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iPhone 1.01 firmware
Apple today released an iPhone firmware update via its iTunes software, which it says brings several bug fixes. Though the company did not specify the bug fixes or additional features, if any, the company has provided the update to all customers who sync their iPhone with iTunes, offering the ability to download the software or download and install the software. The update, only available via iTunes, takes several minutes and users are greeted with the standard white Apple logo and white progress bar on the iPhone as well as a progress bar on their desktop while the updated is being applied to the device. Apple's security website notes indicate that the update fixes a critical Safari bug that allowed malicious users to take control of an iPhone (updates for Mac OS X Tiger/Panther and Safari 3.03 beta for Windows are also available).
Apple today released a 2007-07 security update for its Mac OS X Tiger and Mac OS X Panther operating systems. The update brings updated components for a variety of compontents, including bzip2, CFNetwork, Core Audio, cscope, gnuzip, Kerberos mDNSResponder, PDFKit, PHP, Quartz Composer, samba (Windows networking), and WebKit/WebCore (used in Safari and other Web-based applications). The Security update is available for Mac OS X 10.4.10 users only and features and is available as both Panther Client and Panther Server as well as Tiger Client-PPC, Tiger Client-Universal, Tiger Server-PPC, and Server-Universal downloads.
Special Apple press event
Apple next week is expected to hold a Mac-oriented press event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The Mac event, confirmed by MacNN sources, will be held on Tuesday, August 7th and will cover Mac-related announcements, which many insiders believe will bring a new iMac and an update to the company's iLife suite. The suite, bundled with all new Macs and available for $50, contains applications such as iPhoto for photo management/editing, iMovie for video editing, iDVD for disc burning, GarageBand for music/podcast creation/editing, and iWeb for webpage creation. The company last updated its iLife '06 suite of applications more than 18 months ago at Macworld Expo in January 2006.
Refurb iMacs from $1,049
Apple is selling reconditioned 17-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch iMacs at discounted rates. The three iMac models remaining include the company's 17-inch 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner for $1,049; 20-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner for $1,299; and its 24-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner for $1,699. Apple is also offering two refurbished Mac Pro models which include the Mac Pro Quad 2.66GHz Intel Xeon system with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics card (256MB) for $2,199; and the Mac Pro Quad 3.0GHz Intel Xeon system with 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an ATI Radeon X1900 XT graphics card (512MB) for $3,299.
AirPort Extreme update
Apple has released an AirPort Extreme update (2007-004) for all Intel-based MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini owners that improves the reliability of AirPort connections. The update has arrived after users reported crashes and instability related to networking wirelessly on Apple's own support forums. One website notes that Apple had already acknowledged the problem affecting owners of Santa Rosa-based Macs by issuing a technical note on the topic, revealing that when those systems are used on battery power the wireless connection drops and users can experience a kernel panic.
Envision G218a1 Display
Envision on Tuesday unveiled a special computer LCD just for the North American chain retailer Best Buy. The G218a1 is geared to bringing both a large screen and audio to a price level previously impractical for lower-cost PCs. Underneath the 22-inch display are two 3-watt speakers that provide clear stereo sound for those without the budget or space for dedicated sound systems. The DVI port also claims HDCP encryption and would be an ideal match for home theater PCs, Blu-Ray players, and HDTV devices that will output protected video, Envision says. VGA input accommodates analog sources.
Underwater video player
Chinese exporter Chinavasion is marketing an unusual, unnamed media player. While underwater MP3 players are nothing new, the Chinavasion device plays video, while being submersible to a depth of 10 feet. It can play coverted MPEG, WMV and ASF files; as a tradeoff, however, it only holds 1GB of content, and displays on a 1.8-inch screen. Similarly, the battery handles just three hours of video playback, or six hours of MP3 and WMA audio. Sound recordings can be made in WAV. No prices are currently available. [via Anything But iPod]
Apple shares down 7%
Shares of Apple Inc. sunk nearly 7 percent during normal trading hours on Tuesday, falling to around $132 on volume of about 62 million. The primary driver for the declines is speculation by financial firm Miller Tabak & Co. that Apple will reduce its current production of iPhones from 9 million units to 4.5 million units, potentially indicating a reduction in sales targeting. Apple last week announced that it had sold 270,000 iPhones in the first two days of sales on opening weekend, nearly double the AT&T estimates of 146,000 activations, but well short of analyst expectations. The company did not back off its initial projections, however, maintaining that it will have sold 1 million iPhones by the end of its fiscal fourth quarter, and 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008.
FCC Approves Open 700MHz
The open access rules demanded by the FCC for the 700MHz spectrum have been largely approved in advance of the auction for the frequencies, the US broadcast agency announced on Tuesday. As proposed by the government body's chariman Kevin Martin, 22MHz of the 60MHz to be abandoned by analog broadcast TV in 2009 will require that any licensed operator allow any cellphone, notebook, or other device to operate on the spectrum. Operators will also have to allow any software to run on the network and therefore could not block VoIP or other services to artificially create business, the FCC noted. Many companies have expressed interest in the frequencies due to their exceptionally long ranges and penetration through walls, which could spur the development of faster, more reliable cellphone and mobile Internet access.
360: Price cuts, Core drop
A new Circuit City flyer appears to validate earlier rumors that the prices for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console will soon drop permanently. Now dated to August 12th, cuts should see the Premium system drop $50 to $350, with the Elite falling $30 to $450, and the Core model sliding just $20 to $280. As an incentive, the Premium bundle includes Rockstar's popular Table Tennis. The cuts are most likely aimed at Sony, whose rival PlayStation 3 was recently discounted by $100 to $499.
Firefox 220.127.116.11 released
mozilla.org has released Firefox 18.104.22.168, a new version of the popular, free open source browser that fixes two security flaws. The more serious flaw involves Firefox not percent-encoding spaces and double quotes in URLs passed to helper applications, which can allow malicious pages to launch programs with potentially dangerous command line parameters. The other vulnerability is a privilege elevation bug involving extensions, which was accidentally introduced in Firefox 22.214.171.124. According to mozilla.org "The URL protocol handling flaw is a similar class of exploit to the firefoxurl:// URL vulnerability, which was fixed with the release of Firefox 126.96.36.199. In the original firefoxurl:// exploit, an attacker could use Microsoft Internet Explorer to launch Firefox with malicious command line parameters. In the flaw fixed in Firefox 188.8.131.52, Firefox is used as the attack vector to start other applications with dangerous arguments. The exploit could be extended to execute any program in a known location, possibly passing dangerous command line parameters." The new release is available as a 17MB download.
No iPhones at NASA
NASA officials have decided that the iPhone is not ready for use intra-office by its astronauts and other employees according to meeting minutes obtained by InformationWeek. Deeming the iPhone not "enterprise ready," Jeff Stephens of NASA's Outsourcing Desktop Initiative (ODIN) reportedly made an announcement that the phone would be barred from the workplace. The minutes did not provide any exact reasoning for the iPhone ban, but did indicate that the BlackBerry 8800 from Research In Motion and the Palm Treo 750 would soon be certified for employee use.
Acer Ubuntu Linux laptops
Acer is joining the likes of Dell in releasing PCs loaded with Linux, rather than the standard fallback of Windows XP or Vista. The Aspire 5710z is modelled after the basic 5710, but uses Ubuntu, a Linux variant with a friendlier graphical interface. As configured by the Singapore-based MemoryWorld, it has a a 1.73GHz dual-core Intel processor, plus 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard disk; the optical drive is a Super Multi DVD burner, and wireless comes in the form of 802.11b/g. The laptop is now selling from MemoryWorld for $999 SGD, or $660 US. [via Laptoping]
Amp'd Mobile Prexar Deal
Customers of Amp'd Mobile facing the imminent shutdown of their service learned today that they will have at least a momentary reprieve through a new deal with the independent carrier Prexar Mobile, according to an announcement today. The northeastern provider says it has bought aspects of Amp'd Mobile's service and has developed a system that will let subscribers of the discontinued network switch over to Prexar seamlessly simply by plugging in their number and choosing a subscription plan. Customers will not be forced into a new contract or to drop their existing phones, Prexar vows.
PS3 processor patent suit
Sony is facing a lawsuit over the Cell processor, the heart of the PlayStation 3 game console. The case was filed through the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and accuses Sony of violating a 1991 patent by International Parallel Machines, now owned by the Parallel Processing Corporation. It documents a technology for "synchronized parallel processing with shared memory" -- a concept difficult to implement at its origins, but which is now one of many options available. PPC is seeking damages plus legal fees, as well as an injunction against future infringements.
Universal Mac RDC Client
Bringing Intel optimization and Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0 support to the product, Microsoft's MacBU has shipped a free beta edition of Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2.0. The tool lets you connect to a Microsoft Windows-based computer and work with programs and files on that computer from your Mac. The new release is a Universal Binary, and its support of RDP 6.0 means better compatibility with Windows Vista and improved security features. The new release also has support for multiple sessions, letting users connect to several Windows-based computers at the same time. Other new features include a revised user interface, better customization options, dynamic screen resizing and improved printing support. This beta release expires on March 31, 2008, and is available as a 4MB download.
MacBU ships new OOXML tool
The Microsoft Mac Business Unit has released a new beta edition of the Office Open XML converter for Mac OS X, which can translate Office 2007 for Windows documents to a format that is compatible with Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac and Microsoft Office v. X for Mac. The tool can perform conversion on a per-document basis, or do batch conversions. This new release improves translation of Word documents that contain XML content, inline graphics, hyperlinked graphics, WMF/EMF graphics, SmartArt graphics, tracked changes in the document header and footer, Unicode characters, and Japanese Rubi fields. In addition, this version succeeds when converting Word documents that contain bibliography fields, citation fields, and complex tables. Version 0.2 beta of the Office Open XML converter is available as a 21MB download.
RIM BlackBerry 8310
Research in Motion today quietly unveiled the BlackBerry Curve 8310, a minor but significant upgrade to the original Curve released earlier this year. The new version of the phone adds a live GPS receiver absent in the normal 8300 edition and lets users plot driving routes by downloading map data from a central server, RIM says. Mapping also integrates with a user's contact list and provides an easy shortcut to finding coworkers and friends.
Moto Q9 and RAZR2 Aug 24
AT&T is planning a large-scale introduction of phones in August, claims an insider with access to the carrier's release schedule. In particular, the provider is expected to at last release two of Motorola's new-generation 3G phones -- the RAZR2 V9 and the larger Q9h -- on August 24th, meeting the handset maker's goal of bringing the RAZR2 to the US before the end of the summer. No AT&T-specific software extras were revealed with the leak, although both would have the speed and features for the network's eMusic Mobile online store and Video Share services.
Laser etched MacBook Pro
UK-based technology site Geekanoids has completed its project to create a laser etched MacBook Pro, coated in sponsor logos, for use in video product reviews and demonstrations. Money from the companies whose logos are etched provided funding for purchase of the Santa Rosa chipset-based 15.4" MacBook Pro. The laser etching was performed by Razorlab, based in London, UK. Geekanoids editors said "The whole process was a joy to experience, and with (Razorlab's) attention to detail, the end result really looks fantastic. When viewed in dull light, the etching appears as a light grey, and when caught at an angle by artificial light or sunlight, it appears to light up as a vibrant white finish." The site has posted an 8-minute video depicting the etching process from start to finish.
SeaLife ECOshot Camera
SeaLife Cameras on Tuesday unveiled the ECOshot, a 6-megapixel compact camera which the company touts as the first truly toughened camera for the average user. Its specialized housing is completely waterproof down to a depth of 75 feet, making it ideal for divers, and will survive impacts from as high as six feet. The structure can also withstand such high pressure that an SUV or most any other vehicle can roll directly over the camera without breaking it, SeaLife claims through its tests.
InterMapper 4.6 ($500) network monitoring software that can report device failure and includes proactive management capabilities. The new release has a Cisco IP SLA probe that uses SNMP to collect information from the RTTMON MIB in the agent. The probe collects data on jitter, latency, and packet loss. Other new features include an IMAuth Server, which simplifies password management for large organizations. There are also new probes that will test the Xserve RAID, rackmount Xserves and the component services on Mac OS X Server,
including Web, FTP, AFP, NAT, Print, and QTSS servers. [Download - form]
BrowseBack 1.4 ($30) visual web history tool that allows you to search the content of your web history by keyword. The new release adds support for the Flock web browser, offers improved performance and reduced resource usage, no longer shows blocked popups in Camino, Firefox, and Netscape, properly detects default Firefox profiles and features other minor fixes and improvements. [Download - 4.7MB]
TimeCache 7.0.2 ($50) time and expense billing application that has support for timed or manual entries, retainer billing, customizable invoices/reports and extensive printing options. The new release has an "undo" option for saved invoices, more invoice formatting options, more options for importing entries from Apple's iCal application, more flexibility in naming projects and improvements in workgroup time tracking options. [Download - 12.9MB]
24U VirtualUser Plug-In 1.0.1 ($48) provides simulation of usual user actions in FileMaker Pro (such as mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes). It can also run scripts and record/replay all actions. The plug-in is compatible with FileMaker Pro 7, 8, 8.5, and 9. This new release adds the ability to record keystrokes on international keyboard layouts, the ability to replay Unicode characters and stability improvements. [Download - 2.6MB]
Troi Activator Plug-in 2.6 for FileMaker Pro 9 ($48) tool for triggering scripts in FileMaker from across the network or over the Internet. It can use built-in security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized triggering, and send a number (e.g. a record ID) with a long text message alongside triggers. The new release adds compatibility with FileMaker Pro 9, a new Actr_RunScript function, which can directly trigger a script from a calculation, and several bug fixes. The plug-in works with FileMaker Pro 7, 8.x and 9. [Download - 1.8MB]
Accessory maker SouthWing this afternoon marked the US launch of the SH440 Bluetooth headset with an introduction for AT&T. The hands-free earpiece overcomes the limited interface of most headsets by providing one of the first complete voice prompt systems for the device class. Wearers are not only guided through pairing the phone by voice commands but are given quick access to battery life and other details while the phone is in use. Those on AT&T's network can issue voice commands to cue audio news and weather info or check voicemail without ever reaching for the actual phone, SouthWing says.
SiRF & Intel partnership
SiRF Technology, the creator of the famous SiRFstar receivers used in a majority of GPS units, has announced a licensing and joint development deal with the CPU maker Intel. While the companies will not say exactly what they intend to produce, the expected results of the collaboration are said to involve "a wide range of mobile devices," and to "help location and wireless connectivity become more mainstream." Suggested platforms include cellphones, laptops, mobile Internet browsers and other handheld gear, specifically those equipped with Wi-Fi and/or WiMAX. This could be a reference to the Intel Metro concept, said to already be in production by an unknown builder.
Soap-free washing machine
In an unusual turn, the international electronics maker Haier has developed the WasH2O, a laundry machine said to clean clothes without a single drop of soap. Water molecules are broken through electrolysis into OH- and H+ ions, the former of which are said to attract any stains, while the latter provide a form of sterilization. Like normal washers the WasH2O has adjust cycles and temperatures, and can be done in as little as 25 minutes in the "Sport" mode. An "Eco Time" mode grants the option of less water consumption in exchange for a slower process. Several colors of the machine should launch in France in the near future, at a price of about €699 ($956). [via Luxurylaunches]
LG XNote R200
LG today previewed its XNote R200 portable at a Korean press event. The 12-inch widescreen adopts the same style as the S900 and other large notebooks, and offers much of the same performance in a smaller package. The reference design is based almost entirely around Intel's recent Santa Rosa platform and includes more than just a 2GHz Core 2 Duo running on the faster 800MHz bus, according to LG. The system is certified for Centrino Pro and builds in 802.11n Wi-Fi plus a chipset for remote administration and locking down files if used at an office. 1GB of Turbo Memory cache helps surmount the slow hard disk drives that bottleneck notebook speeds.
RapidoMap 1.0 beta
app4mac has released the 1.0 beta of RapidoMap, a geotagging application. This allows users to associate their photos and videos with the locations in which they were taken, using high-resolution satellite maps. Files can viewed through lists or simple browsing, or in the case of photos alone, a Flyby Slideshow. Photos can also be uploaded to directly to Flickr, and tagged automatically by dragging them in from the iLife Media Browser. Content from GPS-enabled cameras can be imported. RapidoMap is freeware, but requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
New Iomega StorCenters
Iomega has released three new drives in its StorCenter line, specifically within the subset of its Network Hard Drive models. These are designed to operate as media and print servers, but can handle other roles as well, due to features such as Active Directory support, a journaling file system and backup software in the form of EMC Retrospect Express. The top-of-the-line 1TB drive also supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD configurations. All three drives have gigabit Ethernet connections, as well as two USB 2.0 ports for devices such as printers or extra hard drives. The products are compatible with UPnP technology, and work on Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems. The new 500 and 750GB drives cost $270 and $360; the 1TB StorCenter is $390.
PCB Points to Sept iPod
Compeq Manufacturing has won a contract to begin making the printed circuit boards for upcoming iPods, according to reports from those close to the Taiwan company. The firm has allegedly signed its first deal with Apple and will begin producing small numbers of rigid-flex PCBs destined for the music players in August, with full-scale production to begin in September. Compeq is also said to have been validated for producing both the boards and some of the interconnects for the iPhone, shortlisting the company as a candidate for expanded iPhone production or as a backup.
Wedding Dash for Mac
PlayFirst today launched Wedding Dash, the first title to extend its Diner Dash game by introducing a new character, setting, and storyline. "Featuring the hilarious ups and downs of wedding day drama, Wedding Dash incorporates the plate-spinning fun from the Diner Dash series with the added challenge of pulling off the perfect wedding reception. In Wedding Dash, players help Quinn, Flo's roommate and a hopeful wedding planner, make wedding bells ring! Players must help couples pick all the wedding details then prevent obstacles, such as tipsy guests, falling cakes, and catty bridesmaids, from ruining the perfect party. When the going gets tough, there's extra help from everyone's favorite server, Flo! It's a fast-paced challenge to execute a flawless event, but for the determined Quinn, it's all in a day's work!" Wedding Dash is available for $20, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
IE Beats iPod
Internet Explorer is the most influential technology of the past quarter-century, according to a new CompTIA study of IT pros. The firm says that a full two-thirds of all results nominated the Microsoft web browser for the top spot, eclipsing the second place Microsoft Word, which obtained 56 percent. Notably, virtually all of the top five was dominated by Microsoft products, according to the survey; only Apple's iPod was able to crack the upper ranks of the poll, tying with Excel at 49 percent and falling just behind Windows 95, which reached 50 percent.
The Sims Pool released
Electronic Arts has released another iPod game branded with the Sims name, The Sims Pool (iTunes link). Players create a customized Sim, and attempt to satisfy his or her goals in various game modes, including 8-Ball, 9-Ball and a trick-shot mode. The clickwheel is used to adjust the cue and ball position, and EA is promising realistic physics and sound effects. The game costs $5, and requires a fifth-generation iPod and iPod Software 1.2 or later; as with other iPod games, it will not yet work on the iPhone.
Apple sells 3b songs
Apple today announced that more than three billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Store, making iTunes is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store. The company's catalog features over five million songs, 550 television shows and 500 movies and iTunes recently surpassed Amazon and Target to become the third largest music retailer in the US, according to market research firm NPD. "We'd like to thank all of our customers who have contributed to this incredible milestone," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.
Apple sued by Eminem label
Apple is the target of a lawsuit connected to the music of pop rapper Eminem, according to new reports. Filed in the US District Court in Detroit, Eminem's home city, the complaint by Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated -- Eminem's publisher and copyright manager, respectively -- alleges that Apple broke copyright by selling Eminem downloads neither company authorized. Apple is instead said to be dealing exclusively with the record label Universal, which is also accused of making unauthorized deals, though it is unknown whether the latter will also be sued in the future.
NY agency warns Apple
Reinforcing growing anti-Apple sentiment about its iPhone battery policies, one state agency is politely trying to get Apple's attention. New York's Consumer Protection Board issued a letter to Apple's CEO Monday asking for the iPhone to be a little more consumer-friendly. The gentle nudge to the hugely successful company follows a class-action lawsuit--filed last week--against the company over the iPhone battery. The state's consumer protection agency cited both replacement procedures and costs in its letter and also said that consumers should be able to replace the battery themselves. The agency also said that Apple should review its standard disclosure practices and restocking fees.
Sanyo Rear View Backup Cam
Sanyo today unveiled its CCA-BC200 rear view camera for drivers of minivans and SUVs that want to eliminate blind spots. The less than 3.5 inches-wide camera can produce the typical fish-eye lens view for maximum coverage but can also intelligently adapt the view to create a more natural perspective; a toggle will automatically correct any distortions in the image and simplify identifying the position of children and others who might be threatened by the vehicle. Parking is also made easier through a unique technique dubbed AirCam that creates a virtual top-down view, helping large vehicles reverse safely into a tight area.
Jobs ranks behind Gates
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is ranked third on the 25 most influential business leaders of the past 25 years--behind Microsoft's Bill Gates and Federal Reserve chairman's Alan Greenspan. As ranked by USA Today's Money section editors and reporters, the report notes that Gates, who founded Microsoft and used tough business tactics to dominate PC operating systems, may leave his most lasting influence with his philanthropy as he gives away his $56 billion fortune and that Greenspan was the maestro who presided over the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
ATT eMusic Mobile
AT&T today rolled out eMusic Mobile, one of the first cellphone music stores to drop copy protection from its songs. As with eMusic's normal computer-only store and supporting previous leaks, songs are purchased in the unrestricted MP3 format rather than locked-down WMA or store-specific files. The freedom lets owners copy songs off the phone to other devices, including iPods and other portable media players; customers also get rights to download a second copy on their computer regardless of what will be with the mobile tracks. Opening the store also gives AT&T the largest mobile music catalog in the US at more than 2.7 million songs, according to the carrier.
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