Apple on Thursday also released iWeb 2.0.2, which addresses issues with upgrading iWeb 1.x websites, and fixes some common publishing problems, and supports general compatibility issues. According to Apple, users must install the iLife Support 8.1 update first. The iLife update supports system software components used by all iLife application, improves overall stability, addresses a number of other minor issues and supports general compatibility issues.
Better Energy Systems today unveiled the Solio Hybrid1000, the latest addition to the company's expanding collection of easy-to-use renewable energy products that provides portable gadget users with renewable, green energy. The device powers most mobile devices without relying on conventional power sources by combining a high efficiency solar panel with a large capacity integrated Lithium-Ion battery. Housed in a rugged waterproof case, the Hybrid1000 features a built-in output cable as well as a variety of different tips to power a wide array of portable electronics including cellular phones, PDAs, msuic players, digital cameras, and more. The Hybrid1000 is priced at $80 and includes a carabineer clip handle for easy carrying.
Redstone Software has announced version 4.01 of Eggplant, an automation and testing tool for replicating the end-user experience. This release builds on Eggplant's two-computer architecture, whereby Eggplant connects to Systems-Under-Test via VNC and tests applications through the GUI. There are also three new features, dubbed Productiveti Image Doctor, Productiveti Image Import and Productiveti Image Collections. These features automatically address changes to the testing interface during script execution, offering autonomic self-healing of scripts during script execution. Productiveti Image Import imports graphic images into Eggplant for use in test script creation, while Image Collections groups several representations of an image that is callable within an Eggplant script using a single reference name. Eggplant pricing starts at $600.
Substantiating rumors that Sony is planning to deliver a new, relatively low-cost Playstation 3 designed specifically to tackle the price gap between the Blu-Ray console and Microsoft's $350 Xbox 360, a new FCC filing points to an upcoming Playstation 3 model that sports two USB ports instead of four, and other differences from the currently available 80GB, $599 model. While explicit details like photos and technical specifications were blocked from public view, the filing does discuss various technologies, including Bluetooth, 802.11b/g WiFi, that required FCC certification. We previously reported that, in addition to an expected price cut that would bring the new 80GB PS3 down from $600 to $500 once existing supplies of the 60GB are exhausted, Sony is expected to release a 40GB version for $400 -- the lowest price yet for the system and a $100 price difference versus the launch console of November 2006. Either the 80GB model or both would also come packed with a Blu-Ray copy of Spider-Man 3 as an incentive.
AOL has released its first public beta of the new AOL Desktop for Mac. The new release is Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)-ready, and represents the first major release of the software for the Mac in more than more than five years. Among the major enhancements, aside from Leopard support, is a faster load time -- the company claims the new release "launches within seconds and enables users to begin browsing immediately, without signing in." Also included is a tabbed browser for content as well as instant messaging windows. New email options allow users to send and receive messages using multiple email accounts, including Apple Mac addresses, Gmail, and others from within a single inbox. AOL instant messaging is also now built in to the software, and there is a customizable toolbar providing access to favorites and other functionality. I
Nova Media today released a maintenance update to its mobile phone suite of applications for Mac OS X with support for the Nokia 8600 Luna as well as the Sony Ericsson S700i and W830i mobile phones. Nova's FoneLink 1.1.4 is designed as mobile phone companion software for Mac OS X that provides a Finder-like view of all files stored on mobile phones. The software allows users to transfer data back and fourth from the Mac to the portable device, and can sync with iTunes playlists. FoneLink includes a ringtone creator, an organizer to manage contacts as well as dates and notes. The software supports more than 90 mobile phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola, according to Nova Media. FoneLink is priced at $36 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
Apple today released firmware updates for its iMac and MacBook consumer-oriented Macs. The company's iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.2 and MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.1 both "improve the performance and reliability of Intel Core 2 Duo processors and fix issues with Boot Camp" with regard to their respective systems. iMac owners who update their firmware should have one of three BootROM versions which include 'IM51.0090.B09', 'IM52.0090.B09', or 'IM61.0093.B07', while MacBook owners will see a BootROM version of MB21.00A5.B07. Owners of both Mac models looking to install the firmware update are encouraged to follow the instructions in the updater application, which launches automatically when the installer closes. The updates come as part of a flurry released by Apple today which revise the company's Keynote, Pages, and Numbers applications alongside its iPhone.
Apple today released a slew of updates, including new software for its iTunes jukebox and video management software and Pages, Keynote, and Numbers -- all part of recently released iWork '08 suite. Keynote 4.01, a 31.1MB update, primarily addresses issues with builds and performance and Pages 3.01 (27.8MB) also addresses issues with change tracking and performance; Numbers 1.0.1 (26.1MB) primarily addresses issues with tables and performance. Apple also released iTunes 7.4.3 for Windows, which it says addresses issues with the initial setup of the iPod touch on some international versions of Window. A corresponding Mac update is not (yet?) available.
Disney today announced that its cellphone service Disney Mobile will shut down this year, marking an end to the relatively short-lived virtual provider. Though the company updated its phones as recently as August with two Samsung models, it revealed that it would begin phasing service out effective today, cutting off the ability to download new content and software. Customers would receive refunds for their phones through a program beginning October 8th, while customers are expected to switch to another provider by November 30th to make sure their numbers are ported over without a service disruption.
Sling Media, the creator of the Slingbox media streamer, has confirmed that it is currently working on a new version of its client software for Research in Motion's BlackBerry cellphones. Slingboxes let owners stream video from their TVs, DVRs or DVD players to laptops or cellphones via the Internet; the number of compatible cellphones is still being updated however, only recently having gained beta support for Symbian phones such as the N95. No date has been suggested for the release of the BlackBerry client.
Panasonic today launched a sweeping change of its Toughbook line in its home country and set the groundwork for future American updates. Known as Let's Note, the series is generally built on Intel's faster Santa Rosa platform and now has 1GB of onboard memory in built-in models with a free slot for expansion; every model also has gigabit Ethernet and card readers with support for large-capacity SDHC cards. Most every system runs Windows Vista Business but can now downgrade to XP Professional for cautious users, Panasonic says.
Roomba maker iRobot has introduced two new machines, the Looj and the ConnectR. The Looj is actually a gutter-cleaning robot, and somewhat resembles a belt sander; its narrow dimensions lets it track through the likes of roof gutters, using an auger to sweep out leaves, dirt and other potential obstructions. The robot can only clean one stretch of gutter at a time, finishing 60 feet in about 10 minutes, but is controllable with a wireless remote that doubles as a handle. The Looj is being sold today for $100.
In brief: We have posted a review of Pages version 3, including with the iWork '08 suite, MacRadio is relaunching as a podcast resource, a new version of the iPhone unlock tool is out, MacSpeech certifies a new digital recorder, Apple plans to open a retail store in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, and Apple may be issuing refunds for users forced to repurchase games compatible with the new iPod models ... We've posted a review of Pages '08, part of the iWork '08 package from Apple. Version 3 of the application is not a comprehensive word processor, but the new features make Pages a more competent competitor to Microsoft Word. Enhancements include a dynamic formatting bar, proofreading, and new features in the inspector. One of the best new features is an enhanced format bar. A number of character and paragraph styles are available in the new format bar, as well as in the Styles drawer.
Three of Apple's latest publicly known patent applications surfaced today, detailing eCards from multiple users as well as a potential Mac OS X Leopard feature and data processing file systems. Apple's iCard patent relates the the company's iCard program by introducing a new group-signing capability to iCards, enabling multiple users to personalize and sign an eCard in the same fashion as is done with physical greeting cards. Another patent, titled "Methods of manipulating a screen space of a display device," may relate to the company's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Spaces technology as it describes managing multiple windows on a single screen. Another patent application titled "File systems for data processing systems" describes the file system of a computer operating system, which serve to ensure systems like Mac OS X properly handle tasks like linking all files and directories.
Marking a departure for the company, Dell has released the SP2008WFP, its first desktop LCD monitor with a built-in webcam. The camera also has an unusually high two-megapixel rating, allowing it to capture stills at 1600x1200, though video is likely to be much smaller. The display itself, measuring 20 inches, has a native 1680x1050 widescreen resolution. Its brightness is a relatively standard 300cd/m2, but it has a high contrast ratio of 2,000:1, and an extremely low response time of 2ms. The viewing angle is said to be 160 degrees.
Palm today used its presentation at the DigitalLife Expo to introduce the Centro, its first non-Treo smartphone. Targeted at users who may never have owned a smartphone before or are looking for something simple, the design is smaller than any of Palm's earlier phones. It also has a new, compact design similar to the Treo 500v that fits more easily into a pocket without sacrificing a full QWERTY keyboard. In spite of the size and its low-cost emphasis, however, it also shares many of the same features as premium models with a 1.3-megapixel camera, 3G-level EVDO Internet access, and a 320x240 touchscreen. The device runs on the PalmOS and ships with a dedicated media player that loads music either from the 64MB of onboard flash or microSD cards up to 4GB, even for protected Windows Media tracks from Yahoo Music and similar stores.
After warning users earlier this week about possible issues with unlocked iPhones, Apple on Thursday released iPhone 1.1.1 update. The update, which is 152.3MB in size and available via iTunes, adds new features, includes bug fixes, and supersedes all previous versions, according to Apple's release notes. Apple offers this warning in it's dialogue: "If you have modified your phone's software, applying this update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable. "Earlier this week, the company confirmed that it was not intentionally disabling unlocked phones, while readers provided methods for re-locking an iPhone to avoid rendering the iPhone inoperable. As expected the update does bring access to the iTunes WiFi Store as well as louder maximum speaker volumes, but breaks many of the third-party hacks. [updated]
High-profile companies like Apple and Sony may produce as much as a third of their notebooks with advanced LED-backlit displays by next year, according to reported insiders from the LCD panel industry. These companies in particular are expected to replace at least 20 to 30 percent of their notebook lineups with the new technology by 2008 or 2009 at the latest as they seek to improve the displays across more of their existing lines. This includes displays in common sizes such as 14 and 17 inches, the sources claim. The improvement would let both desktop replacement systems and thin-and-light notebooks produce more uniform colors, save power, and reduce their thickness compared to traditional displays with cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlights.
Toshiba's Japan headquarters has updated its line of Gigabeat media players, now complemented by the V41. The player has 4GB of internal memory, but can expand this with SD or SDHC cards for much greater amounts. SDHC cards may in fact be vital, because one of the player's key functions is streaming 1Seg TV, which can be recorded through a program guide for a total of 20 hours or 99 shows' worth, whichever comes first. Clips are viewed on a 3.5-inch LCD with 260,000 colors.
Apple's deal with France Telecom to distribute the iPhone in that region in time for Christmas could be in jeopardy, according to one report from Reuters. France Telecom, which commonly trades under the name "Orange," is disputing the proposed percentage of service revenues due to Apple as part of the deal between the two companies. The French carrier announced on September 20th that it holds exclusive rights to distribute Apple's iPhone in France, and promised to bring iPhones to French consumers before Christmas and as early as November. Conflict between the two firms could mean delays on iPhone distribution, cutting into profits during the busy holiday shopping season for both parties and denying French consumers from acquiring the cellular handset within the promised timeframe.
Verizon Wireless has adopted the USB727, a wireless modem built by Novatel. The device plugs into the USB ports of both Macs and PCs, and provides EVDO Rev. A broadband, allowing download speeds up to 1.4Mbps, with an average of 600Kbps. Uploads are said to average between 500 and 800Kbps. The modem's other main feature is a microSD slot, which allows it to behave as a conventional flash drive, holding up to 4GB depending on the size of the inserted card.
Ahead of the announcement of the One, Gateway product manager Glenn Jystad answered questions from Electronista about the company's new all-in-one PC. The company gave us new insights into the design philosophy behind the One and whether it will stay tied to the US. It also answered one of the most pressing questions in the wake of the One's launch: how the Vista PC would fare against its most obvious competitor, Apple's new aluminum iMac. Read on for a transcript of the interview.
Corel today unveiled Corel Painter Essentials 4, a new digital art application based on Corel Painter that includes tools for new users to set up home art studios. The software features a broad array of paint brushes, pencils, paper textures, and built-in tutorials to help users get started with digital art. Corel Painter Essentials 4 features a new redesigned workspace, brush drawer to ease brush identification as well as selection, color and mixer palettes to choose colors with one click, and a new photo painting system that makes it easier for users to turn photos into paintings. The update also includes a new smart stroke technology with brush strokes that follow the forms of the original photo by dynamically changing brush size, stroke length, and pressure based on the detail and focus areas of the photo.
PDO is taking pre-orders for its newest iPhone case, the TopSkin. Unlike most cases, the TopSkin does in fact cover several controls while remaining functional, including the Home button and the power and volume switches. The headphone jack and dock connector are similarly covered, but must have flaps opened for use. Normal openings are present for the camera, speakers, microphone and vibrate switch. A film covers the touchscreen. Another feature of the case is its belt clip, which can be adjusted to any preferred angle. The TopSkin should ship in mid-October, and will cost $20.
JVC this morning released what it says is the first HD Radio receiver that can be added to any in-car system without swapping out the existing head unit. The KT-HDP1 can graft on to many existing systems and allows owners themselves to setup the radio; a do-it-yourself kit is available as one option along with a kit for listening in the home and a pro kit that ensures a clean installation for most any car layout. When ready, the HDP1 adds both the enhanced digital sound of HD Radio as well as text data from supporting stations, including song data as well as news or weather.
Mio Technology on Thursday contributed its share to the DigitalLife show by releasing two of its GPS mapping units within the US. The 4.3-inch C720t enhances one of the company's most advanced units. Like the original C720, the C720t includes a 2-megapixel camera and not only snaps photos but marks their position to remind users of where a photo was taken or for geotagging expeditions. The new variant adds Traffic Message Channel support that overlays road congestion info and optionally reroutes the trip to avoid significant traffic jams. A three-month subscription comes in the box, according to Mio.
Surround specialist SRS Labs has released the second edition of its iWOW plug-in for iTunes. The software is meant to provide 3D sound to listeners, regardless of whether they are using built-in speakers or external ones. The emphasis in iWOW 2 though is on presets, allowing users to create and save settings for individual songs, videos and podcasts, instead of constantly tweaking iTunes' general options. Included presets address podcasts, techno and acoustic music, as well as three settings for video. Finally, an "auto-preset" mode attempts to pick an appropriate preset based on data in a file.
Sony today introduced a third model in its video-capable Walkman line. The A910 series is one of the few media players anywhere that can not only receive TV but play it as well: courtesy of a built-in 1Seg tuner and an electronic programming guide, the A910 can play digital over-the-air broadcasts on its 2.4-inch LCD and encode the shows on the fly as permanent copies. Up to 100 hours of footage can be saved on a 16GB player, Sony says. Direct line-in automatically creates individual audio tracks from a CD player or a similar device. Playback is also special in the A910, Sony adds. For the first time, noise canceling is built into the player itself and will eliminate most background sounds whether watching TV or listening to music.
Accessory maker Tunewear has announced a new case, the ICEWEAR iPhone. The case is made of translucent silicone, but features "ribs" to provide a better grip, and a high enough density to protect against minor bumps and drops. All the important areas on an iPhone are exposed, including the the touchscreen, camera, headphone jack, dock connector and physical buttons. The ICEWEAR can also be washed with soapy water, and comes with "TUNEFILM," a protective layer for the touchscreen. The case is expected to ship in October, and should cost $30.
M-Audio has begun shipping two new USB keyboard/software packages, the most basic of these being the KeyRig 25. The 25 is a 25-note keyboard, designed in part to be compact so it can be easily transported. Aside from the notes, there are eight MIDI-assigned knobs and buttons, which can be used to trigger tracks, loops and instruments. The KeyRig 49 meanwhile is a more conventional keyboard, expanding the notes to a full 49 for flexibility.
(Updated with larger photo) Dell today finally took the wraps from the XPS M1730, the replacement for its veteran M1710 gaming notebook. The new 17-inch system confirms many earlier leaks and is the only notebook to include a physics card in the form of AGEIA's mobile PhysX chip. In supporting games, the hardware allows for far more complex physics without a severe performance hit, AGEIA claims. The new XPS is also one of the first to offer NVIDIA's fastest mobile graphics in SLI mode: two 512MB GeForce 8700M GT chipsets are standard on every system and nearly double performance for games in the right conditions. Unlike some notebooks, the 1920x1200 display of the M1730 is also fast and refreshes at 7ms to keep up with action titles.
Sling Media kicked off the DigitalLife Expo in New York with the Slingbox SOLO, a new take on the company's TV streaming hub that drops the price for users who only have a handful of devices but still want features similar to the high-end PRO. The SOLO is one of the first mainstream Slingbox models to offer HD video input, replacing the HDMI of the PRO with component video: the feature lets users stream and control unprotected HD content online, including the Apple TV media hub and upscaling DVD players. Video is broadcast uncompressed at up to VGA (640x480) resolution on the local network and in compressed form across the Internet to computers or cellphones through Sling's longstanding SlingPlayer software.
Complimenting its Media Center Extender announcements, Microsoft on Thursday announced a beta release of Internet TV for its Windows Media Center customers, featuring news from MSNBC, Fox Sport clips, and a variety of other ad-supported content. Expected to go live on on the morning of Sept. 28, 2007, the Redmond-based company said that U.S. users of Windows Vista Home Premium edition and Windows Vista Ultimate edition will find the new beta release of Internet TV with over 100 hours of programming. The service will allow users to enjoy a range of television and video content on their PCs and TV sets without a TV tuner in their PC. The streaming video content will be supported by an advertising platform provided by YuMe and will be available to viewers for free.
In conjunction with Microsoft, Linksys (Cisco) and D-Link on Thursday debuted new Media Center Extender devices to help users access content from their PCs and internet. Designed to compete with Apple's own living room device, Apple TV, the companies partnered with Microsoft to allows users to stream and access content from the internet as well as other video content from the desktop. Linksys unveiled two new digital devices: its Media Center Extender with DVD Player (DMA2200) combines an upscaling DVD player with a dual-band Wireless-N Extender for Windows Media Center, combining Extender for Media Center functionality with DVD playback capabilities in a single device. A smaller form factor Linksys Media Center Extender (DMA2100) offers features of Extender for Windows Media Center in a compact dual-band Wireless-N solution that is ideal for spaces.
Microsoft, Linksys, D-Link, and HP on Thursday offered details about new Extenders for Microsoft Windows Media Center. The Apple TV-like devices, which are expected to be available for purchase this holiday season, will allow easy access to premium cable, high-definition TV, popular video formats including DivX, music, paid movies, photos and more from any TV in the house, with a wired or wireless network connection. In addition, users will be able to pause a recorded show in one room, and then resume it from the same moment in another room. Microsoft also announced that the Extender technology will be incorporated in HP's current line of MediaSmart high-definition televisions and launched a beta test of Windows Media Center Internet TV, which will offer more than 100 hours of ad-supported entertainment from MS Video, including full-length shows, music concerts and movie trailers.