social networking
In brief: Goldman ups the price target on AAPL based on speculation of new iMacs and iPods, unresolved USB audio bug in Mac OS X 10.4.10, Portland Mac Filmmaker User Group Meeting, Contactizer Pro discount, iPhone startup problem and resolution, and a new social networking app for iPhones ... Goldman Sachs has raised the price target on shares of Apple Inc. to $165 from $135. The firm believes major product releases (including new iMacs and full-screen iPods) will drive earnings and shares higher, and is maintaining a buy rating.
Verizon Rethinks 700MHz
Verizon would accept the concept of opening the 700MHz band to any mobile device or provider -- but only under some conditions, the provider said in a statement today. Although still opposed to Google's offer to buy out and free up some of the spectrum, claiming that the search firm would be "imposing" freedom at the expense of special service plans, the carrier said it would prefer that the rules still allow for service contracts that are currently 'enjoyed' by cellphone customers today.
Samsung G800 Enroute
Samsung is developing an even more advanced camera-focused phone than its recent G600, according to a forum moderator. The G800 would share the same 5-megapixel sensor as its lesser cousin but would include a sliding cover that reveals a lens with a 5.6-17.4mm autofocus range, providing the real-world zoom often missing from cellphone cameras. Flash may also be upgraded from LED to a bright Xenon to illuminate more distant subjects. Internet access may also be upgraded to HSDPA to add bandwidth for the front video calling camera.
Fujifilm FinePix S5800
While North Americans will be among those receiving Fujifilm's S8000fd, Europe and Asia alone will get the FinePix S5800. Like the 8000, the 5800 is a "prosumer" camera, and shares features such as an eight-megapixel sensor and support for SD, xD and SDHC cards. Missing however is sesnor-shift stabilization, as well as ISO levels beyond 1600. Zoom has been reduced from 18x, but still retains an impressive 10x optical capacity. Fujifilm expects shipments to begin in September of this year.
Nike today announced that Nike+ runners -- who use iPods that sync with special Nike running shoes to track their progress -- have logged more than 22 million miles on Nikeplus.com. The recorded distance is equivalent to completing more than 800,000 New York City marathons and burning off the calories of more than five million slices of pizza, according to Nike. The shoe-maker plans to introduce new Nike+ features this summer to enhance runners' experiences, offering new ways to challenge each other and participate in "virtual" marathons. Nike and Apple teamed up in May of last 2006 to offer the running shoe and iPod training combo, which according to Nike quickly made Nikeplus.com the world's largest networking place for runners.
Sony HD Video Walkman
The European division of Sony is set to debut the GD-HD700E, the first HD Video Walkman. Despite its name, the player is not designed for portable entertainment; it is instead meant for viewing camcorder footage, culled from HDV discs or just the standard miniDV format. HD resolutions top out at 1080i, but video can be viewed on an seven-inch, 800x480 screen, or sent via component and HDMI to much larger displays such as TVs. The 700E is also the first Video Walkman to support x.v.Color, a gamut said to double the amount of colors on compatible xvYCC screens.
AmTech raises estimates
Apple's record June quarter serves as further proof that market bears are too pessimistic about the company, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu, who raised his full-year estimates despite Apple's own conservative guidance. "For fiscal year 2007, we are now modeling $23.6 billion and $3.65 (from $23.5 billion and $3.50) and for fiscal year 2008, $29.5 billion and $4.25 (from $30.2 billion and $4.10)," the analyst wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. Wu points to Apple's continued ability to surprise, showcasing its ability as a large-cap multi-national company with a broad end-to-end portfolio -- which includes its Macs, iPods, iTunes Store, iPhone, and Apple TV. "We believe bears remain too pessimistic in underestimating Apple's profit potential and ability to generate strong cash flow," Wu said. "Moreover, bears have also underestimated bulls' ability to form more realistic expectations and focused too much on overzealous and sometimes outright irrational estimates." American Technology Research raised its 6-12 month price target from $165 to $185, but the firm warns that Apple shares will likely see a pull-back in the slower summer months -- particularly at the $135-140 level.
Dvorak Mac experience
Noted Apple critic John C. Dvorak has written a generally favorable view of recent experiences using an iMac, which he requested for a work project in a Mac-based office. Comparing the system to a PC, he notes that the interface is "slicker," and that he feels less concerned about issues such as viruses and spyware. Mac OS X is also described as seeming "more solid" than Microsoft Windows, which Dvorak attributes to the Mac's Unix substructure.
X360 HD DVD Price Cut
Microsoft today extended its efforts to push HD DVD by cutting the price on its Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on and including it in a new promo. The attachment drops $20 to $180 and now qualifies for an upcoming deal that will offer five free HD DVD movies from a hand-picked list of 15 titles, giving the same head-start on movie collecting that has previously been available only for Toshiba's dedicated HD DVD players. The combination of videos nearly equals the cost of the drive itself, Microsoft notes.
PDFClerk 2.8 ships
SintraWorks has released PDFClerk 2.8, an update to the PDF manipulation tool that enables users to place watermarks as well as other recurring patterns in PDF documents. The latest release features step and repeat layouts, a media library, and supports dropping text from other applications. PDF-Clerk can join multiple PDF documents together, rearrange the page order, add blank pages, delete individual pages, impose multiple pages onto a sheet of paper, and rotate pages on imposed sheets to ease the process of creating custom books and magazines. The software allows users to create prints for languages that read from right to left, and supports overlaying graphics as well as text boxes onto PDF documents. PDFClerk includes print crop, bleed, and registration mark functionality as well as color and grayscale bars. PDFClerk 2.8 is priced at $50, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Hitachi Wooo P42 and L37
Hitachi on Thursday upgraded its Wooo flat-panel TVs with individual LCD and plasma sets. Similar to the initial sets, all updates today include Hitachi's own iDVR slot that uses removable hard drives to capture analog or digital TV shows while securing some videos against casual copying. Any video can be put through Hitachi's XcodeHD transcoder to compress video by as much as half for when recording time is more important than absolute quality.
BatchOutput 2.5 released
Zevrix Solutions today released BatchOutput 2.5 (different product shown), an Adobe In-Design plug-in that automatically prints and exports single or multiple InDesign documents to PDF and PostScript formats. BatchOutput allows users to produce multiple InDesign documents as single pages with variable names, and the update adds tighter integration with InDesign CS3 for easier control when adding files directly from the Finder. Users can change jobs names in the printer queue, suppress font and link warnings, and hide document windows during processing. The variable name feature allows users to assign various attributes, such as page number and the date to compose output file names automatically. BatchOutput 2.5 is controllable as a separate application but remains an InDesign plug-in, and users can launch the plug-in directly from the InDesign CS3 menus. BatchOutput 2.5 is priced at $80, and requires Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later with Adobe InDesign CS or newer.
19" digital picture frame
PhotoVu today began shipping its PhotoVu PV1965w 19-inch widescreen wireless digital picture frame that offers a 16:10 wide format viewing experience. The digital frames allow users to display thousands of digital photos or other signage advertising content stored on any Mac or Windows computer, or from select RSS-enabled photo sharing websites like Picasa and Flickr. PhotoVu digital picture frames require no additional image manipulation or software installation. An optional removable USB hard drive or USB flash drive is also available for stand-alone operation, according to the company. All features and operations, including displaying photo collections organized by Picasa or iPhoto photo management software, are controlled remotely from any computer's Web browser on the network. The PV1965w is available for $1,200, while the non-widescreen version -- the PV1965 -- is priced at $1,000.
Fujifilm S8000 and A920
Fujifilm continued its camera announcements today by releasing two cameras that tackle opposite ends of the amateur photographer spectrum. A new prosumer model, the S8000fd, is the first camera in the class from Fujifilm to bring in a new, wide-angle lens with 18X zoom that accommodates virtually every type of photography through an equivalent 27-486mm focal range. Sports photographers also have access to a new, ultra-fast burst mode that takes up to 15 shots per second by dropping the resolution from 8 to 2 megapixels. Like the Asia-only Z100fd, the S8000fd also incorporates image stabilization using sensor shifts.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has today published two new applications by Apple. The central of the two is "Multimedia data transfer for a personal communication device," which involves sending content to a personal communicator such as a cellphone or walkie-talkie. What is unique is that unlike other such systems, Apple's would allow users to bypass the SMS protocol used in GSM networks, instead converting messages from text into voice. Suggested benefits include messaging for the blind or visually impaired, or simply providing an alternative for cellphones with small screens.
ConceptDraw 7.2 released
CS Odessa today announced ConceptDraw 7.2, an update to its vector drawing and diagramming software package that is due in early August. The update, according to the company, will bring extended user capabilities, including an improved help system to help users understand its business graphics application. ConceptDraw 7 gives users the ability to create sophisticated and professional-looking organization charts, flowcharts and compelling business graphics as well the ability to construct network and database diagrams. Version 7.2 will bring "Dynamic Help", a special Inspector Pane window lets users see timely and important information about the tools they are using when they are drawing. Single user licenses of ConceptDraw 7 are priced at $300, requiring Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Sprint and Google WiMAX
Sprint and Google today announced a pact that will provide software for the former's upcoming WiMAX network. The search engine developer will give the makers of Sprint's devices open access to many of Google's web-based apps -- including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Talk -- to write mobile versions that take advantage of the speed provided by the future 4G network. Subscribers will be able to count on these features not just on computers with WiMAX cards but also mobile devices such as cellphones and media players that could use some or all of the features on the road, Sprint says.
Fujifilm high-end compacts
Beginning a surge of camera announcements, Fujifilm has unveiled two high-end compacts, the F50fd and the F480. The former is the preeminent model, as it features an unprecedented 12-megapixel sensor -- a dimension rarely seen outside of digital SLRs. Additionally, the camera introduces a mechanized image stabilizer, and can reach light sensitivities up to ISO 6400. At ISO 3200, however, it steps down to six megapixels, and it is limited to three megapixels at 6400. Meanwhile, Fujifilm's Face Detection 2.0 can identify up to 10 human faces and automatically adjust focus, exposure and white balance for them, even if they are standing in profile or laying down. SD, xD and SDHC cards are supported.
Fujifilm Z10fd and Z100fd
Fujifilm today began a full sweep of its camera line and started with major replacements for its Z-series ultra-compact cameras. The 7.2-megapixel, 3X zoom Z10fd (shown) radically restyles the compact with a unique, asymmetrically curved design and extremely bright colors ranging from Sunset Orange to Wasabi Green. Changes are also more than just cosmetic versus earlier models: a new automatic red eye removal eliminates one of the most common artifacts of flash shots, and users can now use a single slot for either Fujifilm's preferred xD cards or more universal SD and SDHC storage.
Logitech Wave Keyboard
Logitech had its second release of the week on Thursday in launching the Wave keyboard. Its namesake design improves on the conventional approach to ergonomics by recognizing the length and positions of most fingers: both the center and outer keys are elevated, while all keys are the same size and subtly curved to hold the fingers at rest. The palmrest is also cushioned to encourage a proper typing position. In addition to media keys, programmable keys let Macs and PCs assign shortcuts to specific apps, folders, or even specific websites. A Media Center button will automatically trigger Front Row on supporting Macs or Windows Media Center on relevant PCs.
"Product transition" in Q4
Though cagey as usual, Apple CFO Peter Oppehnheimer did let slip an alluring statement during Apple's third-quarter earnings conference call. Responding to analyst questions about why Apple is guiding lower-than-expected earnings for next quarter (65 cents a share versus a consensus of 82 cents), Oppenheimer said that there are three expected factors: rising prices for components like NAND flash memory used in the iPhone and iPod, the high cost of back-to-school promotions, and a "product transition" on which he refused to elaborate. Apple is guiding for higher sequential revenue next quarter, $5.7 billion vs. $5.4 billion in the current quarter, which is not to be unexpected thanks to a typical, annual boost from education sales. However, the higher revenue guidance and lower earnings guidance could indicate a new product introduction with lower margins or a high capitalized R&D cost.
AAPL surges after-hours
In brief: Shares of Apple surge on earnings news, Apple employees getting their free iPhones, Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Studio 2 training, a new eBook dubbed "Take Control: The Mac OS X Lexicon" debuts, and Drew Carey has gotten an iPhone as a perk ... Shares of Apple Computer are over $150 per share in after-hours trading (as of 9 PM PST), gaining nearly $13 or 9.41% over the closing price of $137.26. The share price is being bolstered by just-reported record earnings for the third quarter, and news that 270,000 iPhones were sold in the device's first two days of availability, allaying fears generated by AT&T's report that 146,000 devices were activated on opening weekend. That news sent Apple's stock sliding on Tuesday.
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