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MWSF highlight gallery
This year's Macworld Expo was the largest yet, with over 450 exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees. Apple released the MacBook Air, as well as iTunes movie rentals, with software upgrades for the iPod touch, iPhone and AppleTV. Vendors, patrons, and journalists came from all over the world to see and show thousands of new or improved products. MacNN has assembled a final gallery for Macworld Expo San Francisco 2008, highlighting many different aspects of the show.
Two new games for iPod
Apple has added two new additions to its iPod games lineup: Pole Position Remix, and Block Breaker Deluxe. Pole Position Remix is a redesigned version of the arcade classic racing game where players compete for first place on any of five three-dimensional tracks. Obstacles like oil slicks, puddles, and other cars will get in the player's way as they race through four game types. Billboards contain art based off a user's music selection, with additional themes, cars, and courses ready to be unlocked. Pole Position Remix is available from the iTunes Store for $5.
Reunion planning tool
Minutae Software has announced the release of Reunite (formerly Reunion Planner) a solution for planning and coordinating your family, college, high school or company reunion. It features a complete address book, integrated mail merge, budget planner, mailing labels, name badges and more. Features in this release include a new interface, tabbed navigation screens, new file tools, improved report printing, mouse-over help tips, a dynamic top menu bar, improved export features and more. The new release is also Mac OSX Leopard (10.5) compatible. The tool requires a PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, 256 MB of RAM and a CD-ROM drive. Pricing is $60.
Zimbra adds Apple support
Zimbra, a division of Yahoo! company, has expanded its support for Apple products and technologies, including Safari 3 and CalDAV for Mac OS X Leopard. The new Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) now fully supports Safari 3. The suite's AJAX interface, including email, calendaring, Zimbra Documents, and customizable mash- ups called Zimlets, now take full advantage of the browser. Zimbra also now supports CalDAV, a key feature for customers using Leopard’s iCal 3 as their calendaring client. Based on a public standard, CalDAV allows users to synchronize and browse free/busy time and recurring appointments easily, both with personal and public calendars.
GBe PCI card, $90
Small Tree Communications has announced the PXG1D, a new 1-port PCI card that provides additional basic Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectivity for the Power Mac G4, Xserve, Power Mac G5 and Xserve G5 users. The company says this new card significantly reduces CPU utilization, saving valuable system resources to improve application workflow speeds. It also has the ability to achieve GbE speeds on commonly deployed CAT-5 cabling without cable replacement, PXG1D allowing migration to faster network capability. The card is priced at $90. It features PCI or PCI-X support. The PXG1D card does not support 802.3ad link aggregation, PCI Hot Plug, IEEE 802.1Q VLANs or IEEE802.3 (z,ab,u,x) flow control. Those features are fully supported on the Small Tree PXG1 server card.
Apple's gaming lessons
Consumer-friendly design, simple operation, and putting the consumer before business are among the lessons Nintendo, Sony and other gaming companies could learn from Apple according to an editorial by GameDaily. Unlike these firms, Apple "makes customers feel that they are more important than the company's business partners," holding standard pricing for iTunes song and TV show purchases despite industry pressure. Meanwhile, Microsoft has capitulated to media producers, meaning that the Xbox Live utilizes a confusing set of prices and rules for downloading TV shows and movies.
42TB in 4U
Nexsan has announced the the SATABeast Xi, a high density, energy efficient storage solution built and optimized for the Apple Xserve and Mac Pro. The solution offers up to 42TB of storage in 4U of rack space, and features AutoMAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks). This allows SATABeast Xi to place its disk drives in an idle state to conserve energy yet provide near-instantaneous access to data. The unit also offers dual function Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity at wire-speed performance. The SATABeast Xi is designed for primary storage of large data set applications like uncompressed, real-time HDTV as well as multi-stream and analog TV signals and video editing.
PhotoAcute Studio 2.7
Almalence has released PhotoAcute Studio 2.7, an update to the software for enhancing digital photo quality that provides focus stacking functionality. The application processes different images of the same scene taken at different focal lengths and automatically produces a new image with a greater depth of field than any one of the single source images, and can merge misaligned images while compensating for scene movement as well as rotation and scaling. The application is priced from $50 for consumer cameras to $120 for DSLR cameras with support for the RAW format and 16-bit color, requiring Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.
Mac Pro memory upgrades
Trans International today announced that is is offering fully-buffered memory chips for Apple's quad-core and 8-core Mac Pro desktop workstations. The memory chips feature specially designed heat-sinks that conform to JADEC standards as well as Apple's Thermal, Mechanical, Electrical Design Specifications and guidelines. The memory chips come in 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB capacities and work with 2GHz, 2.66GHz, 2.8GHz, 3.0GHz, and 3.2GHz Mac Pros. Prices range from $120 (2GB) to $2,800 (32GB).
Xsilva Lightspeed at MWSF
Montreal-based Xsilva Systems demonstrated LightSpeed 2.5 at Macworld Expo this past week, showing users how the software works with touchscreen computers. CEO Dax Dasilva guided MacNN through the workings of LightSpeed, pointing out the iPhone-like functionality of Cover Flow integration. Users can browse through products or customers using Cover Flow, giving retailers a visual overview of their database. Licensing for LightSpeed 2 starts at $750, and is available through Xsilva's online store.
Study: Mac sales, Leopard
The latest consumer spending survey from ChangeWave Research suggests "explosive" Mac sales driven in part by high customer satisfaction with the company's new Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system. "The results represent an astonishing leap for Apple among consumer PC purchasers over the holidays," said ChangeWave. The survey of 4,604 ChangeWave Alliance members, conducted January 2-8, revealed 17 percent of respondents bought an Apple laptop over the past 90 days for a 3 percent rise over the previous study in November of 2007.
MS Virtual Machine Changes
Microsoft today expanded its virtual machine rules for Windows Vista in a way that will match similar competition from Linux and Mac OS X, based on changes to its end-user agreement. While having previously allowed only Vista Business or Ultimate software to run within a virtual environment, the update allows a "licensed device" to run both Vista Home Basic and Home Premium versions inside of such code, regardless of the actual operating system. The license bars the use of Microsoft-made digital rights management (DRM) such as protected Windows Media inside the environment but is otherwise unrestricted.
Mystery in London for Mac
Macgamestore.com has announced the release of Mystery in London for Mac. Published by Big Fish Games, Mystery in London takes players on a trip through London's notorious history. "Your vacation to London turns into an investigation into one of its most notorious mysteries ever!" Mystery in London is priced at $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
UK iPhone sales disappoint
The iPhone did not sell as well as anticipated during its first few months in the UK, according to the Financial Times. Anonymous sources for the newspaper claim that although O2 publicly expected to sell 200,000 iPhones within two months following the November 9th UK launch, that number actually came out to around 190,000. The figures may be especially disappointing due to predictions by Gartner, a well-known research firm, which once argued that sales could be as high as 350,000 to 400,000.
Logo Design Studio Pro
Macware has issued an update to Logo Design Studio Pro, enhancing the vector-based logo design software. The latest release includes padding and hyphenation text fill options, optimized PDF export, aspect ratio lock, and a new dial control for easier rotation. Logo Design Studio Pro also provides better editing support for imported raster-based objects, and numerous minor bug fixes/enhancements. The software is priced at $60, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
SL MultiTracks in REX 2
Smart Loops has released its SL MultiTracks Volume 5, 6 and 7 Drum Loop libraries -- which were previously only available in ACID WAV and Apple Loops formats -- in REX 2 format for compatibility with more Mac and PC software samplers. SL MultiTracks allow computer-based musicians to discretely control volumes, EQ, and FX on individual drum and cymbal loops. Each MultiTrack groove and one-shot is provided both as a set of multitrack drum and cymbal loops as well as a complete mix loop. SL MultiTracks are priced at $15 per library, and are available as volumes for $30 each (three libraries per volume) or a complete bundle for $180.
Retailers Excluding HD DVD
The move by Warner Bros. to produce only Blu-ray movies is already beginning to push HD DVD out of stores, says a report from Video Business. Several retail chain owners, including Trans World Entertainment and Video Buyers Group, have revealed that they will either emphasize or introduce Blu-ray in their stores in response to the larger library of movies that will be available for the format. Video Buyers Group in particular notes the lack of confusion makes it "safe" to bring an HD movie format to as many as 800 of its roughly 1,600 stores for the first time, according to chain president Ted Engen.
CIO: Macworld for IT execs
Last week's Macworld Expo contained a number of important products that IT executives should be aware of, says CIO. The magazine argues that while Macworld has traditionally showcased products for artists, schools and small businesses, there were a number of products this year that major corporations should at least be aware of. Among these is the MacBook Air, which may be in high demand for travelers due to its weight and thinness. This may unintentionally create a security problem, as it can more easily be smuggled out of a building.
Polymer Readius Phone
Polymer Vision this afternoon revealed that it has begun producing the Readius, a device billed as the world's first phone with a foldable display. Even more advanced than Amazon's Kindle, the device uses a 5-inch e-paper display that not only replicates the sharpness of ink but tucks into the main body, creating a much smaller profile than any e-book reader. It also serves as a full-fledged phone: thanks to tri-band HSDPA, the Readius can make calls and connect to the Internet in the US and most other 3G-capable areas of the world. This allows live RSS reading as well as e-mail and other real-time information.
Parallels Server for Mac
SWsoft gave Macworld Expo patrons a demonstration of its upcoming Parallels Server for Mac – a product that earned it the expo's Best of Show award. Due to ship in the coming weeks, Parallels Server allows users to run any number of different virtual machines on the Mac, including Apple's own Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server. The new software will be also be able to run on a server cluster, according to Benjamin Rudolph, director of corporate communications for SWsoft.
AssistiveWare says it has released updates for three of its main programs. KeyStrokes, the company's predictive on-screen keyboard, is now in version 4; the main change is the addition of LayoutKitchen, which lets users create custom keyboards that can incorporate things such as voice commands, program launches and AppleScripts. The software also includes new Spanish and Russian dictionaries. KeyStrokes requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and costs $300.
Seagate Momentus 250GB
Instead of focusing on the high end of mobile storage, Seagate today unveiled the Momenuts 5400.4 250GB. The Serial ATA II drive is built to make relatively large hard disks available outside of pro notebooks and as a low-cost upgrade for systems with easily swappable drives. Despite holding 125GB of data across a relatively small two platters, the drive is said to be more power-efficient and tolerant of shocks (up to 325 Gs when active) than earlier generations. An 8MB cache is standard.
HP Blackbird Alpha
HP today hoped to lead the crowd of gaming PCs with a new top-end version of its Blackbird 002 gaming PC. Called just the Blackbird Alpha, the tower is based around Intel's newer Core 2 Extreme QX9650 quad-core processor running at 3GHz, offering both the faster speed and a cooler 45 nanometer design in the process. The system also brings the faster components of the Blackbird series with an Ageia PhysX physics accelerator card and two of AMD's ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT video cards with 1GB of RAM each.
MacBook Pro Multi-Touch
The MacBook Pro will receive the multi-touch trackpad features of the MacBook Air in the near future as well as new processors, according to an alleged source supplying information to AppleInsider. The systems should receive new, extra-large trackpads that will allow the same pinch, rotate, and swipe gestures as the ultraportable; a release was planned in the general timeframe of Macworld but was delayed due to a need to switch resources to the MacBook Air, the insider claims.
Panasonic Lumix LS80
Ahead of the PMA photography expo, Panasonic today has quietly revealed the Lumix DMC-LS80. The company's latest point-and-shoot is said to be a significant reworking of earlier designs with an upgrade to a sharper 8.1-megapixel sensor and changes both to the inside and outside to make the camera easier to use. Unlike most budget cameras, the LS80 provides optical image stabilization as well as an auto-ISO boost mode that increases sensitivity up to ISO 6400 for fast movement in the dark. An auto macro mode also properly refocuses the camera when a subject is too close for normal shots.
Cells boost digital music
Music-capable cellphones are helping to fuel the consumption of digital music as a whole, suggests a study from the research firm M:Metrics. The company now says that "sideloading" of music -- copying it from an existing device to a phone -- represents 83 percent of mobile music use in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Unfortunately for cellular companies and other digital music vendors however, most users are not downloading tracks from them, but instead tapping into shared music -- the market exceptions being Spain and the US.
Rogers grabs BlackJack II
The newest carrier to support the BlackJack II, and the first in Canada, is national GSM provider Rogers Wireless. There the Samsung phone is simply known as the Jack, and is marketed as an "all-in-one" device with support for Rogers' HSPA broadband network. As it lacks a front-facing video camera, the main purpose of this is faster MMS messaging or downloads of video and MP3/AAC files. Prices for the Jack can be as low as $200 CAD, but can be as much as $400.
HBO on Broadband
HBO on Monday said it would take tentative steps into online video with HBO on Broadband, a new service designed to help timeshift the company's TV programming. The feature will only be available for Time Warner Cable customers subscribed to the premium channel but will allow them to watch away from a TV without resorting to illegal copies or waiting for DVD releases. Users will both be able to download and watch roughly 400 hours' worth of HBO's monthly content for up to four weeks after the download takes place. In a unique approach, however, the service will stream shows live for those who want to catch a series as it appears.
CommuniGate CalDAV support
CommuniGate Systems has added CalDAV support to its Unified Communications platform, enabling users to share scheduling resources and calendar events to boost collaboration as well as productivity. The standards-based software works across multiple Calendar standards -- such as iCalendar, MAPI, WebCal, and CalDAV -- for seamless interoperability of clients and organizational scheduling services, according to the company.
ATT SIM Card Option
AT&T today quietly began offering a SIM card option to its collection. The new choice provides buyers of the US-edition N95 8GB and other unlocked phones the option of joining AT&T's network without first choosing a device, potentially reducing the cost of entry. Each SIM card supports most any feature supported by existing devices and will connect to AT&T's 3G service as well as supply either prepaid or subscription access depending on the user's needs.
Mac OS X 10.5.2 details
The next update for Mac OS X may be one of the largest Apple has ever released, accounts say. During last week's Macworld event, it is said that a new build of Mac OS X 10.5.2 was circulated amongst developers, under the version name 9C16. Aside from adding support for Remote Disks (for the MacBook Air) and using networked volumes as Time Machine devices (required for the Time Capsule), it reportedly addresses issues with almost 40 OS components, including AirPort, firewalls, Dashboard widgets, Finder, the Dock, iCal, iChat, Mail and Safari.
iPhone, iPod chargers
XtremeMac has released InCharge Home and InCharge Travel, the newest additions to the company's line of power devices designed to safely charge Apple's iPhone and iPod. Both models are 'Works with iPhone' and 'Made for iPod' approved, certifying that they meet Apple's performance standards. The InCharge Home is a wall charger designed for use as an extra charging station with rapid charging technology that boasts twice the performance of standard charging via a computer. InCharge Home is priced at $30, while InCharge Travel is available for $50.
Rogers Data Plans
Rogers Wireless has begun expanding its historically restrictive data limits, according to a price sheet (PDF) for its services. While primarily affecting PC Cards, the plans are the first to allow multi-gigabyte usage per month for the Canadian provider depending on the level of service. A base $65 monthly plan provides just 1GB of data transfer over the course of one month but adapts automatically depending on usage: crossing the 1GB limit raises the fee to $75 but doubles the bandwidth to 2GB, Rogers says. Theis continues up to a $100 monthly plan that offers 5GB with each megabyte afterwards costing an additional 3 cents.
Thailand iPhone talks
Apple's latest attempt at negotiating international distribution of the iPhone is in Thailand, according to reports. Reuters cites Prattana Leelapanang, the assistant VP of wireless business marketing for Thailand's Advanced Info Service (AIS); according to Leelapanang, his company is already discussing the details of an arrangement with Apple, including revenue sharing. The last point is particularly notable, as neither Apple nor its telecom partners have in the past admitted to revenue sharing, although it is a widely accepted fact amongst analysts.
Samsung t819 at T-Mobile
T-Mobile today used a quiet Monday to formally introduce the Samsung t819 to its lineup. The slider drops the safer blacks and grays of most phones in favor of a copper brown. It also provides a newer control pad design with shortcut buttons that are as usable at the main selection and calling buttons. The handset occupies T-Mobile's mid-range with a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth with stereo audio, and a media player that uses the microSD card slot for the bulk of its storage.
iPhone enterprise plans
As anticipated, AT&T has officially added the iPhone to its business program. People who subscribe must have both a voice plan and one of the new Enterprise Data Plans for iPhone; these are divided solely by the number of SMS messages a user can send, with 200 messages priced at $45 per month, 1,500 at $55, and an unlimited number at $65. All of the plans include Visual Voicemail and unlimited domestic data use, meaning web browsing and e-mail.
NBC Apple Warm Up
NBC Universal may be making conciliatory gestures to Apple as part of an effort to revitalize its business, according to a new report by the Financial Times (free trial or paid subscription required). In addition to cutting back on pilot TV shows and other practices that hurt the studio's costs, the network is said to have "patched up relations" with its momentary rival, which it accused of delivering pennies per sale for iTunes video sales, providing just $15 million over the last 12 months of NBC's time on the Apple-run store.
Kyocera get Sanyo Cell Biz
Kyocera today said it had settled on terms to pick up Sanyo's cellphone business. Confirming earlier moves, the former will acquire all of Sanyo's cellphone and cellular technology assets. However, the deal will initially see virtually unchanged business: not only will none of Sanyo's related jobs be cut, but Sanyo-branded phones will continue to exist "for the foreseeable future," Kyocera says. The deal itself is estimated to be worth about $375 million after factoring in associated costs.
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