Apple's .Mac is a service based on a paid yearly subscription of $100. It offers users many different functions, such as calendar and mail syncing, backup, email, online storage, among others. Many users only require one portion of the service, however, and can not justify the yearly cost for things that they feel they have no use for. BusyMac looks to address one of those needs with BusySync, an application that is designed to synchronize iCal calendars across a local area network. This makes it an idea candidate for office situations, since the one-time cost of the application (minus any major version upgrades in the future) is more manageable than maintaining several yearly subscriptions.
Synium recently unveiled a beta test for Screenium, its new motion screen-capture application, and also issued a beta for iFinance 2, an update to its personal financial management software. Screenium allows users to record their activities with full internal application and external source audio, enabling them to create video-based tutorials and "screencasts". Screenium captures all mouse movements, clicks, and drags, while also recording all application and operating system sounds. Users can also simultaneously record verbal instructions, so that they don't have to assemble everything in post production. Screenium is currently being offered as a preview version, but will be available for $20 when the app is finalized.
Raytel has announced that at next month's CES expo, it will be demonstrating the EGO Drive, an unusual GPS navigator. While it includes a 4.3-inch touchscreen and 2D or 3D mapping, the distinguishing factor may be its wireless remote control knob, which lets users handle some basic functions without having to lean over to the dash or pull it out of a pocket. The unit further features advanced Bluetooth support, which not only enables hands-free calling but also stereo audio streaming. Users can play MP3, WAV and MPEG-4 files on the system, with data being copied either to internal memory via USB, or held on SD cards up to 2GB in size.
Skorpiostech has released a public beta of Changes, its new directory comparison and file differencing utility for Mac OS X. Changes is designed to make managing differences between files and folders fast and efficient by leveraging the power of Leopard's new Core Animation and Quick Look technologies, providing a smooth workflow that handles complicated synchronization and differencing needs. Changes beta is available for free during the testing period, and will sell for $30 upon shipping before migrating to its actual price of $40. The software requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
Canada's Nortel is the latest to settle a patent dispute with VoIP carrier Vonage, Reuters reports. Unlike the company's recent legal problems, however, Vonage was in this case the originator, having inherited a 2004 lawsuit when it bought Digital Packet Licensing in 2006; in question were patents relating to 411 and 911 services, along with so-called "click-to-call" technology. Nortel filed a counterclaim earlier this month, which may have been the trigger for the settlement. Crucially for Vonage, which has been in serious financial jeopardy for several months, the agreement will require no cash damage payments. Instead, each side will let the other license three of its patents in a limited arrangement.
ASUS will give its Eee PC ultra-compact notebook wide-area 4G wireless when a new version is revealed next week, the company says on a special preview website. Though leaving few clues, the company makes clear that it will use Intel's WiMAX in the system to supply fast broadband Internet access at cellular-like distances. The system is certain to arrive in the US through Sprint's involvement with the project, which will make sure the new Eee can take advantage of the cellular provider's upcoming Xohm WiMAX service. The debut is expected on Monday, though an actual launch may hinge on Sprint's 4G network, which launches during the spring.
Nova media has released a new update for its iSync plug-ins, bringing their version to v5.1. The software adds support for approximately 130 phones to iSync, letting users copy over their iCal and Address Book information to a phone in advance of formal support from Apple. Brands covered by the plug-ins include Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. New to v5.1 is support for several more phones from Nokia, including the E51, 7900 and 3500 Classic, as well as the N82 and 8GB N95, neither of which are as yet formally available in the US.
Apple's Mac OS X operating system -- which the company advertises as more secure than Microsoft Windows -- is coming under increased scrutiny by security specialists and underground crackers as the platform increases in market share. After repeatedly posting record quarters and announcing a growth rate well ahead of the personal computer industry in general, Apple is fast appearing on the radar of more and more hackers across the globe. Infoworld reports that "The days when you can assume that Apple's products are exempt from harm are over."
Even more system builders are known to be gearing up for Penryn notebook launches that will launch early next year, according to further updates from Notebook Italia. Unlike its often conservative efforts in the past, Lenovo plans to update both its premium T61 (shown) and mainstream R61 ThinkPads with the new processor: each will get a baseline 2.1GHZ Core 2 Duo with the enhanced 3MB of cache and other benefits of the newer chip design; the thinner, titanium T61 will come with 1GB of memory, a 120GB disk, and integrated Intel video as standard while the bulkier R61 will use its cost savings to use doubled RAM, a 160GB drive, and offer NVIDIA's Quadro NVS 140M for faster 3D graphics.
Music sales during the holidays have dropped by a dramatic extent in 2007, Variety magazine writes. Although a handful of titles such as Josh Groban's Noel have fared well, the overall number of albums sold has dropped from 105.3 to 83.9 million between 2006 and 2007 for the peak holiday shopping period following US Thanksgiving -- a drop of about 21 percent, the publication says. Sales during the last week hit a predicted spike and jumped 42 percent but were still 18 percent down from the year before.
More details of the highly-anticipated iTunes rental service have been leaked, according to Variety. The movie trade magazine cites "studio sources" as saying that Fox and Disney are indeed confirmed as partners, and will make some sort of appearance during the January 14th Macworld keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The two may also be joined by other distributors, such as MGM, Lionsgate and Paramount, which like Fox and Disney already sell permanent downloads on the iTunes Store.
Atman Software today launched IO, a new side-scrolling game that challenges players to bring the Nautilus-114 spaceship back home. "the task isn't easy thanks to the many robotic minions that now inhabit the ship. In order to accomplish your mission, you have to play evasively (hide in the dark, walk don't run), avoid detection and carry out your objectives." Players are accompanied by a robotic friend, Ned, taking enemies down and gathering data pertaining to the destruction of the ship's human crew. The game is priced at $13 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
LG Phillips LCD has today revealed some of its first multi-touch displays and is targeting them at users who want to bring the technology to large rooms and public spaces. At 52 and 84 inches, the two new displays are the largest yet to allow more than one point of contact: the 52-inch is the largest contiguous LCD of its kind while the 84-inch model combines four 42-inch screens. An IR sensor registers two points of contact and can also recognize gestures, allowing users to zoom into a map or manipulate a photo with more natural input. Either set functions as a 1080p display that works with most computers and offer virtually the same light output as a view-only display despite the touch input.
One site claims to have acquired a pre-release version of Apple's v1.1.3 firmware for the iPhone, revealing several features. In contrast to reports from earlier this month, the new account does not make any mention of disk modes or voice recording, but rather concentrates on improvements to Google Maps and the home screen. In the latter case users can drag and drop icons by holding their finger on one for a few seconds, which "shakes free" all icons to be moved around as desired. Users can then shuffle around items in not just the primary screen, but also in the dock, or to and from the newly-accessible secondary pages. Tapping the Home button locks icons back in place.
Details of several notebooks running the mobile version of Intel's Penryn architecture have been leaked and point to the likely specifications for other systems as well, according to Notebook Italia. Sony is expected to have one of the most comprehensive updates with upgrades to its VAIO AR, CR, FZ (pictured), and SZ notebooks. As should be common to many systems based on the 45-nanometer Intel processor, clock speeds will be higher: the CR, SZ, and the base FZ will start with 2.1GHz Core 2 Duos, while the top FZ and the standard AR will reach 2.4GHz; fulfilling predictions of large memory, Sony will ship every system with at least 2GB of RAM and as much as 4GB on the 2.4GHz portables, which also sport Blu-ray drives.
Research in Motion's BlackBerry 9000-series has been spotted but may be an evolutionary design rather than the major shift expected by some, according to an update from the third-party BlackBerry Forums. A photo allegedly taken near the company's Waterloo, Canada campus reveals a device that offers a major redesign of the BlackBerry Curve but retains the chief formula equipped with a conventional screen, it also keeps the trackball of the earlier model but includes larger, easier to hit keys on its keypad and is thinner overall than its predecessors.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE