In brief: Bookendz Docking Station review posted, Apple 12th in Web traffic, Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco announces Keynote Lineup, Cocktail discounts, prizes offered, and WWDC Scholarships for Australian University Staff and Students ... We have posted a review of the Bookendz Docking Station for 13" MacBook, which replicates all the ports on your MacBook and adds a hub for the USB devices, which gives you five USB 2.0 ports. The hub has its own power supply to add power to the extra USB ports and a green LED on the top of the dock indicates the power is working properly. You do not have to use the power supply, if your peripherals do not require power.
Despite a lack of official word from Apple in terms of a "Comes with Music"-style unlimited iTunes download plan, the concept is drawing heavy criticism, especially from eMusic CEO David Pakman. Many in the industry are trying to predict Apple's moves before any official announcement [1|2], and Pakman claims that a potential unlimited plan would rank Apple alongside Microsoft in terms of monopolistic behavior, due to the company's market dominance with the venerable iPod, according to Wired.
Palm had the single strongest quarter ever of phone sales in its company history, the company said on Thursday afternoon. Over 833,000 phones were sold by the California designer in its February quarter, which represented a full 13 percent boost over the same period a year before. The company attributed this primarily to the success of the Centro, which launched with Sprint late last year as well as AT&T in February and is widely believed to have brought in more users with a lower $99 price and a more home-oriented focus than the more professional but struggling Treo line.
Google today updated its collection of data APIs, adding source code for YouTube and Google Contacts, and further said the entire API set will properly compile in the iPhone SDK. The YouTube API allows any video-capable program to upload content to the service, with the accompanying tags and posting information. Similarily, the Google Contacts API allows users to embed Google Contacts functionality directly into applications that could make use of such information.
Having recently released the similar Nova P22, ASUS has announced the Nova Lite Mini 2L, an even more compact all-in-one desktop series. The systems shrink in size partly by switching to mobile Intel processors, instead of using desktop-level CPUs, like the P22. The PX22 and 24 variants of the 2L use 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as opposed to n, and the PX20 goes farther, omitting Wi-Fi entirely. The systems do however all have DVD Super Multi drives, and are equipped with a minimum 80GB hard disk. The PX24 doubles capacity to 160GB.
The Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of producing the approval for the long-delayed merger between Sirius and XM, says analyst Blair Levin of the financial group Stifel Nicolaus. Levin cites "rumblings" within the FCC which point to the US government body already in the midst of writing an approval for the union of the two satellite radio providers. No clues are given as to the proximity of a deal or whether there will be conditions attached, though Levin warns that a combined company may be required to lease access to other companies to avoid monopoly concerns.
The existence of some previously-rumored Motorola phones has been verified, sources out of Taiwan say. A video released to YouTube recently depicted several phones not already out at the time, leading to widespread speculation; among these was a phone with some form of Kodak technology, likely its anticipated five-megapixel camera. That camera is now said to be a part of a phone called the ZN5, due out in Taiwan during the second half of 2008, and likely earlier in the West due to Motorola's US base.
Verizon was the winner of the nationwide license for the crucial 700MHz wireless auction as well as most regional licenses, the FCC has revealed. An initial list of winners shows the telecoms giant to have successfully won both the national license as well as 11 out of 12 of the local licenses available for the "C" block that is likely to be used for wireless data. The licenses supply the company with coverage across all of the US and would allow it to launch any future service with few gaps in its network. Only AT&T Mobility has managed to win a major regional "C" block bid for coverage in the Mississippi Valley, according to government documents.
Faber Acoustical has released version 3 of its SignalSuite audio test signal software. This upgrade gives SignalSuite new features similar to those found in the recently released SignalScope Pro, including advanced audio device configuration, project files, and Audio Unit plug-in support. The AUAudioFilePlayer plug-in, included with Mac OS X, enables SignalSuite to play back signals stored in audio files. Portions of the audio file may be selected and looped for playback. Plug-in support also allows end users or third parties to develop additional signal types to expand SignalSuite's capabilities.
Apple today unveiled Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 2.0 for Aperture 2 and iPhoto 7.1.2, which patches a security hole, and adds many RAW formats from several different vendors. The patch fixes a problem wherein Adobe Digital Negative files could trigger a buffer overflow condition, which could allow users to craft malicious image files with the intent of decreasing system stability, or taking control of a computer.
Hewlett-Packard has broken from its usual emphasis on the US by introducing a new Pavilion notebook model first in Asia. The dv3000 series is the first modern home portable from HP to ship with a 13.3-inch screen and takes up a smaller footprint than the dv2000 as a result. The change also brings a new external SATA and USB hybrid port that offers expansion for fast external hard drives without compromising on size.
The latest effort at blocking unofficial copying of Blu-ray movies has been undone, the developers of a cracking utility claim. AnyDVD 22.214.171.124 adds the ability to bypass BD+ encoding, used on a number of discs to prevent either direct copying, or ripping to a hard drive. This change is said to particularly affect releases from 20th Century Fox, who have led the adoption of BD+, while other companies continue with variants of AACS. AnyDVD is now also better compatible with regular DVDs using Arccos protection.
AMD is developing a third group of video cards based on its Radeon HD 3800 series, claim sources for the Chinese site HKEPC. The debut card will be the 3830, based on the company's RV670 architecture, and modeled after the company's existing 3850 and 3870 cards. Like the 3850, the 3830 is said to have 320 unified shader processors, and 256MB of onboard RAM; it uses a 128-bit bus instead of the standard 256-bit one however, significantly impacting performance and placing the card on the lowest rung of AMD's high-end offerings.
Apple's Windows version of its Software Update application is now asking users to install Safari 3.1, regardless of whether users actually have Safari installed on their computers. While Software Update comes with all Macs to manage updates, bug fixes, and security patches, the Windows equivalent is installed by Apple applications such as iTunes or QuickTime. Apple could be using Software Update to give the PC version of Safari a push start.
Amazon today took the unusual step of posting an open letter apologizing for the extended shortages of its Kindle e-book reader, also explaining the reasons behind the shortfall. Company chief Jeff Bezos notes that the e-paper device has essentially been sold out since just hours after its November launch due demand constantly outpacing production. The company has been repeatedly increasing its ability to make more of the 6-inch e-paper device but has never fast enough to catch up with increased demand, the Amazon head claims.
Alongside projection technology, another Apple invention revealed today by the US Patent and Trademark Office centers on the concept of wireless pairing. The patent notes that while many wireless devices -- namely those equipped with Bluetooth, like the iPhone -- require manual pairing to avoid interfering with others, the process itself can be somewhat cumbersome. This involves entering a PIN code, which must first be discovered in a manual, and then entered on an interface which is not always easy to use.
Sprint intends to be one of the first carriers in the US to offer a truly unified cellular network based on the same structure as the Internet, the company's core technology VP Ben Vos said at a conference today. The provider hopes to break from the conventional use of old and new technologies at different stages of the network and will use an IP (Internet Protocol) network for its entire backbone as well as its multimedia systems. The switch will let all of Sprint's devices share a common platform and let them talk to each other the same way: programmers could write a program that works properly on Sprint's upcoming Xohm WiMAX network that behaves the same way on its CDMA or iDEN phone networks, Vos said.
German developer Ruotger Skupin today unveiled Chipmunk 1.0, an application designed to find, compare, and delete exact duplicate files. The application performs a byte-by-byte comparison of the suspected duplicates to verify whether it is a true duplicate. Skupin claims that Chipmunk is quickly able to process hundreds of megabytes worth of information quickly. Chipmunk is currently available at an Easter discount of $20, and is normally $25.
In an unusual turn, Apple has patented a technology for simulated 3D projection, filings from the US Patent and Trademark Office show. Originally submitted in September of 2006, the patent revolves around a screen with an "angularly-responsive" reflective surface, working in tandem with a projector and a secondary device, described as a "3D imager." This component is key, as it is used to gauge the position of observers relative to the screen. As a person shifts their perspective, the system reacts, presenting separate images for left and right eyes.
Dell's Latitude E-series overhaul is now due for June and will represent a sweeping change to its lineup, according to a roadmap leak supplied by Engadget. The new-look systems will ship immediately alongside the launch of Intel's Centrino 2 and use the faster, cooler processors of the platform to slim down the design compared to existing models. Previous leaks have also pointed to a brushed-metal surface and a better hinge similar to that from the XPS line.
After some delay, Alltel this morning began shipping the Samsung Muse, a new mid-range music phone for the carrier's lineup. The phone is a more advanced take on the Verizon Gleam and adds touch music controls to the outside of the clamshell, letting users quickly skip or pause tracks. A dedicated music button also allows the phone to hop from any menu to its music player software. A 2-megapixel camera and assisted GPS also round out its core features.
Apple ownership is up among students at the University of Virginia, with 25-percent of freshmen owning a Mac, up from 20-percent in the year prior, according to a computer ownership study performed last fall. These figures show a steep acceptance curve, as ownership was around 4-percent only five years ago, according to The Chronicle. The research indicates that, out of all students polled, 99-percent said they own a laptop, and 0.1-percent admit to not owning a computer at all.
LG's Korean label CYON (high-bandwidth site) today pointed to what it believes is the future of phones with the release of the LH2300. While almost entirely dominated by its touchscreen like some newer LG phones, the new device is rare for including a wide VGA (800x480) 3-inch display sharp enough for DVD-level playback and for viewing websites at a resolution far closer to their native display. The 3G phone will also have quicker access to its web features with a key that jumps to the browser and a jogwheel for rapidly scrolling through pages without a complex onscreen interface.
The iPhone will launch in Singapore in September, according to unconfirmed reports. Local broadcaster Channel News Asia claims that a deal has been signed with Singapore Telecommunications, also known as SingTel; while Channel News cites industry sources, SingTel has declined to comment, and Apple has not made any announcements. Such a deal could make Singapore the first country in Asia to carry the iPhone, ahead of more prominent targets such as Japan, Thailand or even China. Singapore is a city-state, with approximately 4.6 million inhabitants.
Information about HTC's first phone based on Google's Android has slipped out, says a source reportedly familiar with the details. Confirming an earlier nickname, the device will be known as the HTC Dream and will have a large touchscreen but also a QWERTY keypad hidden underneath; accordingly, the phone will be large at five inches long and three inches wide. Just enough controls will sit underneath the screen to offer extra Internet navigation features.
Talk of unlimited subscriptions at the iTunes Store is largely unfounded, a new report claims. Yesterday, the Financial Times suggested that Apple has been shopping around the concept of a premium on iPods and iPhones, which would grant users unlimited access to iTunes music; in turn, revenue would be distributed appropriately amongst record labels. Apple is further said to be angling for a $20 premium, while a record label executive has said the amount could go as high as $100, based on research of public opinion.
Intel will sell its Classmate PC notebook in its home territory of the US as well as in Europe, the company said Thursday. While the PC was designed for developing-world countries where cost and a toughened design are necessary, a refreshed version of the Classmate will be available in the more developed areas within weeks from today. Other companies are expected to follow with designs of their own, though whether this includes known "netbook" designs such as the ECS G10IL or the Eee PC 900 is unknown.
An impending update to the PlayStation 3 will make it one of the first Blu-Ray Profile 2.0 players, Sony said this morning. The version 2.2 firmware update for the game console will add the Internet features inherent to the new profile (known also as BD-LIVE) that are expected to come with newer movies: future titles will allow users to download new content or play games online, Sony says. The update is possible as the PS3 is the only Blu-ray movie player to have included Internet access on its own, with most Profile 2.0 dedicated players shipping only later in the year.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe