USBfever recently unveiled a crystal clear plastic case for the iPhone that has a removable telescope attachment for the camera. The telescopic lens is advertised as being distortion-free, and can zoom at a fixed six times the distance of the iPhone's built-in camera. Users attach the telescopic adaptor to the case by sliding it into place over three pegs, and can be worn around the neck when not in use, with the included neck strap. USBfever is selling the iPhone Telescope with Crystal Case for $20 on its website.
Unknown Vector today launched the uvLayer beta, a free, multi-service video sharing community that allows users to communicate with friends across several social networks. uvLayer relies on Adobe AIR to provide a full-screen video organization and sharing area. Users can sort videos however they choose, by stacking, dragging, and throwing video thumbnails across the virtual tabletop. uvLayer requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later, and the Adobe AIR browser plugin.
Red Giant Software today unveiled Magic Bullet Frames, its latest plugin for Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Premiere Pro. The plugin is designed to allow users to shoot video on low-cost film, and then scale the footage to 24p, giving it a professional finish. Magic Bullet Frames uses motion-adaptive and field-blended modes to process frames, and can apply custom letterboxes to footage to give it a cinematic feel. Red Giant Software is currently selling Magic Bullet Frames for $200.
In brief: A book on iPhone binary development has made its debut, a new gaming site for users with disabilities is available, Big Nerd Ranch has announced plans for a Ruby on Rails boot camp, and Apple introduces 30 Coding Head Starts ... iPhone Open Application Development is a new title designed to teach users how to write Native Objective-C Applications for the iPhone. Zdziarski, the developer of the first fully functional application using the open iPhone toolkit, explains how to create applications using Objective-C and the iPhone API, which in some ways resembles Apple's desktop API and in other ways strikes new ground. The book covers installation of the toolkits and background on the operating system and Objective-C. Graphics and audio programming, the CoreImage and CoreSurfaces interfaces for games programming, interfacing with iTunes, and the use of sensors are all covered.
Motorola today announced it is exploring the possibility of restructuring its business strategies in order to recoup its status as a top wireless equipment provider. After having recently been bumped to third behind Nokia and Samsung, Motorola is taking steps to win back marketshare, and in turn, enhance the value of its shares. One avenue the company is exploring is to divide its wireless business from the rest of its daily operations, allowing each party to concentrate fully on their various tasks.
GarageGames today released Torque Game Builder 1.7, an update to the game development software that features improved editors for modifying link points as well as collision polygons. Further changes include new methods for dealing with scene objects, and a new editor for creating vector objects. The latest update to the TGB engine follows the release of version 1.6 on December 14th, which introduced a host of bug fixes and improvements. Torgue Game Builder 1.7 is priced at $100 for independent developers, or $500 for commercial use (system requirements were unavailable).
iPhone Drive 1.4 ($20) Mac OS X application which lets the iPhone and iPod Touch be used like a disk for portable file storage. This release adds Adds Call Log access. Adds SMS message access. Adds camera photo access. Adds the ability to play music stored on the iPhone or iPod Touch. This release adds Call Log access; SMS message access; camera photo access and the ability to play music stored on the iPhone or iPod Touch. [Download - 3MB] Nicecast 1.9 ($40) internet radio station tool. This update includes Instant Hijack 2, enabling the hijacking of audio from applications which are already running on Leopard, as well as Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). As well, the System Audio Extra has been updated with Soundflower 1.3 and a new Track Titles drawer has been added. This free update is recommended for all users on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 [Download - 7.5MB] License Keeper 1.3 ($20) stores and organizes important software license information, helping to prevent the loss of valuable software assets and making it accessible when needed most. Automatic serial number scanning and software information detection greatly reduces cumbersome data entry. Attachments keep related email and documents safely archived along with license and registration records. [Download - 1.8MB] Unity 2.0.2 ($200) game creation tool. This release includes the following enhancements: A new integrated Ping class for pinging remote servers or machines; Added boolean and byte array parameter support for RPC functions; Improved host list processing (Network.RequestHostList()) so it doesn't cause delays. Client connections to the master server are also more efficient. [Download - form] Timed Screenshot 1.1 (donationware) Timed Screenshot, a simple background utility to save screenshots to a folder every few seconds; made with REALbasic from REAL Software, Inc. Requires Mac OS X; source code is included. This application shows REALbasic developers how to use the screenshot functions from the MBS Plugin. Also you can see how to make a background only application (no dock icon). [Download - 2.5MB]
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published 11 of Apple's patent applications. Among the 11, a patent regarding AAC audio bit allocation, as well as one pertaining to hierarchical menus stand out. Apple has presented a concept for perceptual audio encoding, a bit allocation technique that is designed to reduce the size of a file by finding a perfect balance of quality versus compression. While Apple is developing the process to apply it to AAC, it could also be applied to MP3, AC-3, and WMA media formats.
IGG Software today released iBank 3 Public Beta, a trial version of its financial management application for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software includes iBank for iPhone, a Web-based iPhone application that allows users to enter transactions from an iPhone on-the-go. The update powers a redesigned interface with Mac OS X Core Animation technology, and a new view allows users to 'flip' through transactions presented professionally designed category images. iBank 3 Public Beta requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later, and the full version will ship in February for $50.
Equinux today began shipping the fifth generation of its online auction management software, iSale 5. The application allows Mac users to create as well as manage online eBay auctions, and features a template editor that allows supports customization of the included 222 templates. iSale 5 simplifies the search for product information and pictures, according to the company, and can display running auctions on the Facebook platform. iSale 5 is priced at $40, and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. Upgrades are free for users who purchased iSale after December 15th of 2007, and are priced at $20 for all other customers.
Nokia will use much of its time at next month's Mobile World Congress to demonstrate future technology for its smartphones, the company says in two entries on its official Symbian series 60 (S60) blog. The Finnish firm had previously previewed a small number of technologies at its Go:Play event last year but now intends to elaborate on its plans. The Touch UI (user interface) will be shown in greater detail and should include new additions such as vibration feedback for commands and a new programming platform, called the UI Accelerator Toolkit, that will allow more visually advanced interfaces for both Nokia and third-party developers.
A federal court has upheld a ruling in favor of TiVo in its case against the Dish Network, the Associated Press writes. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is supporting a lower court's verdict, which holds that the Dish Network violated one of TiVo's software patents. Specifically the patent addresses split recording and viewing, one of TiVo's signature features, although neither TiVo nor Dish are the sole users of the concept.
Telecom Italia Mobile is the leading candidate for the Italian iPhone carrier, according to extrapolations based on evidence in the iPhone software package, while a vast EDGE network outage is affecting a significant portion of iPhone users in the US. Italian news site Macity has pointed out that the TIM_Italy.bundle introduced in the v1.1.2 iPhone updater is still there in the current v1.1.3. In firmware v1.1.1, Apple had introduced Italian as an operable language.
The two unknown companies reported to be using the MacBook Air's processor are Fujitsu and Lenovo, CNET claims to have confirmed. The systems themselves have not been leaked but are expected to roll out "shortly," the alleged sources say. The extra-small packaging of the processor is nonetheless expected to offer a blend between the thinner and smaller designs of ultraportables and the performance of a standard notebook. The chips in use by Apple are clocked slower than most Intel mobile chips at 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz but include the 4MB of Level 2 cache from faster processors and consume much less power on average than current full-size chips.
The percentage Macs occupy in the US computer market should double within the next three years, a new analysis claims. The research firm Gartner is predicting that by 2011, Apple will control over 12 percent of US computer ownership, making the company a major player, if still likely to be dwarfed by Windows vendors Dell and HP. Market share is also expected to double for Apple in western Europe.
The Mac OS X install disc that ships with the MacBook Air can only be used with that model, Apple has revealed in a Knowledge Base document. The installer has a mechanism that prevents this software from being installed on other Macs. Also, Apple says that other Mac OS X 10.5 installation media (presumably including the retail, store-bought copy of Leopard) should not be used when restoring the system software on your MacBook Air. Meanwhile, Apple makes several notes on wireless functionality. For instance, if you MacBook Air is near an external display, you may notice a reduction of throughput for wireless networks that use the 2.4 GHz band.
Dell today denied claims that it would release a phone developed with Google at next month's Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. Company spokeswoman Anne Camden explains that Dell neither has any product to announce at the event nor has any plans to attend. The official did not explicitly confirm or deny the possibility of a phone at any point in the future, making any announcement unlikely until considerably later in the year at the earliest.
Apple's iTunes software surpassed RealPlayer in unique users for the first time in April of 2007, according to WebSiteOptimization.com, and was the only contender among the four major streaming media players to show a positive growth rate over the past year. iTunes grew 26.8 percent from December 2006 to December 2007, while QuickTime and RealPlayer usage fell 8.6 percent and 17.5 percent, respectfully. Windows Media Player, meanwhile, remained essentially flat over the past year.
Sony at today's press conference for the PMA photography show confirmed that its 24.8-megapixel photo sensor is destined for a future pro digital SLR camera. The news ends concerns that the sensor would be used only for scientific use and is also accompanied by very early details of the camera itself. Sony has already developed a version of its in-house Super SteadyShot image stabilization to automatically sensor-shift and counter blurring. The new model should also be part of the Alpha line rather than a new model and so should share many features, potentially including those from the new A300 series.
Slacker today ended months of delays with news that it began shipping the Slacker Portable. True to the original concept, the company's inaugural player is built around the notion of the device as both an online and offline radio station. Although users can still load their own content, the player is built to automatically download and play preset or user-made content channels over Wi-Fi; while users have less control, it provides an effectively unlimited stream of new, relevant music which is still accessible for hours while offline, Slacker says. Each track is accompanied by extended details about the artist.
Research in Motion has developed what should be the company's first consumer-oriented phone add-on, FCC filings show. The device is currently known as the BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway, and is essentially a Bluetooth receiver that connects directly to a audio system while streaming music from a nearby BlackBerry phone. It may in theory be compatible with other Bluetooth devices as well, since such receivers do not typically use proprietary instructions. No release date has been made public.
SanDisk is preparing the release of two new SDHC cards in its Ultra II line. The preeminent one is a 32GB model, representing the largest possible size for the SDHC format; this is still rarely seen in the commercial market. Unlike Toshiba's rival card however, the SanDisk card writes at a fast 15MBs, making it more suitable for HD camcorders and SLRs like the Nikon D80. It will ship in April for approximately $350, bundled with a MicroMate USB 2.0 reader.
Bidders in the auction for the 700MHz wireless space have reached the minimum bid necessary to require that a winner institutes open access on any wireless network they create, the US Federal Communications Commission has confirmed through its auction site. At least one bidder in the auction has pressed past the crucial $4.6 billion mark for the "C block" spectrum, with bids at the end of the 17th round of the auction just surpassing $4.7 billion. No end dates or bidding limits have been established for the auction, which is set to continue until bidding stops.
Prolific memory maker Kingston has upgraded its line of SDHC memory cards, which now includes a 16GB model. The SD4/16GB is the largest SDHC option from the company, and should theoretically be able to hold over four hours of six-megapixel video, or some 5,080 JPEG photos captured at an eight-megapixel resolution. Unlike Kingston's other SDHC options however, the 16GB card is strictly available at Class 4 speeds (4MBs+), whereas the 4 and 8GB cards can also be had in Class 2 and Class 6 editions. Buying an SD4/16GB costs $231.
Dell this morning followed through on its promise last week and began offering the XPS M1330 with Linux in the US. The system is the first XPS in the country to come preloaded with Ubuntu Linux and brings features that were not previously options with Dell's Linux systems, such as an LED-lit display and a slot-loading DVD burner.
MacNN and its network sites -- Electronista, iPodNN and Leftlane News -- have gained custom Home icons for the iPhone and the iPod touch. This takes advantage of Apple's WebClip option in the v1.1.3 firmware, which allows users to create Safari bookmarks that launch as if they were native applications. The rules and methods for assigning custom icons is described at Apple's iPhone Dev Center.
Well-known pirated material site The Pirate Bay has been charged with its first clear copyright infringement case, according to reports. A combination of major movie labels and music studios, including EMI, Fox, Sony BMG, and Universal, accuse the Swedish-run site of profiting from linking to BitTorrents from pages with advertising; as much as $4 million US a year is generated through normal traffic, according to the Swedish prosecutor in the case, Hakan Roswall. Labels involved with the suit are demanding as much as a $188,000 fine for each of the four principal site operators and that computers they own be confiscated.
A Kansas man has posted photos of his fully functional iPhone after the device flew off the trunk of his car at freeway speeds, only to be run over by a semi truck traveling at an estimated 70 miles-per-hour. The man says his iPhone still works seamlessly in every way -- from making and receiving calls to sending text messages. "Much to my surprise, as I approached, I heard the familiar sound of my ringtone -- the iPhone was alive and ringing," the man recalled. "As I picked it up and cradled it gently in my hands, I saw the screen displaying my caller ID -- the screen still worked!"
SubRosaSoft has updated all of its Salvage applications to v6.1.5, bringing with them several enhancements. FileSalvage recovers data from Mac OS X systems; PodSalvage can retrieve lost music (and other files) from iPods, and OfficeSalvage can be used to specifically target office documents. Finally, CameraSalvage is meant to restore images from memory cards, optical discs and hard drives. Both Mac- and Windows-formatted storage can be read by all Salvage products.
The MacBook Air's custom-made processor should soon be licensed for use by other PC builders, say claims by PC Advisor. A contact allegedly aware of Intel's plans expects at least two unnamed computer builders to use the special Core 2 Duo in systems to be released "soon." The technical details of the notebooks are not described, though the smaller packaging around the processor die is designed to allow smaller overall systems without sacrificing as much performance as the ultra-low voltage chips typically required for subnotebooks.
TiVo and CBS on Thursday announced a joint project that will let the TV broadcaster track viewing behavior for digital video recorders. Through TiVo's Stop||Watch service, CBS will have access to not only data from TiVo subscribers' viewing habits for full shows but also their likelihood of skipping ads and other behavior; the service can determine the delay between recording and playing timeshifted broadcasts, generate TV ratings, and track usage down to the second, according to the two companies.
Al Gore has exercised his stock options to make a greater investment into Apple, reports indicate. The former US vice-president, now a member of Apple's board of directors, has used his privileged position to buy 1,000 shares in the company at a reduced rate of $7.48, offering an immediate profit potential of $124,060. Due to fluctuations in the market, the same shares were worth $131,540 by the end of Tuesday. Gore still has the opportunity to buy 59,000 more shares later on.
Sigma at the PMA photo expo has committed to a release window for the DP1, its unusual crossover between compact cameras and digital SLRs. Now due sometime in spring, the final camera still maintains the 14-megapixel Foveon sensor that defines its shooting characteristics. The new three-layer silicon technology (also used in the SD14) captures each portion an RGB image in one pixel instead of three and allows the sensor to be several times larger than for other point-and-shoots this size; this provides both a major lift both to resolution as well as color response, Sigma says. The DP1 also comes with a custom-tailored 16.6mm f4 lens that can produce a shallow depth of field effect normally impossible with compact cameras.
The MacBook Air is dependent on a exclusive version of Mac OS X Leopard, Apple technical documents show. "The Mac OS X 10.5 installation media that shipped with your MacBook Air is designed for use on this computer only and not intended for any other computer," the document warns. Owners are further cautioned that the installer "prevents this software from being installed on other Macintosh computers," and that moreover, an Air cannot be restored by using other Leopard installation discs.
Amazon today said it would acquire Audible in a share buyout deal worth roughly $300 million. The agreement effectively gives Amazon control of Audible's audiobook collection and is described as an effort to develop and expand the audiobook forrmat, which is largely dominated by the now-acquired company. The finished deal is expected to be approved sometime during the spring of this year.
IOGEAR continues to extend its wireless USB product line with the introduction of a CardBus-based WUSB peripheral for notebooks. Working with any certified WUSB device, IOGEAR's new offering is a certified Wireless USB CardBus HMA and works much like its USB dongle ($100) counterpart, but with a few advantages: it frees up USB slots and also decreases bandwidth over the USB bus, according to the report. Designed for older notebooks -- newer models usually have ExpressCard slots -- users can opt for the CardBus-device to work with external WUSB hubs, such as the recently introduced by Belkin. Pricing or availability were not noted in the report and IOGEAR's website has not been updated. [via EverythingUSB]
Stanford University is teaming up with iTunes to provide Lively Arts gift cards, a sampler card that offers attendees to the Lively Arts events 10 free downloads of featured artists. The iTunes sampler card will be given out from January 25th until March 15th at the various events, and will also be available to users through various campus services. Students who can't attend the Lively Arts events can pick up a complimentary card at the Stanford Bookstoor, Tresidder Express, Track House Sport Shop, The Stanford Shop, and The Bookshop at the Cantor Art Center.
DataMind recently unveiled Jade 1.0.2, a program designed to enhance image colors, contrast and dynamics, while preserving overall image quality. Users can fine-tune the algorithms that Jade uses to tweak any processing done to a photo. Jade can also batch process images, saving users the work of repeating a set of corrections to potentially thousands of images. DataMind is offering a free 30-day demo of Jade, with the full copy available for the current discounted price of $100.
Google has unveiled the release of the Google Toolbox for Mac source code, joining the ranks of Google Data APIs Object-C Library of open source materials available from the internet services giant. The development team calls the collection eclectic, containing apps that are required for most every day tasks. Eventually, the Google Mac Team hopes to have additional utilities, with "more interesting and complex classes".
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R