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WWDC 2007 session videos
Apple has made available a series of WWDC 2007 session videos through the iTunes store. The videos are now available to all members of the Apple Developer Connection. They include "Designing Web Content for the iPhone." Apple describes the video "iPhone completely redefines browser-based web access on a mobile phone. Watch iPhone engineers provide the latest techniques on mobile browser-based user experience design and development, and how to optimize your web application and content for the features and capabilities of iPhone." Also included are eight Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) sessions from WWDC 2006, including "Welcome to Xcode" and "IT State of the Union." Purchase of the Leopard Early Start Kit is required to receive sessions from Leopard sessions WWDC 2007.
iTunes 7.3.2 released
Apple has posted an update to iTunes, bringing the music/video playing and iPod/iPhone synchronization software to version 7.3.2. Apple's release notes state that the update "provides bug fixes to improve stability and performance." No other specifics on enhancements or fixes are included in the notes. The update is available as a 33MB download. Earlier this week, Apple announced that more than three billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from the iTunes Store, making iTunes 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.
iPod shuffle sales slow
Sales of iPod Shuffles are finally hitting a wall in Taiwan, according to a report from DigiTimes. Competition has come in the form of cannibalizing gray-market iPod Shuffles built in Hong Kong and cheap MP3 players from non-traditional brands. Pricing is a major factor: Apple Taiwan charges about NT$3,000 (US$91) for the 1GB iPod Shuffle, but prices of gray-market models are about 10% lower and 1GB MP3 players offered by questionable brands sell for as low as NT$800. Though Apple does not break down individual model sales in its quarterly reports, overall the company moved 9.8 million iPod units in its fiscal third quarter, representing $1.570 billion in revenue -- a year-over-year unit increase of 20 percent, but a sequential decrease of 7 percent in unit shipments.
Parallels Desktop update
Parallels on Thursday began another new beta of its Parallels Desktop software for Mac, and announced that the latest test version is available for free to anyone with a permanent or trial Parallels Desktop 3.0 key. Parallels Desktop is a program that allows Mac users to run Microsoft Windows XP or Vista right alongside Mac OS X without the need to reboot, and supports intuitive operations like dragging files from Windows to Mac OS X and vice-versa. The latest beta release brings Microsoft application windows to Expose and enhances the look of each PC-oriented window. Parallels Desktop only works on Intel-based Macs, managing machine code to make use of the Intel chips present inside every new Mac to drive Microsoft Windows.
Nokia Sells 100m Phones
Nokia today announced that it had sold just over 100 million cellphones this spring, extending its dominance of the global cellphone business. The results were a 29 percent jump over the same period last year and gave the Finnish company a record 37 percent of the 273 million cellphones sold worldwide. Much of the growth was on the back of strong smartphone sales, the company said: over 9 million N-series and 2 million
Samsung prepares i570
Samsung is reported to be producing the i570, a relative of the i620. Like the 620, the 570 is a vertical slider phone with a QWERTY keyboard, and miscellaneous features such as HSDPA, Wi-Fi, a two-megapixel still camera and a VGA front camera. The main changes are tapped to be a switch from Windows Mobile to Symbian 9.1, and a slight increase in thickness, from 0.5 to 0.6 inches. Bluetooth and a microSD slot are also suggested hardware. Because the phone has a tri-band (900/1800/1900) GSM receiver though, the 570 is likely to stay outside of North America with its sibling. [via SlashPhone]
TDK Mini Blu-Ray Discs
Imation's partner TDK today matched Hitachi's unveiling of the first Blu-Ray camera with the introduction of the first recordable mini Blu-Ray discs. Much smaller than the normal variety, the 3-inch discs still share the same fundamental recording method and store up to 7.5GB on a single layer -- enough to hold a complete hour of widescreen 1080i video. The media also shares the same DURABIS protective coating that TDK boasts can withstand even deliberate attempts to scratch the surface, reducing the problems that plague CDs and DVDs.
Pioneer AVIC-X3 dash GPS
Pioneer has made public the AVIC-X3, the latest in its line of in-dash navigation units. The X3 uses both GPS and a 3D gyroscope to pinpoint location, the latter being useful mainly when a vehicle disappears from a satellite's point-of-view. Traffic can be monitored through a TMC channel, and the unit's database includes 1.5 million points of interest.
The remaining focus of the unit is on entertainment however, since it can handle AAC, MP3, WMA and DivX media files. Inputs are present for iPods, camcorders and game consoles, and a Bluetooth receiver enables both music streaming and hands-free calling. Finally, a dual-zone mode allows the driver to check maps while rear passengers watch videos. The X3 should launch in Europe in September at an unknown price.
HP Compaq 2210b
Without a formal announcement, HP has quietly released the HP Compaq 2210b convertible tablet PC. Like the 2710p, the 2210b mounts a 12-inch touchscreen on a swiveling hinge and shares the same 1.1-inch chassis slimmed down by a thinner, more power-efficient display. HP drops the ultramobile processor and storage, however, for faster and less expensive notebook parts. Every system includes a Santa Rosa-era Core 2 Duo and a physically larger 2.5-inch hard drive but scraps the option of a 3G modem for cellular broadband.
Zen V Plus hits 16GB
Challenging the likes of Apple, Creative has upgraded its Zen V Plus player to hold 16GB of flash memory, twice the amount available on the largest iPod nano, and more than on any other comparable device. Zen V Plus players are distinguished in general by their 1.5-inch OLED screen, and the option of line-in recording, eliminating the need to record via microphone or from a computer. MP3, WMA and IMA ADPCM music files are supported. The 16GB Plus is currently being sold only in Singapore for $399 SGD ($262 US); the upgrade is likely to migrate elsewhere, however, within a few months. [via Anything But iPod]
Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff
Aspyr Media today announced that it will publish The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff for Mac, the third The Sims 2 stuff pack released specifically for Mac gamers. The game, which is licensed by Electronic Arts and is under development by Aspyr Studios, is expected to hit store shelves in September of this year. "Spice up your Sims' holidays with this updated collection of seasonal items, outfits, and décor. Deck their homes with traditional décor items from around the globe including mistletoe, reindeer lawn ornaments, and an all-new European-style Father Christmas. Indulge your Sims this season with this collection of 60 items of festive fun!" The Sims 2 Happy Holiday Stuff is available for pre-order on Aspyr's website for $25, and requires The Sims 2 for Mac OS X.
POP3it Pro, UniSudoku
Quake 4 1.4.2 ($50) first-person shooter in which you play Matthew Kane, a member of the elite Rhino Squad, which is heading off the next wave of alien invasion. This update affects pure server and protocol consistency, and adds a number of other multiplayer fixes including support for QUAKE 4 TV. The ReadMe has a complete listing of bug fixes as well as directions on how to operate QUAKE 4 TV. This update will be necessary for Mac users attempting to play multiplayer against PC users with the PC 1.4.2 patch. [Download - 382MB]
Hazel 2 ($22) watches whatever folders you tell it to, automatically organizing your files according to the rules you create. The latest release has new rule actions, including the ability to rename a file (by specifying a pattern based on file attributes), sort a file into subfolders (let's you define a pattern of subfolders into which the file is moved. Patterns can be based on different attributes like date added or the source domain) and more. It can also watch for thrown away applications and offer to throw away associated support files. Growl notification support has also been added. [Download - 1.5MB]
RapidWeaver 3.6.2 ($50) website creation application for Mac OS X. This is primarily a maintenance release, but also contains some new features. The blog plugin has seen a significant upgrade, with a new custom RSS field (allowing users to take advantage of services such as Feedburner), and a new Dynamic Sidebar option allowing far quicker upload times. Also new in this release is a "Master Styles" feature that allows users to specify theme variation options and apply them across multiple pages within a project. [Download - 15.4MB]
POP3it Pro 4.0 for FileMaker ($65) an email downloading and importing plug-in for FileMaker Pro. The new release has no-Script Downloading - add email downloading to your database without having to write a single script; SL/TLS Support - download email from secure mail servers like Gmail; email importing - POP3it Pro can import emails from files on your hard drive in several different formats including files that have the source of a single email or files in the "mbox" format such as those used by Thunderbird and Eudora. POP3it Pro can also import emails from Apple Mail 2.x mailbox folders. [Download - 3.5MB]
UniSudoku 1.7 ($15) sudoku game for the Mac. It features unlimited puzzle generation and full Undo/Redo support. Among the changes in version 1.7 is a new statistics sidebar that lets you compare your current time with the best and average times for the current level of difficulty. Also there are checkboxes for each number you have completed in the puzzle. Click the checkbox to quickly highlight all instances of that number in the puzzle. Track the number of given, completed, and remaining squares in the puzzles. And finally there is some improved consistency with the puzzle difficulties. [Download - 522KB]
Google Phone Resurfaces
Google is still pouring "hundreds of millions" into developing a cellphone based around its web services, Reuters' research firm Anian says in a new study. In addition to drawing on Taiwan's HTC for developing a custom, Linux-based phone for the start of 2008, the search engine creator has also invested heavily into deals with global carriers, picking T-Mobile as the provider for a Google phone in the US and Orange filling in gaps for Europe and other regions.
New Motorola budget phones
Photos of new Motorola phones have emerged, depicting six low-end candybar models within the company's W series. The top of the line appears to be the W213, with a small color LCD, and a frame that appears to be more solid than that of its siblings. The phone is also identified as having a built-in radio tuner, selectable directly from the main screen. The W206 jettisons this last feature, among others, and is noticeably rounder.
Of the four remaining phones, only the W180 and 160 retain radio, but the tradeoff comes in the form of aesthetics, as the whole group bears resemblance to the MOTOFONE F3, which in turn borrows cues from the RAZR. Both the 160 and 156 are limited to monochrome screens. Unfortunately, no prices or release dates are available. [via Just Another Mobile Phone Blog]
Verdana, other fonts
During the TypeCon2007 conference, currently underway at the Crowne Plaza in Seattle, Microsoft and Apple annnounced that they have renewed their font licensing agreement, giving Mac users ongoing use of the latest versions of Microsoft Windows core fonts. Though terms of the deal (including time length) were not disclosed, the agreement allows for licensure of Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana and others, which are included with Mac OS X. The announcement makes no mention of various fonts specific to Windows Vista, which currently do not ship with Mac OS X.
Toshiba HD-A3 Leak
Toshiba will release its third generation of HD DVD players this fall, Amazon has revealed through inadvertent store leaks. The HD-A3 and HD-A35 as well as the now-removed HD-A30 appear to be drop-in replacements for the current A2 series that may offer enhanced software features and a possible ergonomic redesign while keeping the same basic separation of features. As with the entry A2, the A3 will be limited to 720p/1080i output while the A35 offers 1080p, HDMI 1.3 output with deep color on supporting TVs, and CEC support for controlling the player's basic features through the remote of an attached HDMI device.
Transcend T.Sonic 840
Transcend has just thrown its hat into the ring of newer generation pocket media players with the T.Sonic 840. The flash-based device includes the same 1.8-inch LCD and slim shape of most players but makes the unusual choice of moving all controls to the sides. Listeners steer tracks through a side thumb wheel and a rocker switch which should be easier to use for browsing than most front control schemes, Transcend says. The 840 separates itself from some other devices in its field with playback of videos transcoded to the MTV format, a long 30 hours of battery life, and a unique gapless audio playback system that automatically detects the transition between tracks without having to optimize ahead of time.
IRIS Group today released its new IRISPen 6 hand scanner for students and others converting written words to computers. The new version is smaller, sharper, and more accurate; in many cases, the reader can copy text with no flaws at all, the company says. Intelligence also steps up as the update can recognize 128 different languages and, in a Translator version, will directly convert any of 11 languages. The pen is app-independent and now includes a smart wizard that helps negotiate scanning spreadsheets or other unconventional layouts.
Sony digital camera recall
Sony has ordered a recall of 416,000 digital cameras due to case defects, writes the Associated Press. The problem lies with the bottom casing on Cyber-Shot DSC-T5 cameras, which has a tendency to warp, producing edges that can cut a shooter's hands. Owners can visit the Sony website to determine if their particular camera is affected. The bulk of the defective units -- 350,000 -- were sold in China, Europe and the United States, while the remaining 66,000 were sold in Japan.
Notably, Sony first discovered the problem in 2005, and has since had customer reports of the defect from at least 30 customers worldwide, who in some cases did in fact injure themselves on their T5s. The news is another financial blow to Sony, which has been taking losses on its PlayStation 3 console and the fallout of its 2006 battery recall.
LG KC1 Launch
LG's cellphone label Cyon today marked the release of the KC1, one of the few phones on Earth with 4G wireless access. The long-delayed phone runs on WiMAX-compatible WiBro network to deliver speeds approaching Wi-Fi across a wide area. Such added speed lets LG build in previously impossible features such as remote PC control and encourages video calls or other features that were only just feasible with 3G.
CliqueCAM HD webcams
Clique has begun selling its Hue HD webcam, which attempts to be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The signature element is its lamp-like gooseneck design, which allows the camera to be posed at virtually any angle on a desktop. For portable use the camera can actually be removed from the base, and plugged directly into a laptop's USB port. In technical terms the Hue has a 1.3-megapixel sensor, and can display 1024x768 video at 30 frames per second; the native snapshot resolution is 1280x1024, though this can be interpolated to as high as 2560x2048. Clique has priced blue, black, green, pink, red and white Hues at $100. Mac OS X 10.4 or Windows XP/2000 is required.
Octaga Player for Mac
Octaga today launched its Octaga Player for Mac OS X, a new 3D player developed on behalf of the Seattle-based Ymetech and the NASA. The player can run as a plug-in to Microsoft Windows software as well as Adobe Acrobat, and functions with all major Web browsers as a Java Applet. Octaga Player is designed as a flexible high performance viewer for X3D and VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language). Octaga says its player is constantly being extended to support new techniques stemming from the gaming industry as well as the emerging X3D standard, and that the software is in use by more than one million users globally. Octaga Player is available as a free download for personal use, while commercial licenses are priced at $40 each.
Pioneer BDP-LX80 player
The Japanese division of Pioneer has announced the BDP-LX80, a forthcoming Blu-Ray player certified for the DLNA networking standard. The 80 is an upgrade from the LX70, released this June in Japan, and among other features now boasts proper support for DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. Upscaling to 1080p resolution is supported, and it is specifically capable of 1080/24p, replicating the standard theatrical film speed. Its DLNA functions allow it to read files from an Ethernet source, including MPEG-1/2 and WMV9 videos, or audio in the form of MP3, WAV and WMA. It should go on sale in October for 210,000 yen ($1,769). [via Impress Watch]
No iPhone Supply Slowdown
Fears that Apple is cutting production on iPhones due to low demand are unfounded, according to claims from multiple part suppliers for the device. Anonymous reports from Taiwan manufacturers say that they have seen no drop in the quantities ordered for the iPhone since its June 29th launch. Shipments themselves are also on schedule, the companies claim, dismissing suggestions that Apple may be facing an oversupply of components.
iWear for iPod
ModYFire of Hungary has unveiled the iWear, an iPod nano accessory that secures the device to clothing without revealing itself in the process. ModYFire's iWear is the winner of the first Hungarian iPod casing design competition, according to the company, and works with nearly any type of clothing -- including jeans, skirts, pants, T-shirts, sweaters, and scarves. The iWear is attachable or detachable with one movement, does not use any chemical or glue to secure the iPod to clothing, and holds the player in place while allowing users to move freely. The iWear works with first as well as second-generation iPod nanos, protects the player's screen when users place the device face down, and secures the iPod when performing physical activity like running or riding a bike (pricing was unavailable).
Timex Ironman iControl
The watchmaker Timex has announced the Ironman iControl, a watch with the unusual ability to interact wirelessly with iPods. Using the receiver, users can command iPods to play or pause, raise or lower volume, and skip backwards or forwards between tracks. The iControl is also said to function with iPhones, though this does require switching the latter into Airplane Mode. The watch additionally has a number of non-music functions: it can store up to 50 laps in memory, and can store a traing log with the current date, best lap and average time. It is water-resistant to a depth of 328 feet. The watch should go on sale today for $125 in pink, blue, green, orange and gray/black colors.
LG Wave at Alltel
Alltel today announced it was carrying the AX380, nicknamed the Wave based on its rolling visual design. The LG-made flip phone tackles the mid-range but includes extra touches such as dedicated music controls on the outer lid and Alltel's signature Celltop widget interface for news and weather; assisted GPS support is also included and joins with the cell provider's network for driving directions. Built-in EVDO readies the phone for video streaming, web access, and larger downloadable apps.
20,000 free iPhone widgets
Plusmo today launched its free and customizable mobile widget service for iPhone users that provides access to more than 20,000 widgets. Plusmo enables users to create personalized widgets from useful Web services, XML/RSS-based sources, and user-generated content like blogs and photos or videos. The widgets serve as miniature Web applications that offer traffic reports, store locators, games, blogs, specialized searches, live sports updates, and more. Plusmo's widgets support the iPhone as well as most Java-enabled phones like Symbian devices and RIM Blackberry handsets. The free widgets are already available online.
Sharp Internet AQUOS G
Sharp today introduced a new version of its Internet AQUOS combination PC and TV sets. The G-series expands the screens to include large 1080p sets up to 52 inches in addition to the smaller sizes already available through earlier models. Higher-end GX versions are also the first Internet AQUOS systems to include dual digital TV tuners; owners can now record an HD show to the computer's hard drive in the background while watching another program at the same time, Sharp says. Owners of Sharp's dedicated media recorders can use a built-in FireWire connection to store Internet AQUOS shows and burn them to disc.
BofA begins Apple coverage
Bank of America yesterday officially began covering Apple Inc. with a $160 price target on shares of the Cupertino-based company. "While we recognize we are late to the Apple party, we believe there is a significant amount of upside possible in Apple's stock for a number of reasons," wrote Bank of America analyst Scott Craig, who suggested that continued growth and share gains for the Mac as well as strong unit growth for iPods and the iPhone are potentially underestimated by investors. Taking into consideration the iPhone's "game-changing business model," Craig believes the iPhone will generate operating margins of nearly 60 percent after two years of "conservatively estimated" monthly payments from AT&T at $6 a month. The analyst predicts earnings-per-share of $3.75 in September of 2007 fiscal year, $4.35 for fiscal 2008, and $5.57 in fiscal 2009. Craig says Apple should be valued on a cash earnings-per-share basis, however, as if all iPhone revenue were recognized upon the purchase of the device, according to Barron's Online.
iPhone translator; cases
In brief: One website provides a talking iPhone phrasebook, another heavily discounts iPod cases, Micronet releases a new clustering switch, and a space simulator makes a few changes. Coolgorilla and the travel site lastminute.com have developed the iPhone Translator, a website which provides a quick audio phrasebook for travellers. Users pick one of five languages (French, German, Italian, Portugese and Spanish), then filter through categories to hear phrases on topics such as food, shopping and emergencies. The words are both spelled out on-screen and read aloud by native speakers. Greek phrases are promised to be coming soon.
Apple Touch Dictionary
Apple hopes to patent an interface that would allow users to customize and learn multi-touch gestures similar to those of the iPhone on a computer, according to a recent filing noted by MacNN blogger Neo. First submitted just days before the iPhone's introduction, the document would offer a dictionary program, sometimes running in the background, that would monitor the user's individual finger chords (patterns) on screen. The dictionary could then show the user a range of possible gestures using animated or still icons with a description of what each command will accomplish. The dictionary could also be cued by less direct methods such as bringing hands close to the screen or pressing a physical button, Apple says.
Hitachi Blu-Ray Camcorders
Hitachi today revealed full details of the world's first Blu-Ray camcorders, expanding on the company's early preview from just weeks before. The handheld models are no larger than conventional DV cameras but include a special mini Blu-Ray recorder that writes to 3-inch discs of AVCHD (H.264) video playable in most Blu-Ray movie players and computer drives without requiring the conversion process of previous HD cameras. A single disc will hold about one hour of full 1080-line footage, Hitachi estimates. Every model can also record 4.3-megapixel still shots.
Leopard: Unix certified
Apple's Mac OS X Leopard has received the stamp of approval as an official unix operating system. The official UNIX 03 certification, which entitled the company to use the Unix brand,d came from the Open Group thanks in part to the efforts of Apple's OS boss Kevin Van Vechten and his team and puts Mac OS X Leopard alongside the Big Three: Sun, IBM, and HP, according to Infoworld. The certification for the delayed operating system came in mid-May, but was only recently publicized. A publicly available document certifies that "Apple has entered into a Trademark License Agreement with X/Open Company Limited in accordance with which the following are registered under the X/Open Brand Program: UNIX 03, Registration P1190; Mac OS X Version 10.5 Leopard on Intel-based Macintosh Computers."
Office 2008 delayed
Microsoft's Mac Business Unit on Thursday announced that the next Mac version of its industry-standard Microsoft Office suite will be delayed. Saying the decision was purely "quality driven." The company told MacNN that the release of the highly anticipated Office 2008 for Mac suite has been pushed back from its originally projected late 2007 release date to early 2008 -- "hopefully" in time for the annual Macworld Expo Conference, which takes place in early January. As recently as June, the Mac BU said that Office 2008 was "on track" for release in the second half of 2007.
BCC, Passcode updates
Apple's recent iPhone Update 1.0.1 includes several new enhancements not documented by its own release notes -- which indicate only security fixes. For instance, there is now a BCC option in the iPhone's mail settings to send yourself a copy of outgoing mail, whereas before there was only a CC option. In addition, the Passcode Lock functionality now offers up to one hour to request the password when usage is idle, where before it the only options were immediately or one minute. Several users have also reported stability enhancements with this release, as well as alleviation of an issue where the the iPhone's battery appeared to not charge fully.
Exchange email for iPhone
Synchronica has announced a free trial of its Mobile Gateway 3.0 service, which provides synchronization between Microsoft Exchange and the native e-mail client of the iPhone. The issue with iPhone access to Exchange servers thus far has been the device's ability to only access services via direct IMAP/SMTP connections -- functionality that is blocked by many corporations due to security concerns. However, the new Synchronica tool allows users to send and receive corporate e-mail using their iPhones, without having to install any software on the device or behind the corporate firewall. It uses Microsoft's Outlook Web Access (OWA) to retrieve e-mail from the Exchange server, a service enabled by many enterprises to provide users with access to corporate e-mail from home or while traveling.
VMware Fusion ships Aug 6
VMware on Thursday announced that it will release VMware Fusion next week. VMware fusion is its own propietary virtualization software that allows Mac users to simultaneously run Mac OS X, Windows and other PC-based applications. Leveraging nearly a decade of desktop virtualizatio expertise, the company said that VMware Fusion delivers the most advanced Mac virtualization software available today. The software allows Mac users to take advantage of their hardware's full potential by running both 32- and 64-bit operating systems and leveraging two processor cores at the same time, VMWare said that users can use a wide variety of USB 2.0 devices and the software will support more than 60 operating systems, It also features complete power management capabilities to safeguard virtual machines when laptops are running out of battery as well as support for DirectX for gaming aficionados and Boot Camp-based installations (Windows XP).
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