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Refurb iMacs from $1,249
Apple's online store is currently offering reconditioned current-generation iMacs for as little as $1,249 and MacBooks starting at $849. The company's current-generation 20-inch 2.4GHz iMac Intel Core 2 Duo ($1,249) includes 1GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, an 8x SuperDrive DVD/CD burner, and an ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO graphics card with 256MB of video memory; a 24-inch 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme model ($1,899) is also available with 2GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, an 8X SuperDrive, and the same graphics card as the 20-inch model. Apple's supply of previous-generation iMacs includes the 20-inch 2.16GHz model ($1,099) with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive; as well as the 24-inch 2.16GHz version ($1,399) with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. Apple's stock of refurbished MacBooks includes the White 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ($849) with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive; as well as the White 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo ($999) with 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive.
First Look: ScreenFlow
Every Mac comes with the Grab program, which can capture images of the screen that are helpful for showing others how a certain program should look or what users should see after choosing specific commands. Unfortunately still images cannot always show the complete story, just as viewing a photograph is less enthralling than watching a movie. To fill the void Vara Software offers ScreenFlow, which captures screen activity and stores it as a Quicktime movie file that users can copy and distribute to others. Such Quicktime movies, called screencasts, are useful for creating video tutorials for training or teaching.
RAM for new MacBooks
In brief: Apple ranks 15th in Web traffic in Japan, RAM for new MacBooks, MacBook Pros is available, Freeway 5 beta 3 has been released and Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition debuts ... Apple ranks 15th in Web traffic in Japan according to new statistics release by comScore. Apple garnered 15,633,000 unique visitors in Japan in January. comScore reports "January saw increased visitation to education, career, automotive and real estate sites as many people in Japan focused their Internet activity on planning for the New Year. Several news sites, including J-Cast.com, Sponichi.com, and Jiji.com, saw significant gains in January, with elections in Osaka, the Sumo wrestling tournament, and the Chinese food scandal being major topics in the news."
iPhone 1.1.4 unlock guide
A Mac-only guide describing how to jailbreak Apple's iPhone 1.1.4 and SIM unlock the device has surfaced alongside a graphical user interface port of the Debian APT package management system for iPhone. The new guide, posted on IntoMobile, takes users step by step through the process of jailbreaking -- or gaining filesystem read/write access -- the iPhone and unlocking it for use with wireless carriers other than Apple's exclusive partners.
Twitterrific 3.1 released
The Iconfactory has announced the release of Twitterrific 3.1, an update to the application that enables users to both read and publish posts or 'tweets' to the Twitter community website. The latest release hides the cursor after selecting a tweet, correctly sorts as well as summarizes Growl notifications, adds a preference to control the scrolling of tweets in the window, and includes new keyboard shortcuts. The update also no longer allows the reply shortcut on a direct message, and a new power user preference optionally displays @screenname rather than a full name. Twitterific 3.1 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later as well as a Twitter account.
Om '08 for Keynote
KeynotePro today released OM '08 for Keynote, a new theme for Apple's Keynote '08 presentation software with a new framework and new master slide options. OM '08 for Keynote features a bold new color/type variation, according to KeynotePro. "The OM themes have been completely overhauled for the transition to Keynote '08, producing a whole new generation of the OM themes that are even easier to use and customize than the original release, all at a fraction of the filesizes of the original." OM '08 for Keynote is available in Standard ($25) and Pro ($35) editions, or bundled with two other themes ($50 for Standard, $75 for Pro).
Apple's cash reserve
Apple's cash reserve of $18.5 billion could benefit shareholders in a big way moving forward, according to BusinessWeekcolumnist Arik Hesseldahl. The cash amounts to $21 for each share of company stock, and Hesseldahl believes Apple should return some of that money to shareholders in the form of a buyback. "The time to buy back Apple stock is now," he writes. Shares are 40 percent below a historic high, and Wall Street is focusing on concerns that Apple will suffer as the economy slumps.
IBM 8Tbps bandwidth
Researchers at IBM have developed a new type of wired connection, one which could enable massive amounts of local bandwidth. The company's "green optical link" merges optical chips and data buses into a single arrangement, and can theoretically deliver data at a colossal 8Tbps -- enough to stream approximately 5,000 HD videos simultaneously. More crucially, the power needed is the same as a 100W lightbulb, dozens of times less than what is needed for an equivalent electrical data connection.
Apple and Free iPhone Apps
In spite of fears that Apple may impose tight restrictions on third-party iPhone applications developed with its upcoming SDK, the company may loosen those restrictions for free programs, Electronista has learned. Connected to the same sources which reported early access for select developers -- sources which have since been confirmed as accurate -- the new contact claims that free applications are not subject to the same rules that will guide paid software downloads. In this model, free software is unlikely to be subject to much if any scrutiny by Apple.
Meizu M8 delayed?
The M8 by Meizu -- designed as a Chinese answer to the iPhone -- may be experiencing unexpected delays, accounts suggest. Although unconfirmed, posting in the official Meizu forums indicates that the M8 will not be at next week's CeBIT expo in Germany, despite Meizu itself being scheduled to appear. The phone may even be delayed until the second or third or quarter of this year, despite recent hints that shipment might be imminent.
Apple and Dell Blu-ray
Both Apple and Dell are planning to make significant inroads into Blu-ray over the coming months, according to both official and unofficial sources. Citing an unconfirmed source, AppleInsider claims that Apple has tapped Sony for slot-loading Blu-ray writers for its MacBook Pro systems. Development is said to have been progressing far enough that the drives may have appeared in the most recent update to the portables but were held back by quality issues with both the blue laser and slot-load mechanism, forcing Apple to postpone its plans. A combo drive, which could burn DVDs and CDs but only read Blu-ray discs, was reportedly offered to Apple but turned down.
Helio loses $326 million
MVNO carrier Helio has posted a net loss of $326 million for 2007, an official announcement reveals. Although the carrier's revenue grew to $171 million last year from $46 million in 2006, the company has also been facing mounting costs, such as an advertising budget that rose from $21.6 to $47.5 million. Recent losses are notably out of proportion to those from 2006, which were only $192 million.
Dell Latitudes go Penryn
Dell on Friday quietly updated its Latitude range to add Intel's 45 nanometer Penryn-era Core 2 Duo architecture as an option. The 14-inch D630 and 15.4-inch D830 can both be custom-fitted with the faster processors and have the choice of either a 2.5GHz or 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo on top of existing 65 nanometer chips. Both Penryn options offer the full 6MB of Level 2 cache reserved for the high-end chips as well as the improved battery life that comes with the smaller, cooler design.
Facebook for musicians
Facebook yesterday unveiled a section dedicated to musicians, designed to allow them to create profiles that demonstrate their music, videos, photos, and miscellaneous data. According to The Hollywood Reporter, artists can provide songs for streaming, a full discography, and sell tickets or merchandise, the latter of which is made available by Musictoday. Music that is posted in this manner also includes a link to allow users to buy tracks from the iTunes store.
SIRIUS XM Extend Deal
SIRIUS and XM today said they would extend their merger agreement, ensuring that the union of the two satellite radio providers remains on the table. The extension prevents an existing deal from ending in March and bars either company from voluntarily backing out of the proposed merger between the two networks until May 1st. Neither company has revealed whether it will remain committed to the merger if the new agreement expires before official approval from both the Department of Justice and the FCC.
Sprint dual-mode WiMAX
Sprint and Clearwire are still discussing their potential WiMAX network collaboration, according to Sprint's new CEO. Dan Hesse addressed the topic in the company's most recent earnings call, but would not elaborate on proposals from either side of the negotations. "We have had wide ranging discussions with Clearwire on potential relationships," explained Hesse, "but no final agreements have been reached."
New versions of Aliph's popular self-titled Bluetooth headset have been released, according to an announcement. By default, Jawbones are available in grill-shaped red, silver or black designs; celebrity designer Yves Behar, however, has helped fashion three new models, part of a "very" limited-edition run. The Sweet Talk Jawbone is gold-tinted, and has a small floral etching. The Trash Talk headset is white, and has a "censored" expletive on its side; the Dirty Talk model is all-black meanwhile, and is engraved with a woman's silhouette.
Freeloader for iPod, more
UK-based Solar Technology today unveiled the Freeloader 8.0, a portable solar charger with a built-in battery, designed for the iPod and several other electronic devices. The Freeloader comes in silver and pink, and features two small sold-away solar panels that can charge the internal battery within 5 hours, supplying up to 18 hours of power for the iPod. Solar Technology is selling the Freeloader 8.0 for £30 (~$60 USD); as of now, it is available only in the UK.
Touchscreen BBerry Patent
Plans for Research in Motion to develop a touchscreen BlackBerry have seemingly been confirmed, according to a new patent filing. Originally filed in mid-2006, the application presents a device which clearly includes the BlackBerry's signature trackball navigation but represents a major redesign of the interface: instead of relying solely on the trackball and building the keyboard into the front face, the new design tucks the keyboard into a sliding tray underneath, making room for a larger screen.
Live video at YouTube
Google's popular video hosting site, YouTube, will support live streaming by the end of 2008, according to one of the site's originators. Co-founder and chief technology officer Steve Chen disclosed the information at a recent party in New York City, insisting that "We'll do it this year." The news is significant in that despite the dominance of YouTube, it has been beaten to the availability of streaming by sites such as Ustream and Justin.tv. YouTube may thus need live technology to retain market control.
DreamWorks Free From HDDVD
The last major movie studio bound to HD DVD, DreamWorks SKG, has been officially released from its obligation to produce movies in the now obsolete HD format, according to a statement by the company. The Hollywood business had previously said it was locked into a contract to produce high-resolution movies only in the format but now reveals that it will cancel the vast majority of its scheduled HD DVD releases effective immediately. This includes imminent releases such as the CG animated title Bee Movie, which was due March 11th.
Apple hides Safari code
A Firefox developer who goes by the name Vladimir said on his blog that Mac OS X could potentially have code that enhance Safari's performance. In his blog, Vladimir says that while collecting feedback from Mac beta testers for Firefox 3, several have indicated that the new iteration seems to be anywhere from 50- to 500-percent slower than v2.x. After some troubleshooting, Vladimir reveals that the screen drawing synchronicity engine causes the issue.
Carbon-fiber iPhone case
Belch Co. has released its first case for the iPhone, what is also its first product for the modern generation of Apple products. The case is said to be the only one for the iPhone made out of aerospace-grade carbon fiber, giving it extra strength, while keeping its weight down to less than a third of an ounce. The inside is lined with neoprene, which prevents scraping and also acts as shock cushion.
Sony White PS3 in US Rumor
Sony may bring a second PS3 color to the US in a matter of weeks, claim employees tracking stock at Circuit City. In part as compensation for the end of the deal bundling copies of the movie Spiderman 3 with the 40GB black console, Sony has reportedly begun shipping PS3 units to the American retailer with the model name CECHH01 -- the same used by the 40GB white model originally launched in Japan and currently available anywhere else. The 40GB version is not expected to have a different software bundle and would sell for the same $399 as the current version.
Tight iPhone SDK control
Apple will announce tight regulation of iPhone applications at its March 6th SDK event, say several anonymous sources. Although the SDK has been hotly anticipated as a means of turning iPhones into handheld computers, Apple will for various reasons restrict how iPhone software operates and is distributed. Users will for instance have to acquire applications through the iTunes Store, instead of through independent websites, where it may sometimes be more convenient.
MS Drops Vista Price
Microsoft late yesterday said it would drop the price of retail copies of Windows Vista, timing the drop with the release of Service Pack 1 for the OS. The cuts will take effect worldwide and will be largest for the top-end Vista Ultimate edition, reducing the up-front price for a full copy from $399 to $319. An upgrade version for existing Windows owners will now cost $219, down from $259. Home Premium, the most common version of the software, will drop from $159 to $129 for an upgrade-only version of the OS.
O2 defends Irish iPhone
The Irish version of the iPhone remains a good deal, despite its cost, insists the head of O2 Ireland. The device will be unusually expensive in Ireland, costing €399 ($605) for the 8GB version or €499 ($757) for the 16GB one; the latter costs the equivalent of €430 in the UK, or €370 ($499) in the US. Subscribing to the cheapest possible 18-month contract, an Irish iPhone user will have to pay a minimum of €1,209. This will still only net 1GB of data per month, and 175 minutes of talk-time, without any access to Visual Voicemail.
AUO Cheap Touchscreens
Taiwan display specialist AU Optronics may have developed an inexpensive touchscreen technology that could drive down the price of the iPhone as well as other smartphones and similar devices, says a claim by the Economic Daily News. The paper points to AUO's partner firm Cando having developed a single-layer, integrated touchscreen display that costs about 40 percent less than what has been seen in the Apple phone. The panel has reportedly drawn interest from several current and prospective smartphone makers, such as HP, Motorola, Nokia, and even Dell. Apple may also look to replace its German-designed touchscreen with the lower-cost design, the report hints. AUO has not denied the invention but says that only the paper has made the claim.
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