The Microsoft Mac BU has launched "Art of Office," a user-generated community site where people can submit artistic and/or useful content using Office for Mac applications. Mac BU officials state "This online community allows people to share, rate, remix and discuss user-submitted content with other Office for Mac users around the world, whether it's creating pixel art using Excel (such as the famous 'Happy 10th Birthday' art), developing an animated short story in PowerPoint or artistic pieces in Word." Current contributions to the site include Mark Mothersbaugh's (lead singer of Devo) music for the "I'm a Mac Ads"
iGiki, a developer of several Web-based iPhone games, has introduced a stylus for the iPhone dubbed TapRight. The company says the device, which is intended to deliver more accurate input, "saves fingers and avoid(s) those finger smudges on the glossy screen." It uses a proprietary technology called "TouchField," through which pressure is given off in the upper center of the stylus so there is minimal pressure on the sides and bottom center to stop those areas from triggering the touch screen. The tip shifts the pressure upward, which iGiki says results in more accurate, and targeted taps. The stylus goes on sale at 6PM PST today, and carries a price of $20. The package includes the stylus, carrying pouch, a getting started guide and 10 iPhone Games From iGiki Studios.
Creative Manager Inc. has released a new version of its flagship ad agency software and project manager groupware, Creative Manager Pro 8.5. In this release, the tool's set of financial reports are completely rebuilt. Many of the new features have been rebuilt in Flash, providing a significant speed boost. The new release also adds support for Mac OS X Leopard, to be released in early October. Also, in the new release, every report will be viewed on screen with options to send the report to Excel format or to PDF format. It will also enable the user to drill down from every number in the financials to the transaction list below it, with a further drill down to the actual transaction (PO, Vendor invoice, client invoice ,etc.). Allocation of overhead (by hours, by billings, and by labor costs) will be expanded to include new options, and user definable financial reporting columns have been added. Pricing starts at $380 per month for ten users.
Apple has confirmed that it will hold a special event on September 5, where it is expected to introduce new versions of its iPods. While many of the rumors continue circulate, Apple last week threatened several sites with legal action after images of an updated iPod nano line surfaced. Industry watchers said that the threats were an implicit validation of the images and products. In an invite sent to select media outlets, the company used the tagline 'The beat goes on' and touted its familiar silhouetted iTunes dancer on its Coverflow.
A new class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple, this time alleging that the company did not properly inform purchasers of iPhones that they would be tethered to AT&T's network for the duration of their contract, and separately complaining that using the device internationally can result in excessive data roaming charges. The 9-page suit claims that Apple misled iPhone buyers, not fullly disclosing the locked-in nature of the device, and the fact that unlock codes would not be provided. It was filed by Herbert Kliegerman, who recounts the tale of taking a trip to Mexico and returning to a $2,000 bill. This, he says, contradicts a statement on Apple's site that reads "[y]ou can browse the Internet and send emails as often as you like without being charged extra."
Apple has released iPhoto 7.0.2, an update update addresses issues associated with publishing to .Mac Web Gallery, rebuilding thumbnails, and editing books. It also addresses a number of other minor issues. iPhoto 7 is available as part of the newly released iLife '08 package that delivers a substantial number of enhancements and features. The update is available via the Web (8.8MB) or via Apple's Software Update service (10.2MB). iLife '08 is available for $50 and is bundled with all new Macs.
Apple is offering refurbished MacBook Pro systems in 15-inch and 17-inch sizes from $1,899 to $2,399, as well as its top-end reconditioned black MacBook for $1,299. The company's online store currently lists the 15-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, a 120GB hard drive, and a 6x SuperDrive DVD/CD burner for $1,899. Apple's online store also lists its 17-inch 2.33GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (256MB) graphics card for $2,199; 17-inch 2.4GHz MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, an 8X SuperDrive DVD/CD burner, and an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (256MB) graphics card for $2,399. Apple's top-end consumer notebook is also available as a refurbished sale: the black 2.16GHz MacBook with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and an 8X SuperDrive is priced at $1,299.
Carbonite today announced the third major release of its Online PC Backup service, Carbonite Release 3.0, as well as plans for a Mac version. Carbonite Release 3.0 features a new interface with numerous refinements suggested by existing users, and is designed to simplify appearance customization in the Carbonite interface. Additionally, a new suite of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) allow marketing users to provision and manage users' accounts through existing systems. Release 3.0 also incorporates an adaptive bandwidth management system that can more than double backup speeds, according to the company. Carbonite Release 3.0 is due to ship for Mac in October in English, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese with more languages in the works (pricing was unavailable).
A former Alienware engineer has started NVous PC, a service that creates custom-painted laptops. After configuring the specifications of a system, buyers upload images to the website, which are then used as the basis for painting one or more panels with the advice of a designer. Alternately, people who already own a laptop can send theirs in to receive similar treatment. The paint finish is described as similar to that on a luxury car.
Unlocking the iPhone may not be as bad for Apple as some have speculated, and may have actually been part of CEO Steve Jobs' plan all along. Though the company reaps significant revenue from its partnership with AT&T and the associated cut of subscriber fees, its real objective is to evoke a sea change in the wireless industry and generate revenue by selling actual handsets -- something that unlocking mechanisms will do nothing to hamper, and may actually promote. A full-blown unlocking procedure could make the iPhone as ubiquitous overseas as it is in the U.S, potentially culminating in a huge sales surge for Apple. This could, in turn, result in a sustainable profit stream that far outweighs the money generated by AT&T subscriber fees. After all, Apple is a company that primarily subsists on hardware sales -- a model that it has embraced for all recent memory, and has paid off well.
Photos and information have leaked regarding the Pantech C180, a dual-sliding QWERTY smartphone that resembles a thinner Helio Ocean. A primary difference however is the switch to Windows Mobile 6 Standard, as well as 3G UMTS, though it is unclear whether or not the phone uses HSDPA. The screen is said to display 65,000 colors, and memory is expanded through microSD cards. Markings point to the device coming to AT&T; an unindentified source suggests that it should ship by or during the fourth quarter, costing $250 or less with a two-year contract. [via Boy Genius Report]
Google's rumored phone development may actually be a phone OS, according to multiple sources familiar with the project. The Linux-based shell is said to have begun development shortly after Google 2005 buyout of the start-up firm Android, which was founded by former Danger head (and Hiptop/Sidekick creator) Andrew Rubin. The emphasis on the platform would be on a modular design that lets carriers and handset makers add or remove components as they please; only integration with Google's searching and other web tools would be a constant factor, according to the claims.
According to a new series of benchmarks released by Primate Labs, the top-end Mid-2007 iMac is faster than the Power Mac G5 (Late 2005) with two dual-core G5 processors at 2.5 GHz, and only slightly slower than the Xserve (Late 2006) with two dual-Core Intel Xeons at 2GHz. The Mid-2007 iMac with a dual-core Core 2 Extreme running at 2.8GHz posted a Geekbench score of 3740, significantly faster than the Power Mac G5's score of 3298, and only slightly slower than the Xserve's score of 3831. The mid-range 2007 iMac, featuring an Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.4GHz, put in a score of 3213. For comparison's sake, 1000 is the score a single-processor Power Mac G5 at 1.6GHz would receive.
Samsung has allegedly refused to slash prices on flash memory for its largest customers in the wake of the major power outage that disrupted supplies, say sources within Samsung. While others had suspected that the Korean chipmaker would deliberately cut prices for some of its favorite customers to compensate them for lost profit as supplies fall short, company insiders stress that their firm wants a level playing field and has kept prices consistent whenever possible, according to the report. Pricing for short-term orders from Samsung is known to have spiked immediately after the outage to compensate for the manufacturer's own losses, but was not expected to have touched contract prices.
KeynoteUser.com has released Galleria, a new theme built exclusively for Apple's Keynote '08 presentation software using Keynote's new Media Placeholder system rather than Photo Cutouts. The software is designed to showcase photos, and includes more than 20 layouts alongside standard layouts. Galleria includes seven theme sizes designed for resolutions from 800x600 through high-definition, as well as Apple's 23-inch and 30-inch Cinema Displays. The theme includes a sample file that contains tips and trips, as well as an extras file filled with buttons and paper scraps. Galleria is available for $20, and requires Keynote '08.
Apple and AT&T may be fighting an uphill battle to keep iPhone owners locked into their exclusive service agreements with just one wireless provider. Hackers first developed a dangerous hardware-based unlock for the popular cellular device last week by soldering connections in the iPhone, but by Friday at least one developer said an easy-to-use software unlock was close to public release. Apple and AT&T are working to put pressure on developers of such unlocks, but some legal experts say the tech giants are moving closer to legal action that could prevent a sole agreement between AT&T and the iPhone maker.
Apple has filed a patent covering user interfaces on portable devices with touchscreen interfaces (presumably the iPhone and or iPod) that would allow for quick reconfiguration of on-screen elements, including icons. For instance" the user makes contact with one of the icons and moves the point of contact across the display surface; the motion and contact are detected by the portable "electronic device" and the displayed icon is moved accordingly. This would appear to represent an easy method for re-arranging the applications that appear on the iPhone's home screen, or SpringBoard. The patent also allows for icons to be automatically displaced by other icons, and the movement of icons to static-placed holders akin to the Dock in Mac OS X.
Research in Motion's upcoming BlackBerry Pearl 2 (also known as the 8120) has finally been spotted in real-world photos, says an admin at the BlackBerry-oriented Pinstack forums. The test unit on display comes in the previously speculated gold color option and features a noticeably improved button layout with easier to hit navigation buttons and firmer keys. The finished version also includes the hoped-for 3.5mm headphone jack and 2-megapixel camera, and shows off an improved version of RIM's SureType predictive text plus an improved e-mail client.
In addition to several new consumer-oriented printers, HP today unveiled several additions to its office-targeted line of printers and scanners. The new products include what the company is calling the fastest mobile printer, a 35 page-per-minute inkjet, three new laser printers and a multifunction laser printer series, a sheet-fed scanner, and a flatbed scanner. In addition, HP debuted enhanced versions of HP Easy Printer Care Software and HP Marketing Resources software, as well as a new USB network print adaptor. The HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer, which the company claims is the industry's fastest mobile printer, allegedly delivers print speeds of up to 23 pages-per-minute black and 16 pages-per-minute color. It offers optional wireless connectivity and a lithium-ion battery that prints up to 480 pages per charge. The new mobile printer is priced at $250 an won't be available until January 2008.
SanDisk today ramped up the capacity of one of its smallest drives, the Cruzer Micro, to 8GB. The update doubles the capacity while still allowing space for the thumb slider that tucks away the USB port without the need for a cap. The extra storage is worth roughly 2,000 songs or five hours of typical home video camera footage, SanDisk says. Windows users also receive U3 support that turns the Micro into a portable program launcher, with full bundled copies of SanDisk's CruzerSync backup tool, a password manager, and Skype already preloaded.
HP today took wraps off a number of consumer-oriented printers. Among them are seven new models that offer wireless connectivity and three touchscreen products including what is purported to be the first touchscreen on a compact photo printer. Introduced alongside the fresh printers is new "Smart Web Printing" software, and the addition of new photo books that allow consumers to add and remove pages. The new touchscreen devices include two compact photo printers that use styluses for "editing and personalization of photos, album pages and greeting cards with frames, captions and graphics." The new products will be promoted via a $300 million ad campaign featuring Gwen Stefani, Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton and others.
Apple's iTunes Store today will begin selling digital copies of Ringo Starr's post-Beatles EMI catalog, marking the third Beetle band member to release music via the digital music realm. Ringo's tracks come to iTunes after solo offerings from Paul McCartney and John Lennon, both of which were recently added to Apple's online offerings. Ringo's addition to iTunes accompanies a new compilation CD from the Beatles drummer to promote online sales, according to BloggingStocks. Industry watchers are hoping to see the Beatles catalog itself released online by early 2008, but music giant EMI -- which holds the rights to those works -- has yet to offer a public decision on the matter.
iZ3D on Tuesday switched from its mainstay 3D glasses to LCDs with the 22-inch iZ3D Monitor. Targeted at both gamers and 3D modelers, the display is one of the few to actively generate a stereoscopic 3D image with the same CPUs and video cards used by high-end users at home and at work: NVIDIA's GeForce 8-series cards and AMD's ATI FireGL V3600 can both recognize the display, while anyone with a Core 2 Duo or Quad can use spare CPU resources to generate the final image. The 3D system at the heart of the LCD is much easier on the eyes than some screens, iZ3D notes, as it relies on passive glasses and is easily adjusted to avoid headaches.
Images accompany an anonymous tip that Sony is planning a new series of network Walkmen, prefixed NWZ. Though similar to the NW-A800, the NWZ-S615F and NWZ-A815 should have increased battery life, at 18 hours of video and 33 hours of music apiece. The former also has FM radio and a re-arranged control pad, but is limited to 2GB of memory. NWZ-A players should come in 2, 4 and 8GB sizes, and black, white, silver and pink options, though the 8GB model is said to be limited to black. A formal announcement of the players may happen as early as Friday. [via Engadget]
Ricoh has rolled out its new Caplio R7 digital camera with 7.1X optical zoom and an 8.15-megapixel CCD. The new camera features a 28-200mm wide-angle and zoom lens alongside a new image processing engine. The Caplio R7 offers vibration correction, a 1cm macro, high-sensitivity ISO 1600, and a 2.7-inch LCD screen with an anti-reflection coating. A face recognition mode accompanies dual size recording and long drive 300 shot capability. A new ADJ button allows users to toggle easily between key settings like exposure, white balance, and ISO sensitivity. Users can scan through the operation menu with one hand, and the camera offers presets for up to four shooting settings from the menu with the ability to add or change settings as desired. Ricoh's Caplio R7 is priced at $350, and comes in assorted colors which include silver, black, and orange.
Targeting students, IOGEAR has released a pair of new products. The first is the Flash Wallet Drive, which holds 4GB of data, but is only a tenth of an inch thick and is smaller in length and width than a business card. It connects to a computer via USB 2.0, and is Mac, Windows and Sun compatible, although only Windows computers can run the included security software. The drive is currently selling in blue for $70. The 3-in-1 Wireless Phaser Presentation Mouse contains a laser pointer, a trackball and an optical sensor, and can operate up to 30 feet away from a machine through a USB receiver. The sensitivity of the mouse can be set between 800 and 1,600dpi as desired, and power is supplied through a cradle and two rechargeable AA batteries. The Phaser is Mac and Windows compatible and shipping for $60.
HTC today erased all doubts for its latest smartphone with the Europe-wide debut of the TyTN II, its official name for the Kaiser. The smartphone iwill now see a release in most of the continent as both a locked and unlocked device with new software features to complement its distinctive angled, slide-out keyboard. The standard Windows Mobile 6 front-end has been replaced with HTC Home, a control panel with quick touch access to contacts (including contacts by photo), e-mail, and weather; it also includes TomTom 6 Taster Edition software to get started using the integrated GPS receiver.
CS Odessa has released the Mac version of ConceptDraw MINDMAP 5, an application used to organize thoughts and projects, and view them in an unorthodox manner. The major addition to the new program is the Brainstorming mode, in which users add "free-floating" topics in a timed session, arranging them either during the session or afterwards. Users can now also view ideas as maps and text outlines simultaneously, and adjust the visual style of maps by drawing vector images, or tweaking settings such as transparency. Lines and text in maps are smoothed out. MINDMAP 5 is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4, and costs $120 for personal use or $200 in its profession version.
Casio today unveiled two new EXILIM digital cameras featuring 8.1 and 10.1-megapixel sensors. The company's EX-V8 is designed as a slim camera with 7X optical zoom designed for quiet operation, while the EX-Z1080 offers four blur reduction technologies including a CCD-shift image stabilization mechanism. The 10.1-megapixel EX-Z1080 enables high sensitivity photography up to a maximum of ISO 6400, and is ideal for photographing darker scenes as well as reducing blur caused by shaky hands or subject movement, according to Casio. Both cameras incorporate the EXILIM Engine 2.0 image processing module which allows users to record movies in high-definition (H.264) alongside a YouTube Capture Mode that enables users to shoot as well as save movies at the optimum size, quality, and other settings for YouTube. Casio's EX-V8 is priced at $330, while the EX-Z1080 will ship for $280. The cameras are scheduled to arrive on store shelves next month.
Samsung today upgraded its Q1 Ultra handheld PC with three new models that cater to both the high and low ends of the still-young UMPC market. The Q1U-SSDXP is the first ever Ultra to pack a solid-state drive, replacing the higher-capacity but more fragile spinning hard disk with 32GB of flash memory. Switching to the format not only improves speed and shockproofs the system against common bumps: the reduced power draw increases battery life to a more usable 4.5 hours, Samsung says. The change should help the UMPC survive tougher conditions and should be available today for $1,649.
Though barely online for more than a day, the introduction video for the forthcoming Mac OS X Leopard has already been removed from YouTube. The clip displayed Apple's standard multilingual "welcome" message, but with the space theme Apple has been cultivating for the OS. Trying to visit the video link today results in an error message, indicating that the clip has been pulled due to an Apple copyright claim.
Creative is readying a small, flash-based but video-focused media player that will directly challenge Apple's upcoming iPod nano replacement, according to Amazon leaks. Simply to be called the Creative ZEN, the jukebox will include the same 2.5-inch LCD as the leaked Apple player but will mount the controls to the side like the ZEN Vision:W to emphasize video playback. The display should also represent an image quality upgrade with a full 16.7 million colors on view. Capacities are also likely to match Apple's and those of the ZEN V Plus) with 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of flash. An SD slot will give Creative an advantage by expanding storage by another 2GB, according to Amazon.
In brief: Apple's founders get a miniature commemoration, AMD gets a Mac video card back in stock, and a Canadian site offers discounted Mac support. PodBrix, a maker of Apple-themed products based on Lego, has announced the imminent release of the Young Woz and Jobs Playset. The diorama depicts Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1972, working on an early computer; figures and details in the scene have been custom-painted, such as a thought bubble predicting the iPhone. A limited run of 300 units will go on sale August 29th at 9PM EST, costing $40 apiece.
Samsung today confirmed that its YP-P2 touchscreen media player would be coming to the US, paving the route for a direct competition between the player and potential models from Apple. The previously Europe-only 8GB device will retain the 3-inch widescreen with touch controls used to play music, video, and podcasts. Battery life is now set at 35 hours of music and five hours of video. In a surprise announcement, however, the company notes that a November firmware upgrade will use the P2's Bluetooth and microphone to serve as an impromptu cellphone extension for answering calls without reaching for the phone itself.
Toshiba this morning added a new mid-size flash player to its Gigabeat line. The T401 balances the differences between the small Gigabeat U and the company's hard disk players, sporting a 2.4-inch tall LCD and 4GB of flash storage that cuts the thickness to under 0.4 inches. Unlike most of Toshiba's players or even the Microsoft Zune, however, the T401 supports not just 802.11g Wi-Fi but also an Internet connection; listeners can download podcasts directly from websites without first synchronizing with a PC.
TV designer Olevia helped kickstart Tuesday with the announcement of the 665H, a significant upgrade to its 65-inch rear projection LCD set. The liquid-crystal-on-silicon TV musters a full 1080p resolution with a relatively quick 4ms pixel response time and a 2,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Dual HDMI and component inputs provide HD-resolution video for conventional TV sources, with PC input explicitly supported by both HDMI and a separate VGA port.
Logitech this morning launched a pair of headsets that it believes can serve as all-round replacements in games as well as instant messaging and VoIP. The ClearChat Comfort and Pro both plug into a USB port for a relatively simple, one-cable link that works with both Mac OS X and Windows PCs. The peripheral maker claims better sound through laser-tuned drivers and notes that each wraps around the head with padded earcups and headbands that won't irritate the user in hours of regular use. The Pro adds a distinctive SoundSwitch equalizer that easily adjusts between ideal settings for games and other apps, though all models sport a flexible, noise-canceling boom microphone.