Sony tonight confirmed the launch of its first two mainstream touchscreen Cyber-shot cameras as well as a new, high-zoom camera for dedicated amateurs. The T70 and T200 share an 8-megapixel sensor as well as the completely touch-driven interface of the premium G1 that controls everything from camera settings to drawing over existing photos. The point-and-shoots also mark the first Sony cameras to include a Smile Shutter feature that not only detects faces but waits for a genuine grin before capturing the shot. Each of the widescreen cameras can themselves output a widescreen image to an HDTV through either a component AV cable or Sony's Cyber-shot Station dock.
Targus has announced three new carrying cases designed specifically for MacBook, 15" MacBook Pro and accessories. The three new cases are made of durable, high-quality ballistic nylon and "custom designed with the Apple user in mind," featuring space for accessories such as a Mighty Mouse, MagSafe Power Adapter, Apple Remote and an iPod. The new Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack, priced at $100, is designed to fit the 15" MacBook Pro and features an EVA molded notebook compartment for added protection. The black and olive Convertible Messenger/Backpack also features a business card holder, key clip, pen loops along with a trolley strap for easy transport on rolling luggage. The case converts from a backpack to messenger and includes a zippered pocket to store the backpack straps when not in use.
Apple on Tuesday released another update to its mobile phone: iPhone 1.02 update. The update is available when users plugin connect their iPhone to the computer and sync with iTunes. Apple says this version contains bug fixes and supersedes all previous versions. The update process takes several minutes while iTunes verifies and uploads the software. The iPhone will automatically restart (and resync) after being updated with the newest software. Reports indicate that third-party hacks -- including iFuntastic -- are still available after the update; however, users with modifications will have to restore store to receive the update.
It appears that representatives or at least employees of Apple, Microsoft, Dell and other major brands have been editing Wikipedia entries concerning their companies, in some cases removing or altering truthful but pejorative information and in other cases adding negative entries about competing firms. The findings come from Virgil Griffith, who created a program -- dubbed Wikipedia Scanner -- that reveals who edits Wikipedia articles, via a system where it scans the IP address and cross-references it with a geographical database. Among the allegations: Microsoft tried to cover up the Xbox 360 failure rate; Apple edited Microsoft entries, adding more negative comments about its rival, and vice versa; Dell deleted negative comments on customer services and removed a passage how the company outsources work to third world countries.
Conceptualize Solutions today released Punch It 3.0, a FileMaker Pro based employee time management system that allows small business employers to move beyond a time clock in favor of a software system that improves accuracy while lowering cost of ownership and providing a faster payroll process. Punch It offers unlimited punches per employee per day, as well as automatic daily and weekly overtime calculations. The software supports bar code scanning functionality and multi-level security safeguards, and works without a FileMaker database in single computer mode. Punch It is priced at $35 for a single computer license, while a network multi-user license is available for $150. The application is also available in an unlocked, customizable developer version that is compatible with FileMaker 7/8/9 for $250.
SwitchEasy today launched its new RunAway and RunAway Crystal Anyshoe adapter/organizer for the iPod Sport Kit. RunAway is a shoe adapter for runners who want to use a pair of shoes other than those advertised by Nike to work with the sport kit. The RunAway also includes an organizer/holder function for the iPod Sport Kit Receiver, a finger-friendly power button to disable the sensor, and polycarbonate/ABS construction for protection during outdoor use as well as easy cleaning. A redesigned holder cap is engineered to allow users to install and remove the Nike+ sensor from the unit, along with a reinforced 3-point lock mechanism. The RunAway Crystal is a new line of translucent cases that come in three colors (Ruby, Sapphire, and Crystal) alongside the standard black and white cases. RunAway is priced at $9.
Microsoft's recently cheapened Xbox 360 Core will also receive its first feature boost since the console was launched in November of 2005, say multiple reports from Europe and those close to Microsoft's Xbox marketing. A new product sheet indicates that the new system would be rechristened the Xbox 360 Arcade and would be pitched to casual gamers looking for games from the Xbox Live Arcade: a 256MB memory card would accompany the bundle preloaded with five popular games from the service, including Pac-Man Championship Edition and Uno. A wireless controller would also replace the wired pack-in model from the current version.
According to ChangeWave's latest consumer PC survey - conducted August 1-8, 2007 - the massive impact of Apple's "halo effect," spurred by consumer interest in the iPod and more recently the iPhone, is resulting in a measurable sales increase and an increased propensity for consumers to consider Macs as their next computers. The survey of 3,665 ChangeWave Alliance members began by asking those who bought a computer in the past 90 days which manufacturer they had bought it from. The survey then asked those planning to buy a computer in the next 90 days which manufacturer they'd be buying from. Based on the results, Apple portable sales have surged to a new all-time high over the past 90 days - up from 12 percent in June to 17 percent currently - an "unprecedented" 5-point move.
A limited beta has launched for Vlingo, software which enables voice input on mobile phones. When a Vlingo-ready text box appears, users can then select it and speak the text they want out loud, instead of typing it in via a keypad. The software further integrates with existing phone applications, allowing users to do things like compose their text messages via speech, or search for businesses with commands like "pizza restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts." Vlingo is currently free, but the beta is limited to the latter "FIND" service, which additionally provides maps and contact details. The software is also restricted to select Sprint phones at the moment, but all major American carriers should eventually be supported.
Three regional carriers have just signed exclusive contracts for the iPhone, according to sources speaking with the Financial Times' German paper. The trade publication has reportedly confirmed T-Mobile's own leaks and indicates that T-Mobile has agreed to be the sole provider for the iPhone in Germany; the report also appears to validate earlier claims that Orange and O2 will be responsible for hosting the phone in France and the UK respectively. Terms are purportedly very similar to those signed with AT&T and would have all three carriers share some of their subscription revenues with Apple. This would be a first for Europe as it was for the US, the Times says.
iDive 1.8 ($70) digital video cataloging product. This new version includes a completely new capture module for video footage that lets users choose how they want their videos stored on disk: either as high quality footage fully compatible with either iMovie or Final Cut, or as on-the-fly compressed videos. The new capture module adds various other most requested new features such as pre-roll, the ability to save capture settings and playback control. [Download - 23MB] AudioCodex 0.90b ($30) an alternative media player for Mac OS X that tightly integrates media, iTunes Library, Quartz Compositions and CoreAudio Audio Units effects. Allows users to easily create loops and apply real-time Audio Units effects to tracks from iTunes and elsewhere. It is built around a unique hybrid CoreAudio/QuickTime playback engine which preferentially plays files with CoreAudio. It also features an advanced Quartz Visualizer module for viewing and tweaking industry standard Quartz Composer .qtz visualizations. [Download - 3.3MB] Keyboard Maestro 2.1.1 ($20) set of macros through which you can control applications, windows, or menus; insert text; open documents, applications or URLs; execute scripts and more. The Program Switcher lets you cycle through applications or windows, closing, hiding, launching, and performing other functions. This release includes support for F17-F19 function keys. [Download - 4.5MB] RailModeller 3.0.3 ($300) a solution for creating layouts for model railroads and slot cars on Apple Macintosh computers. More than 180 libraries are included providing tracks and accessories from virtually any manufacturer of model railroad tracks, allowing to start the user to plan their railroad empire right away. The update to version 3.0.3 provides several improvements and bug fixes as well as a number of updated libraries. [Download - 6.8MB] iWatermark 3.0.11 ($20) allows users to secure, protect and get recognition for photos and artwork. Add your signature, url, email address or logo to all your photos. The new release auto saves the watermark changes, offers a workaround for incorrect meta data (Nikon DX2 and Photoshop CS Mac), updates the help system to reflect changes in the program and fixes a bug when it was accidentally corrupting non-JPEGs when saving. [Download - 8.2MB] iWatermark 3.0.11 ($20) allows users to secure, protect and get recognition for photos and artwork. Add your signature, url, email address or logo to all your photos. The new release auto saves the watermark changes, offers a workaround for incorrect meta data (Nikon DX2 and Photoshop CS Mac), updates the help system to reflect changes in the program and fixes a bug when it was accidentally corrupting non-JPEGs when saving. [Download - 8.2MB]
Google's planned shutdown of all purchased and rented videos on its Google Video site has been delayed, the company has announced on its official blog. Though the company had originally planned for access to the videos to be shut down on the 15th and had initially issued refunds only through its own Checkout service, an extension will now let viewers keep access to clips for another six months and should issue a refund directly to their credit cards, allowing them to spend the money elsewhere.
An upcoming lawsuit, scheduled for hearing in September, may already be threatening the basis for the RIAA's case against illegal file sharing. Ray Beckerman, the defendant attorney in Warner v. Cassin, has filed to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the RIAA can no longer use its "making available" argument. The group's view has been that simply by making music visible in peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing programs, a person is guilty of "continuous" copyright infringement, as files can then be downloaded by virtually anyone.
In brief: Apple has slightly modified the coloring on its Mighty Mouse offerings, an OS X-built Java framework rounds out the JDK, nearly 70 new Mac tutorials have been released, Apple has won an iPod nano patent, and MacLockPick receives a public demonstration ... As reported by setteB.it, Apple silently changed the coloring on its Mighty Mouse and Wireless Mighty Mouse. Apparently the only change is the color of the lower side of side buttons: they are now white, matching the rest of the unit, rather than the original gray. The product codes for the newly colored mice are different, but prices are the same.
Iomega this afternoon upgraded its mobile storage options with two new external hard drives. Focusing on capacity, the 250GB Silver Series and a similar 200GB model take advantage of recent gains to store as much as a quarter terabyte of data while still keeping up with a host Mac or PC at 5,400RPM. The metallic body is half an inch thick but still ruggedized against minor drops and automatically parks the drive head in the event of a fall, the company says. Iomega bundles either drive with versions of EMC Retrospect Express backup tools for both supported operating systems at a price of $180 for the 200GB disk and $230 for the 250GB version.
Demand for Apple's iPhone is still solid in AT&T stores, according to UBS research analyst Ben Reitzes. Surveys reveal that customers are still purchasing the cellular handset, but that new features would help sales. The analyst is targeting 800,000 iPhone shipments in the fiscal fourth quarter of this year, but Reitzes expects Apple will top that figure. Selling even 800,000 iPhones however would bring iPhone sales to more than 1 million since the device began shipping in June. Reitzes was unable to discover any issues related to iPhone returns as rumors might suggest, according to ZDNet, and 23 percent of AT&T stores across the U.S. said they received some kind of complaint -- most of which were mild -- about the iPhone.
Alltel today launched its version of WHERE, a service for hunting down local points of interest. Similar to most dedicated GPS units, a supporting phone with assisted GPS can pinpoint important destinations such as gas stations and hospitals that are within range of the phone. The software can also add customized news feeds to the phone for headlines, weather, and other constantly changing information that displays alongside the location-finding tools.
Sonnet Technologies has introduced a 21-in-1 multimedia memory card reader designed to fit in the ExpressCard/34 slots on MacBook Pros. The device inserts flush inside a MacBook Pro's ExpressCard slot so it can be carried inside the computer slot even when not in use. It includes support for the following formats: Memory Stick, MMC (Multimedia Card), SD (Secure Digital), XD-Picture Card, and all their variations. The card also works in the larger ExpressCard/54 slots. The reader requires a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X Version 10.4 or later and is priced at $30.
Relatively young electronics maker Venzero has just unveiled the FREQ, a new spin on its recent designs with an integrated FM transmitter. The addition lets the device beam its audio to a car stereo without using a line-in jack or a special cable. The device also supports FM reception and the company's signature MUSICMARKER feature that records part of a radio stream or a microphone recording to identify a song and allow a direct paid download of the track to a computer when available.
It's now possible to unlock the iPhone for use on other carriers through hardware, according to an online group searching for access controls on the iPhone. While previous method have required the combination of a special SIM card as well as software, the new and currently secretive method allegedly functions by soldering circuit board connections within the iPhone itself. The technique is said to be risky and maintains a "high probability" of rendering the phone inert but allows any SIM card from a GSM-based carrier beyond AT&T to send and receive calls without modifications and while still using the iPhone's original software.
An extremely high-end Bravia SXRD projector is set to release soon from Sony Japan. A successor to the VW50, the VPL-VW60 supports the full range of HD resolutions, including the 24, 50 and 60 framerates of 1080p. It also boasts twin HDMI inputs, and crucially, a massive 35,000:1 contrast ratio -- well in excess of most projectors in the same range. The VW50 can only achieve 15,000:1.
Display maker Planar has released three new widescreen monitors in its PX series generally aimed at professionals. Leading the range is the PX2611W, a 26-inch LCD capable of resolutions up to 1920x1200 and a quick pixel response time of 5ms. It also boasts a DVI-D connection with HDCP support for encrypted movie sources and can integrates a four-port USB 2.0 hub. The stand features 2.2 inches of height motion and a 340-degree swivel.
Micronet today announced its new SP916GK Wireless Broadband Router, the company's latest generation of wireless router for small business and home office users. The Micronet SP916GK enables multiple users to share the internet through a single ADSL or cable modem, and features an embedded DHCP server as well as simplified IP address management functionality. The router incorporates a NAT/firewall to shield an entire LAN from external attacks, and utilizes IEEE 802.11g wireless networking for up to 54Mbps data transfers. The router includes four built-in 10/100Mbps RJ45 ports, provides an easy-to-use URL filter, and offers advanced firewall features to guard against unauthorized access. Micronet's new router operates within a frequency band of 2.400GHz to 2.3835GHz and features ALG for FTP, NetMeeting, VPN pass-through, DDNS, DNS relay, and UPnP. The router is already available (pricing was unavailable).
SMC today began shipping its new series of adapters and routers that meet the draft 2.0 spec for 802.11n wireless, allowing the routers to match the final criteria of the format when it goes live next year. The Barricade WGBR14-N (shown) is reportedly optimized for games, peer-to-peer downloading, and other features that demand high throughput; stream optimization tricks combined with a multiple-antenna MIMO setup ensure low latency even on the wireless network, SMC says. The 802.11n link peaks at 300Mbps and is supplemented by four gigabit Ethernet jacks for even faster connections. SMC adds a hardware firewall with stateful packet inspection. The new Barricade can be administered by any computer with a modern web browser and ships now for $175.
iwascoding has released the first version of a free utility, GarageBuy. The software is used to speed up searching and bidding for auctions on eBay, and is in fact said to be the only non-browser software officially certified for eBay purchases. The primary feature is its Gallery view, which allows users to quickly scan lists of auctions, with consolidated images and Auction Summaries making it easier to see if a sale is worth pursuing. Search results can be saved locally, and when a user-bid auction enters its last phase, GarageBuy will update its details every few seconds. Closing dates can be exported to iCal. The program is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later.
Wal-Mart today opened its MP3 music downloads, giving customers the option of unprotected songs playable on any device rather than the protected Windows Media files that have been the staple of the retailer's website. The initial catalog includes both music from EMI as well as the recently promised Universal music library, which gives customers the option of artists such as 50 Cent and Bon Jovi. Tracks typically sell at nearly the same price as protected versions with individual songs offered for 94 cents each and most albums available for about $9.22.
Lexmark today introduced three new wireless all-in-one printers (site not updated) for small office and home office users that combine wireless connectivity with automatic two-sided printing with easy installation. The Lexmark X6570, Lexmark X7550, and Lexmark X4850 allow users to print wirelessly from anywhere within range of hte network, and allow multiple systems to share the same printer to scan, fax, and access media card slots. Each of the new devices supports automatic two-sided printing, a color LCD for simple stand-alone usage, pigmented Lexmark "evercolor2 ink" that is resistant to water as well as smudging, and a simple guided wireless installation. The LexMark X6570 is priced at $150, while the Lexmark X7550 is available for $200. The all-in-one devices are slated for shipment in September.
Fnord software is shipping its ProEXR collection, a set of six plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. While Adobe provides basic support for the OpenEXR format, Fnord claims that ProEXR exploits the format, allowing access to features such as multiple image layers, preservation of color space and all possible compression options. Using Photoshop CS3 Extended, EXR files can be saved without collapsing layers, and then opened in programs such as Shake, Nuke and Fusion; After Effects takes advantage of the plug-ins for input and output, extraction of channels into a composition, and automatic project setup from layered files.
The California Museum, a Sacramento institution devoted to the history of the state and its culture, has announced that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be inducted into its Hall of Fame later this year. The ceremony is scheduled for December 5th, and will involve a medal presentation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, to be followed by the unveiling of a new exhibit. Jobs will be joined in name by a number of famous Californians, living and dead: co-inductees this year include Ansel Adams, John Wayne, Jonas Salk, Tiger Woods and more.
LG Mobile on Tuesday has at last formally revealed the KU990, the company's spiritual successor to the Prada. Like the Italian-designed phone, the KU990 is almost entirely driven by a touchscreen with a Flash-based interface. New to the platform, however is a much stronger 5.1-megapixel camera with image stabilization, flash, and a Schneider-Kreuznach lens; the processing hardware is also powerful enough to record video at 120 frames per second, allowing slow-motion capture and reducing blur. A ring around the lens serves as a jog dial that quickly scrubs through video clips.
Thomson Scientific has released EndNote XI for Mac OS X, an update to its bibliographic management software used by millions of researchers, librarians and students. According to the company, EndNote XI introduces custom groups to view and manage subsets of references, AppleScript compatibility for key EndNote tasks, seamless connectivity with EndNote Web to simplify collaboration with colleagues and more. With EndNote X1 users can drag and drop references into subject folders for immediate access to subsets of references: each EndNote Mac library can have up to 500 custom groups, and action-specific groups are created automatically for search results, file imports and reference transfers from EndNote Web, the new Web-based research and writing tool. EndNote X1 is designed for Mac OS X (and Windows 2000/XP/Vista). The list price of EndNote X1 is $300; students can purchase it for $110.
Ableton has launched a new version of its popular Live production software, Live 6 LE. In order to reduce the cost of the package, Live LE provides an interface for recording, songwriting, producing, remixing and DJing, but strips away some of the capabilities of Live 6: it can only handle eight simultaneous built-in instruments, 12 built-in audio effects, two AU/VST effects, and two AU/VST instruments. It can still however handle 64 audio tracks and unlimited MIDI tracks, and record in qualities up to 32-bit/192kHz. Users can also warp and time-stretch formats such as AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG and WAV. To make the software more appealing to beginners, step-by-step tutorials are included. LE is $150 as a download, or $200 in boxed form; the latter comes with the Unnatural Selection loops and construction kit, as well as samples in the form of Essential Instruments Collection LE Edition.
Toshiba today set a new record for mobile storage with the MK3253GSX, the world's first 2.5-inch drive to reach the 320GB mark. An improved read head and refined magnetic storage allows the drive to spread the storage across just two platters, fitting into a 9.5mm tall casing slim enough for thinner notebooks. In contrast to the previous record 300GB drive from Fujitsu, the 320GB Toshiba model spins at a faster 5,400RPM and is guaranteed to output 759MB per second. The drive also supports sudden drop protection and includes an 8MB memory cache.
Adobe on Tuesday announced support for the H.264 video codec in its latest update to Adobe Flash Player 9 software, code-named Moviestar. The free beta update will bring support for H.264 video--which used in both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video players -- as well as offers support for High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support. Adobe said the update also brings hardware-accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback (although older release notes that these features may have been previously available). The company promised that the latest update for Adobe Flash Player 9 will be available in beta for immediate download later today on Adobe Labs adn will be supported by the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) and applications developed with Adobe AIR software, including Adobe Media Player.
Nokia on Tuesday morning launched the 6555. The Finnish company's new clamshell is one of the few designs with a recessed hinge that creates a near-perfect seam between the top and bottom shells when the device is open. This not only adds to the sleek look but is more comfortable to hold than most other phones, Nokia says. The display is also said to be attractive with a full 16 million color, 240x320 LCD that provides a truer picture when watching video stored on microSD cards or capturing images with the built-in (but currently unspecified) camera.
Logitech this morning introduced the Alto Cordless, the latest in its succession of notebook stands. The notebook maker's new model revamps the original Alto by replacing the fixed keyboard with an RF cordless model and a receiver built into the hub. Using the new setup lets users sit the notebook independently from the keyboard for a more comfortable angle without consuming extra ports, Logitech says. A built-in, three-port USB hub also helps keep USB mice, keyboards, and other peripherals attached while only having to plug in a single cable.
Though Apple's retail stores operated at a loss for the first seven quarters they were open, they have gradually become a critical component to the company's bottom line in terms of real, directly generated revenue. Garnering a profit of only $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2003, Apple's most recently completed fiscal quarter shows retail profits totaling $184 million. In some quarters, the retail component of Apple's business has brought in nearly 20% of total revenue. A number of new Apple retail stores are opening internationally in coming weeks, continuing the company's aggressive expansion in light of the segment's tremendous growth.
Looking to reel in a chunk of the burgeoning but not-yet independently lucrative digital music download business, RealNetworks and Viacom's MTV division are teaming to deliver an online music sales venture that the companies hope will rival Apple's dominant iTunes store. Heralding the end of MTV's "Urge" digital music service, which was launched in tandem with Microsoft, the new store will be promoted heavily on MTV's television channels and apparently carry the same Rhapsody moniker that has been promulgated by RealNetworks. Rhapsody currently charges users a monthly fee starting at $13 to listen to an unlimited number of songs. Like other subscription services, when users stop paying their membership fee for Rhapsody, they can no longer to its stocked music.