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AT&T drops iPhone data
iPhone users will no longer require a data connection from AT&T, while Sonnet has updated many of its products to work with Leopard, and Yorktown University is releasing over thirty courses and seminars through iTunes U. AT&T recently dropped the EDGE network requirement for iPhone users, allowing users to save $20 per month. TUAW reports that AT&T customers can call AT&T and have the data portion of their account rendered inactive. While this will save money per month, customers will lose access to their visual voice mail and will not be able to access the internet if they are not bound to a wireless router.
Refurb aluminum iMac
Apple is offering its newest black glass and aluminum iMac as a refurbished item at a discounted price. The company's reconditioned iMac 20-inch 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo includes 1GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, an 8x DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics card with 256MB of video memory, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,299 -- a 14 percent savings off the original price. All of Apple's refurbished offerings are guaranteed good-as-new and come with the same standard one-year warranty as any brand new product. Apple is also offering a refurbished previous-generation iMac 24-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, an 8x DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive, an NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT graphics card with 128MB of video memory, and a built-in iSight camera for $1,449.
IT turning to Macs, Linux
Many IT professionals are turning to Mac and Linux systems to avoid installing Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system as an upgrade, according to a survey conducted by King Research. Of 961 IT professionals polled, a whopping 90 percent expressed concerns about migrating to Vista. What's more, over half of those surveyed said they had no plans to use Microsoft's latest operating system at this time. Macs are currently the most favored alternative to Windows with 28 percent of respondents saying they would most likely to turn to Macs, rather than upgrade to Vista.
Toast 8.0.3 for Leopard
Following last week's update for Popcorn, Roxio has issued Toast 8.0.3, bringing a number of Leopard-specific fixes, and some other bug fixes as well. The update resolves a few cosmetic issues that resulted from using Toast under Leopard, and a problem where the OS would produce poor quality music DVDs. A few errors have been fixed: Error 9011 will no longer occur when burning a DVD with MPEG-2 video and PCM audio, and -2009 will cease to happen when using PCM pass-through audio, while the "Optimize on-the-fly" setting will no longer result in error -35 in Custom Hybrid and Mac Volume projects. Toast will now use the correct video quality settings when they are selected, and a hanging issue has been fixed from when the app was trying to process video footage from TiVo after it had been updated with the Fall 2007 patch.
Zune trumps iPod on Amazon
Microsoft's Zune portable media player is currently Amazon.com's top-selling digital music device, usurping Apple's iPod for the highest rank in the "Electronics" category. The 30GB Zune -- which Microsoft has heavily discounted to a purchase price of $134 -- dethroned Apple's 4GB iPod nano this morning in Amazon.com's list of top-selling MP3 players. Apple's 4GB iPod nano took second place, while the Cupertino-based company's 80GB iPod classic holds the no. 3 spot.
Waterproof 1Seg TV player
The home division of Sanyo is nearing the release of a unique portable TV, the LVT-WD40. While it joins the increasing number of TVs that use the digital, Japanese-only 1Seg format, it is one of the few if only sets that is waterproof, although this is meant to guard against splashing in kitchens and bathrooms rather than allow submersion. Part of this is attributable to the external antenna, which does not conform to water-resistant standards.
The player is otherwise fairly conventional: it has a lithium-ion battery, an electronic program guide, and a four-inch screen capable of resolutions up to 480x272. It should be out on November 21st for 50,000 yen ($450). [via Impress Watch]
Chinese iPod nano clone
Taking advantage of China's loose intellectual property restrictions, a company called ECNokia is marketing a generic MP4 player which directly imitates the clickwheel, rounded edges and menu design of the third-generation iPod nano. Like many copies however, it does not have the exact same functionality; it plays MP3, WAV, WMA and MIDI audio, while video must be in the ASF format. Storage meanwhile comes in the form of an SD slot, which supports cards up to 2GB in size.
Vancouver store underway
Apple has begun construction on a new retail store on the west coast of Canada, and has already painted covers over the job site to mask the workers' progress. The Cupertino-based company has listed job openings for the future store, which will reside in the Pacific Center Mall in the old Holt Renfrew location. The retail space rests in one of the busiest spots in the city, according to one MacNN reader, and may open in time for the forthcoming iPhone launch in Canada.
FCC warns Sprint Nextel
The FCC is warning Sprint Nextel that parts of its network may be shut down if it does not address important safety concerns. According to reports, as many as 2,200 public safety organizations have long encountered problems with the carrier's network, which in some cases uses the exact same bands as safety radio systems. Prior to being absorbed in 2005, Nextel had agreed to fix the problem by giving up frequency bands or helping to modify radio systems; Sprint inherited this problem, but it is unlikely to meet an impending deadline, despite having spent over $1 billion on the project. The issue "has proved more difficult" than anticipated, the company claims.
Samsung S204S burner
The American division of Samsung has introduced a new DVD burner, the TruDirect SE-S204S (not pictured). While it plugs into desktop or notebook PCs, the S204S is unusual in that it does not require hard drive access; it can burn videos and photos directly from devices attached to a computer, without first demanding any pre-mastering, multiplexing or buffering. The on-board technology is also said to improve copying speeds in general, since a one-hour video stream can be burned directly in an hour and five minutes, or 30 minutes if copied to a hard drive first.
FuzzMeasure Pro 3 ships
SuperMega-UltraGroovy today released FuzzMeasure Pro 3, an update to the audio and acoustical signal-analysis software package for Mac OS X Leopard. The latest release adds an array of frequently requested professional tools -- like a live Sound Pressure Level meter that users can calibrate in the field. The calibration is usable to produce accurate SPL vs. frequency graphs, while the SPL meter aims to help live sound engineers in monitoring sound levels at multiple positions in a large venue. The software is re-engineered to take full advantage of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, is priced at $150, and requires Leopard to run.
Gefen 1000' VGA extension
Gefen today debuted a new extension system that splits one VGA video, distributing it up to 1,000 feet over CAT-5 cabling. The sender/receiver system provides a clean split, according to the company, and allows users to extend two displays up to 1,000 feet. The extension is designed to consolidate the delivery of VGA video signals, and offers resolutions up to 1080p or 1920x1200 for computer displays. Gefen's 2X VGA Extender ($400) is available for pre-order via the company's website as well as resellers.
BenQ Joybook R43
BenQ drew attention to its notebooks on Monday with the Joybook R43. The company's 14-inch portable is tailored to get attention with a unique, laminar film band on the lid of the all-black system that includes a pattern meant to recall a city skyline at night. In the dark, points of light on the back and blue status lights reinforce the effect, BenQ says. Travelers conscious about their data also have access to a unique QData Trove feature that automatically creates a disk image of the system through a keyboard shorcut, allowing them to copy a single file to an external drive to keep it safe.
Sony Cuts PS3 Devkit Price
Sony today said it would cut the price in half for its PlayStation 3 Reference Tool for developers, bringing the device to $10,250 US. The special, computer-like version of the console is receiving the price cut to encourage development for the game system by smaller development houses where the initial price of the kit might be too high, according to Sony. In tandem with the drop, the PS3 maker has also introduced an improved set of tools to help build code more quickly than in the past. The price cut takes effect immediately across North America as well as Europe and Japan.
3G iPhones for Spain?
Apple could ship a faster 3G-enabled iPhone in Spain as soon as May of next year, greatly increasing internet speeds for users who are not within range of an open or trusted Wi-Fi network. A mobile technology blog called SevenClick says that Telefonica, Spain's wireless carrier, is expecting a 3G-capable iPhone in May.
Wolf King Warrior Xxtreme
Appealing to its dedicated gamer user base, Wolf King today shipped out the Warrior Xxtreme keyboard. First spotted in an FCC leak, the controller includes both a specialized circular keyboard designed for first-person shooters and other action games and a second, similar pad with a QWERTY layout for typing out chat messages or other commands that are missing in the game portion. This makes the Xxtreme useful as the only keyboard for a game session without having to swap keyboards or else include a bulky, full-size traditional keyboard. A blue backlight for late-night sessions is also new, Wolf King says.
Axiom Audiobyte speakers
Home theater company Axiom has announced that it is shipping the Audiobyte, what the company describes as the "first" luxury speaker system designed for computers. At the core of the setup are two satellites, encased either in synthetic materials or real wood; each is capable of producing a massive 55W of power, and can handle frequencies between 100Hz and 20kHz. Unlike most computer setups, the Audiobyte's amplifier is kept separate, and includes a USB port for playing and charging iPods.
Google to buy Skype?
Google may be looking into acquiring Skype, creators of the famous VoIP network and software, rumors suggest. Anonymous individuals within the London web industry hint that Google is already in negotiations for Skype, which Google would have to buy from the current owner, auction site company eBay. The latter is said to be unhappy with how much it paid, which amounted to $1.3 billion plus 32.8 million shares; in the third quarter of 2007, Skype produced only $98 million in net revenue. Aiding the rumor is the fact that Google's mobile projects are based in London, which may mean that it plans to incorporate Skype technology into Android.
FxFactory 2.0 released
Noise Industries has released the second edition of FxFactory, its supplement for Final Cut Studio and Express. The program manages plug-ins in Apple's FxPlug format, and in its latest incarnation, supports Mac OS X Leopard as well as the recently-released Final Cut Express 4. A new interface improves the browser, displaying relevant plug-in status information; also provided is an option to search for all transitions within a plug-in's package.
Alienware m15x and m17x
Hoping to set a new ceiling for gaming notebooks, Alienware today provided an early look at the m15x and m17x. The 15.4-inch and 17-inch systems represent both a major change in design for the company and a new performance threshold: both use NVIDIA's just-introduced 512MB GeForce 8800M GTX and provide 3D performance closer to desktops, matching the desktop GeForce 8800 GT's 96 shader processors while using a 500MHz clock speed and power savings to run coolly inside the confines of a portable. The m17x uses two of them in SLI mode for even faster performance, according to Alienware.
Electronics maker Pioneer today took the wraps from SyncTV, a new video service it hopes will offer the best of both downloads and subscriptions without limiting users to a particular platform. Rather than charge per episode or for a flat universal subscription, SyncTV charges between $2 and $4 per month for channels such as an anime-themed station or individual TV shows like Dexter; users can then download as many episodes or titles as they like from that channel, Pioneer notes. Content will also be available in HD when possible and even includes Dolby 5.1 surround support for home theaters.
iPhone mags; SpaceNav
In brief: iPhone versions of popular magazines appear online, the SpaceNavigator controller gains Leopard support, and Fastmac iPod repairs extend to cover Classics and 3G Nanos. Zinio, a company specializing in online publishing, is now offering free online editions of popular magazines for users of the iPhone or the iPod touch. Titles include the likes of American Photo, Car & Driver, NME, Popular Mechanics and Playboy. Site visitors select a magazine by scrolling through thumbnails, and then tap on links in a table of contents to jump to pages. Alternately, users can browse all the pages at once and zoom in to the ones they want to read. Each page is a replica of the print copy.
Amazon Kindle Live
Amazon today officially launched its promised Kindle eBook reader and also firmed up details of the device, explaining the handheld's features. The online retailer notes that its Sprint-supported EVDO network, known as Whispernet, will be completely free for users; customers can browse the Amazon store, buy books, and check sites such as Wikipedia without having to sign up for a separate Sprint subscription or worrying about bandwidth charges, Amazon says.
13-port USB 2.0 hub ships
Synchrotech has begun shipping a 13-port USB 2.0 hub designed to replace multiple hubs with one simple device. The hub provides the host computer with 13 additional USB 2.0 ports and allows flexible tiered configurations, according to the company. The hub -- priced at $45 -- includes a power supply with a 4-amp capacity as well as a USB 2.0 cable to connect to a host computer and a 1-year warranty.
Apple shares highlighted
Apple's holiday track record and historical stock gains from Macworld Expo (MWSF) anticipation have spurred Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster to highlight the Cupertino-based company above and beyond the norm. "We are adding Apple to the Alpha list, expecting material upside in the next 90 days," the analyst said. Piper Jaffray's Alpha List serves as a spotlight on the potentially fast-growing stock prices of companies which are likely to experience major gains in the near term, usually as a result of catalyst events. The analyst reiterated his "Buy" rating on Apple shares with a price target of $250.
ATT Considers Google OHA
AT&T is considering joining Google's new Open Handset Alliance, the company's wireless chief Ralph de la Vega has revealed on Sunday. The executive notes that his firm is "analyzing the situation" and may well ship phones incorporating the Linux-based Android operating system for its network. No mention was made of when this membership would be likely or which devices were candidates, though Android phones are expected to ship in the second half of 2008.
Apple tracking iPhones?
(Updated with link to debunking claims)
Apple is keeping abnormal watch on the identity of iPhones making use of online services, some hackers suggest. Buried within the binaries for the Stocks and Weather widgets is code that hands over a user's IMEI number -- the unique identifier for each phone. While IMEI numbers are common to all GSM cellphones, and are regularly used to authorize presence on a network, they are normally unneeded for accessing individual web services. Furthermore, it is impossible to modify the binaries' URLs to omit IMEI data and still retrieve any data from the widgets.
New SATA drive enclosure
Storage specialist WiebeTech on Monday announced its newest RTX Single SATA drive enclosure with TrayFree Technology as well as its most economical DriveDock for accessing data on (bare) hard drives. WiebeTech's RTX100-SJ features an eSATA and USB2 connection for maximum compatibility. The drive enclosure (pictured at right) features a specially designed SATA drive interface that is built to withstand thousands of drive insertions, according to the company. In addition the sturdy aluminum case provides heat dissipation and durability, while a built-in lock keeps drives secure. A fanless design also enables virtually silent operation, while the TrayFree Technology allows users to simply plugin a floppy or bare SATA hard drive without any drive accessories. It is available for $100.
Samsung SLM at ATT
AT&T began its week by introducing the Samsung SLM. Also known as the A747, the clamshell joins the A737 and other Samsung 3G phones at the carrier but adds new features unique to the A-series. The device is the first to explicitly support Napster Mobile and lets users download tracks directly over HSPA. The extra speed is also crucial for the phone's swiveling 2-megapixel camera, AT&T says. Users can either point the camera at themselves to show friends during a one-way video call on AT&T's Video Share service or to point outwards to record videos and 2-megapixel still shots for uploading or media messaging.
Third Apple store in SF
Apple on Monday announced that it would open its third retail store in San Francisco. Touting its product line, the company on Monday announced that Apple would open Apple Store, Chestnut Street on Friday, November 23 at 9 a.m. -- just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season. The store is located at 2125 Chestnut Street and is scheduled to be open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (M-F) and 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Sun). Recently, ifoapplestore noted that the largest chunk of the company's retail revenue comes from Apple's California revenue with New York and Florida second; however, with the largest number of stores, the average revenue per California store is only No. 12 among all states and with New York (~$9 million), Illinois (~$7 million), and New Hampshire (~$6.5 million) filling in the top three spots.
AMD Phenom and Spider Ship
AMD today began shipping its Spider platform, a combination of a processor and chipset that it hopes will sway gamers from Intel. The architecture earns its nickname through the multi-core approach to processors and graphics allowed by the company's new 7-series chipset: an increased bandwidth of up to 14.4GB per second allows it to support both the four-core Phenom 9000-series processor and the company's new CrossFireX technology found in the Radeon HD 3800 line. With the extra speed of the 7-series chipset and PCI Express 2.0, up to four of the cards can be used at once to greatly improve 3D performance, AMD claims.
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