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USB Fever has released a new Universal AAA Battery Charger with a built in flashlight that can charge the iPhone, iPod, all the major cell phone brands, various PDAs and and the PlayStation Portable. The device is powered by 4 AAA batteries and can even charge rechargeable batteries. There is also an LED indicator to display charge status. Safety features include temperature sensors, reverse polarity protection, over current protection and short circuit protection. The device is priced at $15.
Ambrosia Software has released iToner 1.0, a new tool that lets users put custom ringtones on the iPhone without hacking the device or "jailbreaking" it. With iToner, the process requires only dragging and dropping audio files onto the single-window interface then hitting the Sync button. The custom ringtones are instantly accessible from your iPhone, and no restart is required. The developer also claims that the ringtones will remain intact through iPhone software/firmware updates. "A phone as cool as the iPhone deserves customizable ringtones," said Andrew Welch, President of Ambrosia Software. "We bring you that in spades with iToner." iToner costs $15, requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later, and is a Universal Binary application. There is a 30-day trial period.
MoneyWell is a new piece of software from No Thirst Software that helps people take control of their spending. The tool uses Spending Buckets and a Money Flow Graph all presenting real-time feedback, so that the user knows immediately when spending is getting out of hand by looking at the single-window interface. With spending buckets, users drop paycheck transactions into an income bucket. Then users can allocate that income to expense buckets for rent, groceries, dining, and other user-defined categories. As money is spent on an activity like dining out, the "Dining" bucket empties until it visually tips over when no money is left to spend. In addition to the always-visible buckets, there is a Money Flow Graph below the list of transactions that compares planned versus actual spending. With cash flow management, each bucket can be told which half of the month money is needed so users can balance their cash flow. Buckets are also given a priority to help users allocate income to expenses like rent before entertainment. The tool is priced at $40 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
Apple is offering reconditioned products via its online store from nearly every corner of its Mac business. Refurbished MacBooks are available for as low as $949, while guaranteed good-as-new iMacs are priced from $849. The company is even offering its top-end Mac Pro workstations at discounted rates to price conscious shoppers. Refurbished MacBooks include the white 2.0GHz and 2.16GHz models with 1GB of memory and either an 80GB hard drive alongside a Combo DVD-ROM/CD burner for $949 or a 120GB hard drive complementing an 8x SuperDrive DVD/CD burner for $1,099. Apple's reconditiond iMacs include its 17-inch, 20-inch, and 24-inch models -- all with 1GB of memory and other varying specs from between $849 and $1,449. Mac Pro systems are available in just one 3.0GHz configuration with 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and either one ($3,299) or two ($3,349) SuperDrives.
Frederic Descamps has released Dream Recorder, a sleep monitoring tool that detects body motions with night vision processing that is powered by the iSight. The program is fitted with a statistics section keeping records, nights after nights, for many parameters. The tool can also be used to aid in recollecting your dreams: you can select a sound to gently wake you up, just after a dream, and then record the experience before memory fades. The light source for the program is the screen backlight, which is automatically switched on and off at the appropriate times. The author says the tool is designed for use by sleepy individuals. "All features are easily accessible from the main panel. Colors are dark on purpose. All panels and buttons have smooth appearance, with light but distinct sounds. Minimal clicking as a rule." Dream Recorder is priced at $45.
Native Instruments today released Traktor Scratch 1.1, a free update to its new digital DJ system. Traktor Scratch 1.1 makes managing music collections more efficient with an optimized track database that boasts increased performance as well as new playlist features. The software also adds new exclusive Beatport features, support for the upcoming 7-inch control records, a software-based input throughput function, and a wide range of performance options and fixes. The update is available as a free download for all Traktor Scratch users from the company's website, while new user licenses are priced at $700.
Apimac has released Caller ID, a shareware application for Mac OS X that works in the background and provides a visual alert to inform you about the person currently calling on the phone. The tool lets you distinguish business from personal calls and lets you decide in advance how to answer and respond. It uses your Address Book contacts to match and identify phone numbers. To receive the caller ID information, you need a modem or a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. You can also forward this information to other clients in your LAN. In addition, you can setup Caller ID to receive the caller ID connecting to another running copy of Caller ID in your LAN. There's also AppleScript integration so that when a phone call arrives it can trigger processes in other apps. The program is priced at $15.
JVC on Friday released the world's first rewritable disc to feature dual layers on a single side, mimicking some movie DVDs and allowing users to write up to 8.5GB of uninterrupted data. The breakthrough brings the physical size of a dual-layer DVD in line with single-layer counterparts while permitting as many as 1000 complete burns. A new hard-coating technique will also apply to every disc to protect them against flaws that frequently ruin ordinary DVDs: the new method is 150 times tougher than normal discs and essentially guarantees resistance against typical scratches, smudges, and even static electricity, JVC says. Current DVDs can be recorded at 2X speed.
The Nokia 5200 was recently adopted by the Canadian carrier Fido, giving Electronista the rare opportunity to test it before it hits wider North American release. The phone is the latest in Nokia's XpressMusic series, and should not be confused with with the existing 5300; while superficially similar, the 5200 drops the camera rating from 1.3 megapixels to VGA, and also drops a band from its GSM receiver. More importantly, given its musical focus, the track skip buttons have been removed, leaving only a play/pause button.
An upcoming but unannounced Motorola phone will signal one of Motorola's greater experiments in controls, says a leak from Chinese site Zol. In place of full-sized keys, each input will be replaced by small contact points with labels triggered by background lighting. The technique would let each button's function change depending on the context: in media mode, the number keys would fade away to be replaced by track navigation controls, the website notes. Implementing the scheme would allow Motorola to add or alter controls on the fly, a frequent problem with non-touchscreen phones.
Toyota on Friday released an iPod Integration Kit that works in all current Toyota and Lexus models. The kit, first announced in early May, is installed in the vehicle's glove box: it connects Apple's iPod directly to the car's audio system and can recharge the iPod's battery, according to Leftlane News. Once connected, all of the iPod's functions can be controlled through the audio head unit or steering wheel mounted controls. The kit also uses the head unit's display for the iPod's text-readouts–such as track title, elapsed time, etc.
Microsoft began its Labor Day weekend by providing launch dates for the Halo 3 accessories that will ship ahead of the game itself and alongside the Special Edition Xbox 360. The Halo 3 Wireless Headset comes in the orange and tan of the Master Chief and is designed to eliminate the clutter of the wired earpiece for long gaming sessions; similar to the all-white original, it runs for up to eight hours on a charge and has dual removable clips to fit unusual ear sizes. It should be available for a limited production run on September 4th for $60.
Overseas internet service provider iiNet today launched the first ever technical support line dedicated to Mac users in Australia. The company's CEO said his company formed the service for the growing number of customers using Macs. "The number of iiNet customers who use Macs is increasing [...] this new support line is about extending our already strong support experience where customers need it," said iiNet chief Mark White. The executive says a specialist Mac support team has already taken a training program designed by Apple, and that the team is dedicated to helping Mac users effectively troubleshoot problems, according to Macworld UK.
Sales of Blu-Ray movies almost completely eclipsed those of HD DVD in August, says a new report from Home Media Research. Of the top 10 HD movies sold as of August 5th, all ten relied on the Blu-Ray format -- including titles that were considered cross-platform launches, such as the chart's first-place movie 300. While the figures counted sales of the multi-format movies towards the overall figure, some titles would have been excluded from the list altogether without their Blu-Ray statistics, such as Babel. Most instances in which viewers had the choice of either format gave Blu-Ray the greater share of sales.
In the wake of NBC's announcement that it plans to pull its content from the iTunes Store and Apple's subsequent announcement that it would cancel the broadcaster's contract, other providers of for-purchase content available through iTunes have lined up to express their continued support and media availability. Disney Channel executives, for instance, say that not only will they continue selling their offerings through the iTunes store, but that ratings have never been higher than when shows were concurrently available through the service. The NBC spat stems from the fact that the broadcaster is upset over Apple's lock on sales schemes, particularly its resistance to altering prices, or bundling videos together to increase profit.
Archos is about to ship the Archos 105, the music-oriented device in its fifth-generation player line. The 2GB device is thin at just 0.3 inches deep but is capable of playing a full range of content; beyond MP3, WAV, and WMA music, the 105 is also home to full-speed Windows Media video at its native resolution and JPEG photo viewing. A 1.8-inch OLED screen brightens the image and also keeps power consumption at 18 hours for audio.
Panasonic today committed to releasing a high-speed SDHC card with 16GB of storage. Representing four times the storage of the company's previous best model, the card also musters sustained transfer speeds of 20MB per second; this is quick enough for the HDC-SD5 and other AVCHD cameras and gives them as much as four hours of 1080i video or over 6100 photos even from a 10-megapixel camera, the company estimates. The professional-level SDHC card is now set to launch worldwide in November and should be priced at $320 with 4GB and smaller models remaining at today's prices.
SanDisk has announced three new memory products, concentrated in the realm of SD. Preeminent is a new 4GB card in the company's Ultra II SDHC line; it is specifically an early entry into the Ultra II SDHC Plus line, and has read/write speeds of approximately 10MB/s, a full 4MB faster than the high-level Class 6 speed. Another highlight is the Hinge Lock, which allows the card to be attached directly to a USB port. It should be released in October at a price of $80.
Though Google's per-share price is roughly four times higher than Apple's, a significantly larger number of outstanding shares and a surging stock price have resulted in Apple Inc. surpassing Google in terms of market capitalization at points during today's trading session. As of 10:30 AM PST, Apple's shares were trading at about $138. With 864,948,000 outstanding shares, that price reflects a market capitalization of about $119.4 billion. Google's shares were trading at just over $515 with 231,472,000 outstanding shares, representing a market cap of about $119.3 billion. There shares are still fluctuating, however, and either Apple or Google could be the leader in worth by the end of the trading day.
In a fight over pricing, Apple today announced that it will not sell NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes Store. The announcement follows NBC's decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes when Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode. Apple noted that NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.
Sony's mysterious Rolly jukebox has been confirmed, courtesy of a promo video for the player found by Engadget. While many of its details are still unknown, the player appears designed to react with its own movement in time with the music, rolling on a table or the floor through body-sized wheels and opening its speaker covers. The device would also pulse different colors at the same time, according to the video.
Taking advantage of the IFA electronics expo in Berlin, Philips has has announced a new Blu-Ray player, the BDP-7100. A successor to the first-generation BDP-9000, the 7100 will support both 1080p/24 and 1080p/60 through HDMI, and will also be capable of internally decoding high-end audio codecs, including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD. Little else is known, except that the player should soon be available across Europe. Given the 9000's presence in North America, the 7100 may eventually arrive as a domestic product. [via Blu-ray.com]
NAVIGON at the IFA show today rolled out a new starter GPS unit it says will please drivers still looking for some extra features. The 2100 (pictured) is based around the near ubiquitous 3.5-inch touchscreen of many mapping units but still shares the slim profiles of the 5100 and 7100 and a few of the more advanced features. Reality View provides a 3D mockup of the road that indicates lane changes and actual signs in the area; unlike some units, traffic data is always free, NAVIGON says. Points of interest are complemented by ZAGAT star ratings in major US cities to help recommend better hotels or restaurants.
Mercedes-Benz has forged a deal with Google and Yahoo! to link web maps with GPS data, simplifying in-car navigation services. Both Google Maps and Yahoo! Local Maps will soon have a "Send to Car" option, allowing maps, directions and points of interest to be sent to a Mercedes GPS system, whether the owner's or that of a peer. Once in their cars, people will have to push an "i" button to download the information, which will then be usable either immediately or at a later time. Mercedes' Search & Send system will launch September 5th with the S-class sedan and CL-class coupe, and should be present on all models of the 2008 C-class.
Apple and the major music labels are preparing to sell customizable ringtones to iPhone customers via the iTunes Store, according to a report from the New York Post. Apple will likely announce the new service when it unveils new iPods, and that could be as early as next Friday. Apple is currently working with record labels to ink a deal that would allow users to turn almost any song sold through its iTunes Store into a ringtone for a fee. Specific pricing remains unknown, but current carriers typically charge between $1.99 and $2.49 for each ringtone. Apple will allow users to convert songs already purchased from the iTunes Store into ringtones, and iPhone users will be able to select any part of a chosen song to serve as the ringtone. That option contrasts with current ringtone deals from carriers like Sprint and Verizon that only offer pre-determined song samples. Most major music labels are working with Apple to offer ringtones, but Universal Music Group reportedly refused Apple's offer.
Amazon's MP3 music store may finally be available next month with prices lower than those at Apple's store, according to a report from the New York Post. The newspaper cites anonymous industry sources who claim that the often-delayed store will launch the week of September 17th, carrying protection-free tracks from EMI as well as Universal and independent labels. However, pricing will be the key selling point, the paper says. In contrast to Apple's iTunes, which sells individual tracks without copy protection for $1.29 each, a standard Amazon new release track would cost 99 cents with albums selling between $8 and $10 each in most cases.
Verizon Wireless has announced it will carry a special green edition of the LG enV, due out September 2nd. Simply known as the enV green, it will only be sold through Circuit City, and should remain otherwise unchanged from the standard edition (seen right). The phone's primary selling point is its QWERTY keypad, which like the T-Mobile Sidekick, improves the ease of writing e-mail and other text. It also benefits from features such as Bluetooth, stereo speakers, a two-megapixel camera, and V CAST music and video. The enV will cost $150 after a $50 rebate and a new two-year contract.
A group of Lithuanian hackers is already promising to unlock iPhones for a fee, says Agence France-Presse. For the price of 990 litas (approx. $390), the group's website -- located in India -- offers multiple methods for making iPhones usable with carriers other than AT&T. The first is cloning the SIM card, which is said to be illegal; a hardware unlock is another option, but the preferred method of the hackers is a tweak of the original SIM card, altering commands exchanged with an iPhone. This method "seems to be legal," according to the website, since it neither clones the SIM card nor affects mobile networks.
The Department of Justice today told a U.S. court that its Microsoft anti-trust settlement benefits consumers and competition in the middleware market. Final judgments against the Redmond-based software giant benefit the development and distribution of middleware -- including Web browsers, media players, and instant messaging software -- resulting in more choices for consumers, the department said. In a joint filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department and the states of New York, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin submitted a review of the final judgments entered in 2002 to resolve the antitrust case against Microsoft.
Casio opened its presence at Berlin's IFA technology show today by demonstrating a new pro camera that would blur distinctions between still and motion photography. The unnamed Exilim combines a new-generation CMOS sensor with enhanced LSI processing to capture video at frame rates better even than the best home HD cameras. Though capped at 6 megapixels, the camera can record video at this full resolution at 60 frames per second -- double that of standard video and quick enough to let the camera snap images at full size without interrupting video or significantly blurring the resulting shot.
AT&T today became the third US provider to begin carrying the RAZR2, this time offering the device in its V9 form with 3G Internet access over the provider's HSDPA network. The AT&T version is also the only American version to ship in the RAZR2's unique metallic red and runs on Motorola's Synergy interface rather than the Linux-based JUIX shell used for the 2G, EDGE-only RAZR2 V8. Virtually all features are intact from the 2-megapixel cameraphone, including stereo Bluetooth.
NBC Universal will no longer offer episodes of its TV shows through the iTunes Store, according to fresh reports. NBC is said to have informed Apple of its decision late yesterday, a fact confirmed by an NBC spokesman. A source for the New York Times suggests that NBC is upset over Apple's lock on sales schemes, particularly its resistance to altering prices, or bundling videos together to increase profit. NBC would also like to impose more stringent DRM measures.
Shure on Friday brought its newer SE series in-canal buds to the mainstream level with the SE110. The audio gear maker brags that it has brought its pro-grade technology down to a level that most listeners can afford and integrates much of the same fundamental technology. Sound is generated through balanced microdrivers that are said to deliver clear treble without canceling bass, and a form-fitting design that eliminates 90 percent of ambient sound with a tight seal.
Sharp today revealed a prototype touchscreen display it believes could solve many of the inherent limitations of current models. The current example uses the same 3.5-inch size and 320x480 resolution of the iPhone's Balda-made display but builds optical sensors directly into the LCD surface, detecting changes by the pixel. Input is sensitive enough to allow complex multi-touch gestures such as an iPhone-like "pinch" but can also perform scanning functions; a future device could include a business card reader tool or automatically scan data codes found on packaging, Sharp says.
Speculation is brewing that Volkswagen and Apple may work together to manufacture and ship an automobile, tentatively dubbed the "iCar". Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn allegedly met earlier this month in California to discuss the possible joint-venture. The team-up may be the result of research revealing that a compact car upgraded with Apple products would be of great interest to young target groups. In 2003, Apple and Volkswagon worked together on the "Pods Unite" promotion, in which VW gave a complimentary Apple iPod to anyone who purchased a Beetle.
Samsung unleashed a bevy of new home entertainment products at the IFA 2007 conference, currently underway in Berlin, Germany, including new HD LCD TVs, a player supporting both HD DVD and Blu-Ray disc playback, and a new line of portable audio players. The new Blu-ray/HD DVD players, the BD-UP5000, shares most functionality with its Blu-ray-only siblings, the BD-P1400 and BD-P2400. The players offer full compatibility with 24 movie frames per second playback and 60Fs for enhanced compatibility with many of today's HDTVs. The BD-P2400 works with Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD while BD-P1400 works with Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, The duo HD BD-UP5000 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2007, the BD-P2400 in October, and the BD-P1400 in September.
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iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt
TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS