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iPod halo is "nonsense"
Calling the "halo effect" -- a term applied to the peripheral effects of the success of the iPod, iPhone, etc. -- hyperbole, ZDNet says there are a number of other reasons for Apple's rapidly growing Mac market share. These include Intel Macs, which make virtualization software for running Windows a possibility -- a strong draw for switchers; Support, for which Apple has been ranked far ahead of other PC manufacturers in various surveys; Microsoft's mistakes with Vista (underestimating the pull of the installed base of Windows XP); the fact that Mac users support the platform and evangelize it to others, and more. "The turnaround in consumer attitudes towards the Mac didn’t happen with the release of the iPod. Rather, it is the culmination of a brand rebuilding strategy that began 10 years ago."
Leopard arriving in stores
Although it won't be on sale until Friday, October 26th, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) boxes are already arriving at Apple stores and possibly other outlets. In fact, it appears that some stores are already selling Leopard. HardMac reports "It is clear that some shops will start selling Leopard prior the deadline. Many readers who have purchased Leopard from the Apple Store confirmed that for most of them it is announced as 'shipping.' So it might be in the mail boxes tomorrow." VARs are reporting that pre-orders for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard -- available from the Apple Store, Amazon (with Parallels Bundle), and MacMall (for delivery on Oct 26th) -- are double what they were for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
Apple's no-show at MacLive
Apple will be absent from this week's MacLive Expo in London, which could be bad news for the long term life-span of the exhibition. London and Paris are two of the biggest locations for Apple to showcase its products in Europe, so this is a large blow to the credibility of MacLive Expo. Dozens of third party companies -- such as Nikon, Parallels, Microsoft, and Wacom -- will still be on hand at the Expo to demonstrate their products and services, according to a report by setteB.IT.
Sequencher 4.8 released
Gene Codes today released the latest revision of Sequencher, its Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence assembly and analysis software. The update is designed to be easy to use, fast, and powerful enough to handle virtually any DNA sequencing need, according to the company. "Researchers in academic labs and pharmaceutical companies around the world study DNA, which contains the essential genetic instructions key to an organism's growth and development, in hopes of discovering the causes of disease, and the development of novel treatments or diagnostics, and Sequencher is a key tool in their research," Gene Codes stated. Upgrades to Sequencher 4.8 are available for free or at reduced cost to current users, according to Gene Code, and the latest release requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (pricing was unavailable).
MS invests in Facebook
Microsoft has purchased a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook for $240, pegging the four-year-old social networking site's value at $15 billion. As part of the deal, Microsoft will sell online ads for Facebook. The funding will help fuel Facebook's expansion plans prior to an expected initial public offering, which founder Mark Zuckerberg, 23, says he would like to put off for at least two more years. Facebook claims nearly 50 million active users, attracting 30.6 million U.S. visitors during September compared with 68.4 million for the other social networking giant, MySpace. The investment is the culmination of a feud between Google and Microsoft, who were both actively seeking to push capital into the young Internet firm.
Google Desktop for 10.5
Google Desktop has been updated for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and the company is saying that users should apply the update before installing the new version of Mac OS X. A post to the Google Mac blog from Mark Sabec, Associate Product Marketing Manager, and Mike Pinkerton, Software Engineer, reads "we've been working hard to ensure that all Google products for the Mac work seamlessly with Leopard as well as Tiger. So we want to let you know about an update for Google Desktop for the Mac that adds Leopard compatibility. You should install this Desktop update before upgrading from Tiger to Leopard to ensure that Desktop works properly on Leopard. If after you upgrade to Leopard, your Google Desktop appears to be functioning incorrectly, please look at the release notes for troubleshooting information." The new release is available as a free download.
Three new Apple stores
Apple is already making good on its promise to open 40 new retail stores during fiscal 2008, with plans for three new stores surfacing today. A new store is planned for University Town at the Grand Arcade in Cambridge, and the company aims to erect a new retail outlet in Louisiana to mark the first ever Apple store along the Gulf Coast. Yet another store is planned inside the Pacific Centre Mall in downtown Vancouver, and the company is taking steps to conceal construction efforts on its third New York City store by wrapping the exterior in fabric. Apple detailed the success of its retail efforts on Monday when it discussed its September quarterly earnings during a conference call, announcing that the company experienced record quarterly revenue and traffic in an average of 190 stores globally.
New GizMac server racks
GizMac Accessories today introduced the second generation of its XRackPro2 noise reducing server racks. The device reduces noise by up to 80 percent, according to the company, and features an air filtration system to guard the enclosure's contents from harmful dust. GizMac says its rack's controlled airflow aids cooling, improves noise reduction, and allows for the air filtration system to function. GizMac's second generation XRackPro2 server racks are priced at $1,900 and $2,350 for 12U and 25U versions, respectively.
Qualcomm dual-3G chip
Dominant chip supplier Qualcomm has released a chip which may bridge a split in notebook modem technology, writes the Associated Press. While internal cellular modems are still relatively rare in notebooks, these have so far had to connect either to HSPA networks such as AT&T's, or EVDO networks belonging to the likes of Sprint and Verizon. The new Qualcomm Gobi chip is able to connect to both network formats, a fact which may make cellular modems more appealing to computer builders, since they do not have to risk obsolescence or installing two different chips. Similarly, notebook owners should be able to avoid picking a carrier they hate simply because their notebook supports them. Gobi chips should be available in computers as of Q2 2008.
Halo or not?
Apple posted record quarterly earnings and machine sales early this week, moving over two million Macs, and over $900 million in profits, and showing a growth rate of more than eight times the industry. According to eWeek, analysts and insiders at Apple are both predicting the sharp increase in Mac sales is due to the much-talked-about "halo effect" -- a term that is applied to the peripheral effects of the success of the iPod, iPhone, and the accompanying infrastructure, the iTunes Music Store.
HTC Touch Hands-On
Americans are often the first to receive import phones, but with the recent release of the HTC Touch on Telus, that changes: the Canadian cell provider has a weeks-long advantage over Sprint, and we at Electronista have managed to obtain a unit ahead of our US counterparts. Read on for our first take on the controversial but successful smartphone as well as an early photo gallery.
Samsung U600 at Helio
The Helio Mysto, once rumored to be the Samsung C220, may in fact be the Ultra Edition II U600, one source claims. The Helio version makes a swtich to a CDMA receiver, and is also forced to abandon HSDPA broadband, turning instead to EVDO. The phone otherwise retains its most critical features, such as a 3.2-megapixel camera, QVGA screen, and touch-sensitive controls. It is also extremely thin, measuring no more than 0.42 inches deep. Release is said only be expected in the near future. [via phone Arena]
Verizon drops FCC appeal
Verizon Wireless has decided to withdraw from a challenge to January's FCC wireless auction, filings reveal. The company has told the DC Court of Appeals that it is ceasing its legal efforts, which were concentrated around the auction's open-access provisions. Under planned FCC rules, 22MHz of the 700MHz spectrum will have to be made accessible to any device or software application, regardless of what carrier or broadcaster it might be associated with. For the federal government this represents an attempt to diversify the wireless broadband industry, which is currently dominated by a handful of companies including Verizon.
LG KU990 Ships
LG today sent word that the KU990 had begun shipping to Europe, giving subscribers on the continent access to the touchscreen phone for the first time. The handset emphasizes both the Flash-based interface that shares roots with the Prada phone as well as its advanced 5-megapixel camera. As promised, the camera is the only one of its kind on a phone to allow manual focus for precise shots, and records video at up to 120 frames per second for slow motion sequences. Users can even make basic edits and upload to YouTube from the phone's 3G Internet link, LG says.
XtremeMac has introduced MicroShield Plus cases for Apple's new iPod models. The cases are made of crystal clear impact-resistant plastic. Each case offers protection for the screen and click wheel, and includes a removable belt clip. The belt clip doubles as a kickstand for movie viewing, allowing the iPod classic to stand vertically, and the iPod touch to stand vertically or horizontally. The iPod nano version comes with two backs—one with a belt clip and one without—and a carabiner that can be attached to a belt, purse or backpack. The MicroShield cases are available in a variety of configurations priced between $20 and $30.
Facebook for BlackBerry
Research in Motion at the CTIA mobile expo today introduced Facebook for BlackBerry (registration required), a new app that gives users of most any recent version of the smartphone faster access to the social networking tools without using a browser. The platform takes advantage of the BlackBerry's network to "push" updates to and from the phone in real time: Facebook members will receive messages and updates almost immediately, RIM says. The software also takes advantage of camera-equipped BlackBerries and lets users both upload and tag photos without having to first sync with a computer.
In brief: Free Leopard t-shirts at select Apple stores, Sudoku for the iPhone/iPod touch, WonderWorks offers pre-formatted iPod/iPhone DVD content, Chronos releases a Yojimbo-SOHO Notes converter, and ITN News' content will be available free through iTunes ... Fastmac has announced that it will be holding a free T-Shirt give away outside select Apple stores on October 26th, 2007 to commemorate Apple's Mac OS X Leopard Launch Event. The T-shirts will be given away for free outside select stores nationwide between 4 PM and 6 PM on the day of the launch. While supplies last, the T-shirts will also be available for free with any purchase from Fastmac's website. The shirts are available in 4 limited edition designs: "Hasta La Vista"; "Mac to the Future"; "A Whole New Xperience"; and "300."
Samsung F700 Verizon Rumor
Verizon's primary competitor against the iPhone may be Samsung's Ultra Smart F700, according to a purported leak by CrunchGear lead editor John Biggs. The author claims that a version of the F700 adapted to the American carrier's CDMA network would be available as soon as the end of the year; no other details are available, though the change would require a switch to EVDO mobile broadband in place of the HSPA offered in the GSM version. The 5-megapixel camera, touch interface, and slide-out keyboard would likely remain unchanged.
Blu-Ray beating HD DVD
Sales of Blu-Ray movies in 2007 have nearly crushed those of HD DVD so far, Reuters reports. According to data from Home Media Research, 2.6 million Blu-Ray titles were sold between January 1st and September 30th, while only 1.4 million HD DVD titles were bought in the same timeframe. This figure reinforces previous sales figures, which have almost continually pointed to the dominance of Blu-Ray. Recent trends may signal a reversal however, such as Paramount's paid decision in August to release solely on HD DVD.
Envision G2016wa LCD
Envision on Wednesday upgraded the visual quality of its LCDs with one of its first dynamic contrast screens: the G2016wa selectively adjusts lighting to increase the contrast ratio as high as 3,000:1, greatly improving the 20-inch display's usefulness for image editing or watching videos. Several built-in presets also change color values to bring out details in games or when reading text, the company says. A 5ms pixel response time matches the performance of other displays and eliminates much of the ghosting effect from fast movement.
Treo 800w in development?
Palm has already begun production on the "true" Treo 800w, according to sources. Though one recent rumor misidentified the low-cost Centro as the 800, a new image (right) submitted by "jrinehart" appears to depict a phone more in keeping with typical Treo stylings, while implementing Centro cues such as rounder edges and a less cluttered control pad. Another source, "howiecam," claims to have had hands-on experience with the 800w, which he says has features such as Wi-Fi and a standby clock, but which relies on a proprietary data connector and a keyboard smaller than that of the Treo 750.
Apple Remote Desktop woes
The latest update to Apple Remote Desktop 3.2 appears to have disabled vital functionality in the administration software. Many users on Apple's own support forums are reporting failed connection attempts when trying to administer remote Macs after updating to the latest Apple Remote Desktop version, and are expressing frustration with the Cupertino-based company as they struggle to find any potential workaround. Some users say they have discovered a temporary solution, but that same technique isn't working for various other users hoping to regain control of remote systems they are responsible for. Apple issued its Apple Remote Desktop 3.2 update on October 17th alongside an Xsan update.
Sybase iPhone support
Sybase has announced that its Information Anywhere suite - which manages e-mail, messaging and mobile phone access for enterprises - will add iPhone support within the first half of 2008. The "iAnywhere" package should address the technical hurdles of the device, while still providing security. This translates into support for the iPhone's native e-mail client, without having to enable IMAP in Lotus Domino or Microsoft Exchange.
LG 30,000:1 Plasma TV
LG today said it was using the FPD International expo in Japan to demonstrate a plasma TV panel with a 30,000:1 contrast ratio, setting a new record for the visual quality of flat-panel sets. Called the G Platform, the new display would double the 15,000:1 ratio of today's better plasmas by actively creating blacks in an image. Most manufacturers today rely on black-tinted, clear panels that only generate black passively; the G Platform uses better plasma phosphors and dielectrics to actively remove color from the scene, LG says. The change still allows for other advanced display technologies, such as doubling the refresh rate to 100Hz (on PAL screens) or 120Hz (for ATSC in Japan and North America) to cut back on motion artifacts.
Shades Classic, Nano cases
ShadesCases has begun selling two new case lines to complement Apple's latest iPods. The company's new Classic case is made of soft polyurethane, and is less than 0.02 inches thick, reducing bulkiness. The case is also notable for having a clear screen cover, and embossed clickwheel protection, ensuring that users still know where controls are located without looking. Openings are present for the Hold switch, headphone jack and dock port; Shades notes that because the case is so thin, a Classic can be attached to Apple's universal dock without trouble, or combined with accessories like the Griffin iTrip. Other docks may require pulling up the case slightly.
MSI GX600 in US
MSI today officially brought out the GX600, its mid-size gaming portable. The system is the only 15.4-inch notebook of its kind to include a one-button hardware overclock option, according to the company. Pressing the conspicuous Turbo button increases the clock speed of the Core 2 Duo inside from 2.0GHz to 2.4GHz when the system is on AC power, providing a free short term boost to performance for gaming. It also cuts boot times for Windows Vista Home Premium from a full minute to 40 seconds, MSI claims. The design highlights the WASD key layout used for many first-person shooters and comes with metal and optional flame accents to reflect its gaming focus at a network gaming session.
Apple skipping studios
Facing stiff resistance from film studios, Apple has turned to other parties to get content on the iTunes Store, reports say. Presently, the major studios on the Store are limited to Disney, MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount, supplying just under 1,000 movies; this leaves out some of the most important studios, such as Fox and Universal. To help fill the gap, Apple has been selling last year's Academy Award-nominated shorts, at a cost of $1.99. Crucially, however, Apple has negotiated for these movies directly, rather than working through a distributor. Each production outfit is thus receiving approximately 55 percent of iTunes revenue, enough to defray costs, though not turn a profit.
Facebook Deal Imminent
Social networking site Facebook is about to receive its first major investment within the next one to two days, according to a purported source speaking with the New York Post. The paper claims that either Google or Microsoft is prepared to make an investment "between 5 percent and 10 percent" in the startup, which has so far relied primarily on venture capital and similar funding for outside help. As Facebook is widely known to be valuing itself between $10 billion and $15 billion dollars, such an investment would be rated anywhere between $750 million and $1.5 billion.
CandyBar 3 due in November
Panic has announced that CandyBar 3, the forthcoming update to its system icon customization software for Mac OS X. CandyBar 3 brings users the ability to customize some of the look of Mac OS X Leopard's new Dock, according to Panic, and as always features CandyBar's easy system icon customization engine. Users can change the trash can icon or replace the new Leopard default folder with drag-and-drop simplicity, and no hacking or memory patches are involved. The update fully supports Apple's new larger Leopard icons at 512 pixels wide/high. CandyBar 3 pricing is not yet determined, but is scheduled to ship before the end of November. CandyBar 3 will only run on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, according to Panic.
Cashcow 1.0 released
Ratface Studios today released Cashcow 1.0, a personal finance application designed specifically for users looking to create budgets and track expenses. "There are plenty of software packages on the market today but they try to manage every aspect of your finances," Ratface Studios said. "Cashcow focuses on managing a budget and tracking your spending and as a result it's much simpler and useful for those who just want to manage their spending." Cashcow avoids accounting concepts and tedious tasks like reconciling transactions, simplifying the process of keeping records up to date. The software is priced at $50, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
High Leopard forecasts
Apple has seriously underestimated the earnings potential of Leopard, say several analysts. Discussing the results of the latest financial quarter, Apple COO Tim Cook has predicted $140 million in OS sales between Friday's Leopard launch and the end of the year; Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research, however, proposes an estimate of $157 million, with another $50 million in the two following quarters. This is based purely on a consideration of the expanded Mac OS installed base compared to that for Mac OS Tiger, which launched in April 2005.
Canadian iPhone Contest
A giveaway from Canadian brewer Molson may provide a hint as to when the iPhone will be available in the country. The Devisse et Compte (translating to "Twist and Score") contest for French-speaking Canadians lists the iPhone as one of the available prizes and claims the device will be available exclusively from Rogers Wireless in January of next year. The price of the phone is listed as $800 Canadian ($828 US) but is known to be an arbitrary value relating to the nature of the contest, which asks entrants to pick one or more potential prizes that reach a set spending limit. No subscription fees are included with the device, however.
Sony DSC-T2 debuts
Carrying 4GB of internal memory, the new Cyber-shot DSC-T2 from Sony can store more than 40,000 VGA-quality photos or 1,000 8-megapixel pictures without the use of a memory card. The device's filesystem includes an album folder in which photos can be viewed in chronological order and displayed in a calendar view. Users can also view images categorized by events. Aesthetically, the camera features a black LCD frame and a sliding lens cover available in blue, green, pink, white or black. It uses a touch-panel LCD screen and standard Sony features like face detection, optical image stabilization and high sensitivity (ISO 3200), The T2 camera can be connected to a TV set via an HD component cable or an HD cradle (both sold separately), and will ship in December for about $350.
All-in-one XPS One
Images of Dell's newest upcoming all-in-one XPS One have surfaced. The new machine looks to go head-to-head with Apple's iMac and the Gateway One, sporting a 22-inch WSXGA (1,680 x 1,050) display with two built-in speakers and media buttons on the side. Also included is an integrated webcam and a slot-loading Blu-ray disc burner. Specs list a 2.66GHz E6750 Core 2 Duo and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 graphics along with 4GB of RAM. Also included are a wireless mouse and keyboard and a memory card reader. Yesterday Dell took the wraps off a new desktop XPS model, the XPS 420, which includes a Windows Vista Sideshow LCD: a top-mounted screen that lets users play music, view photos, and track basic information through gadgets without having to turn on the full system. That system is priced starting at $1500, and the new XPS One could fetch upwards of $2000. [Via Engadget]
Gmail offers IMAP access
While not yet formally announced, Google has finally begun offering IMAP access for users of its free email service. The company on Tuesday offered instructions on how users can enable IMAP access on their accounts, allowing users to organize email into folders, save drafts, and access sent mail from multiple clients. While the default Gmail setting does not yet work on the iPhone, the Mountain View-based company has posted instructions on using the new IMAP features on Apple's popular device. (Note the service does not appear to be enabled for all accounts yet.)
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