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SDK leaks iPhone plans
The next iteration of the iPhone is likely to use the Infineon S-Gold3H processor in its 3G incarnation, an examination of the latest SDK beta suggests. According to ZiPhone.org, code in the SDK beta implies that the next generation iPhone will see "3.5G" HSDPA functionality, with a connection speed of 7.2 Megabits per second, as well as several other advanced features. No official word has been given on the status of a "3.5G" iPhone.
LifeAgent 2.2 adds Flickr
Memeo today unveiled LifeAgent 2.2, a new version to its automated software backup solution, that introduces support for Flickr and .Mac iDisks. Using LifeAgent, users can automatically back up data to a network folder, external hard drive, removable media, the internet, and now Flicker and iDisk. By securing multiple backup locations, LifeAgent helps ensure that data will be safe in the event of an emergency. LifeAgent is available for $30 from Memeo's website.
iPhone video stream server
A London-based web technology firm has developed a server-based video streaming technology, capable of sending video feeds to factory-condition iPhones. Guardian.co.uk reports that the server technology – called Millicent by developer Best Before – would allow broadcasters to provide edited video feeds for the iPhone, and allegedly already has two UK broadcasters interested in what the architecture can offer.
JoeSoft has announces the availability of Hear, a sound enhancement program for the Mac. The developer says this add-on "greatly" improves audio quality in movies and music throughout all Mac OS X applications. It offers a wide array of settings, purportedly delivering intra-app sound that is richer and clearer with regard to dialog. "Hear is a great new program that makes everything sound better on your Mac. All your music will be vastly improved, your movies will surround you with rich sound and your games will now blow you away" says Greg Brewer, CEO of Prosoft. "Once you've listened to your music or movies with Hear, you will never want to be without Hear." Hear is priced at $50.
Apple today released a number of updates, including firmware updates for its MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro as well as firmware for its iMac. The Mac BookAir EFI Firmware Update 1.0, MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.2, and Mac Book Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5 fixes several issues to improve the stability of the notebook computers, while the iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.3 fixes several issues to improve the stability of iMac computers. Apple's Firmware Restoration CD 1.6, for its Macs, can restore the firmware of an Intel-based Macintosh computer and the company notes that restoring the firmware will reset some of the computer's preferences to defaults.
Apple popular with teens
Investment research firm Piper Jaffray today held a conference call regarding teenage spending habits and statistics, which brought to light several figures about Apple devices and services. Of the students surveyed, the report found that 87-percent owned an MP3 player, and of those, 86-percent are iPod owners. This also reflected in the students' choice of music store, with iTunes sitting at 79-percent. The advent of other iPod-compatible music stores eroded iTunes' share slightly from 89-percent.
SDK beta times out
Developers participating in the iPhone SDK beta are discovering that the device is "bricking" itself after the limited-time beta expires. TUAW readers point out that this shouldn't come as a surprise, since a note posted for developers says that the beta would indeed expire if not kept current. Another user notes that the next development firmware version has yet to be seeded to non-enterprise developers, while another still says that a call to the Apple Developer Connection revealed an updated SDK masquerading as an older one.
Blu-ray demand vs. supply
The supply of Blu-ray discs may be drastically inadequate for the actual demand this year, say analysts from Screen Digest. The group says that in 2008, it expects companies to want as many as 43 million discs -- three times last year's amount -- for purposes such as movies and data storage. It believes, however, that production capacity will only be able to reach 60 to 70 percent of that, at least until later in the year. Sony's DADC division is spending money on extra capacity, and hopes to produce 38 million discs per month by October.
Toshiba PS3-based video
For other electronics companies, Toshiba has begun shipping the SpursEngine TM SE1000, a video stream processor meant for use in various AV products; it encodes and decodes MPEG-2 and H.264 clips, in resolutions up to 1080p. It is notable however for being one of the first third-party products based on Sony's Cell Broadband Engine, the processor technology behind the PlayStation 3 gaming console. In its SpursEngine incarnation, the processor runs at 1.5GHz and consumes between 10 to 20W of power.
Kensington Ci70 with USB
Kensington has provided a spin on the routine for keyboards today by launching its Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports. In a still-rare break from most keyboard designs, the updated Ci70 adds two full USB ports for peripherals but places them at the top of the keyboard rather than at the back or sides, making it easier to load in a flash drive or some portable media players. A third mini USB port with cable also lets users with digital cameras quickly hook up to the computer without finding the appropriate cable or leaving clutter on the desk.
Mossberg 3G iPhone
Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg is claiming that his previous comments indicating that a 3G iPhone would debut in the "next 60 days" were based on the same, widely reported speculation to which other pundits have access, and that he has "no idea" when Apple will release the new device. Silicon Alley Insider reports that Mossberg said "If I knew when this date was, why would I announce it in the middle of a sentence at the Finnish embassy, rather than report it in the Wall Street Journal?" The veteran writer made the comment while discussing the limits of cellular broadband in the US, noting that third-generation access in the country is still slow compared to other areas of the world.
Philips Outsources HDTVs
Philips today revealed that it will stop its direct development HDTVs for North America. The Dutch firm now says it will outsource all of the work for both these sets and Magnavox models to Japan-based Funai. The company will handle both manufacturing sets as well as marketing them in the two western countries. The move is cited as necessary to turn around Philips' loss-taking HDTV business, which is successful in Asia and Europe but has struggled in the more competitive North American space through tight profit margins.
Yamaha says it is bringing a formerly Japanese-only digital instrument, the Tenori-on, to the United States. The instrument consists mainly of 256 LED buttons, which can be touched and swiped to create different patterns, in turn affecting how loaded sound samples are looped. By adding or deleting various layers of sound, a musician can theoretically play multiple parts of a song by himself, improvising on the fly.
Nokia Pays 314m
Nokia on Tuesday said it has agreed to pay a total of $314 million to compensate for its planned factory shutdown in Bochum, Germany. The deal will let Nokia shutter the reportedly unnecessary plant on its original June 30th timetable but help accommodate the 2,300 workers belonging to the plant. A transfer company will be set up to accommodate the workers and help them transition to new jobs.
ModeLabs Hummer HT2 phone
ModeLabs Group recently announced the release of its second Hummer-branded cell phone, the HT2. Unlike the HT1 predecessor, the HT2 is a quad-band phone and features dual SIM card slots and styling meant to mimic the range of the tough trucks built by General Motors it shares its name with. The phone's interface is via a traditional keypad and a 256,000 color TFT display sporting a 176x220-pixel resolution. The HT2 also comes with a 2-megapixel camera and an MP3 player, along with Bluetooth connectivity.
Apple's recent QuickTime 7.4.5 release includes exploit prevention mechanisms designed to block attacks from hackers, according to a recent report from eWeek. QuickTime for Windows Vista now features ASLR (address space layout randomization), technology that randomly arranges key data addresses to prevent developers of malware from predicting targets. ASLR is already used by Mac OS X Leopard to reduce the effectiveness of exploit attempts.
MS End-to-End Computing
Microsoft today suggested a major change to Internet technology that it claims could dramatically improve the security of users online. Nicknamed End-to-End Trust, the system would take the existing philosophy behind the company's existing Trustworthy Computing for PCs and extend it to the whole Internet. Devices, data, and software would incorporate a "trusted stack" of code that authenticates the user at every step of a transaction online.
microsoft mouse colors
Microsoft on Tuesday announced it will offer its popular Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 in five new colors. After looking at the colors on today's popular clothes, accessories and consumer electronics, Microsoft decided to offer the 3000 in Milk Chocolate (brown), Pomegranate (red), Crème Brûlée (khaki), Dragon Fruit (dark pink) and Aloe (green). The new colors are meant to keep the 3000 at the top of the sales charts in the US.
Slacker signs music labels
Slacker, the creator of its namesake Portable Radio Player, has announced a deal for the support of all four major record labels: Warner, Universal, EMI and Sony BMG. The Portable is an unusual "radio" device in that it does not stream live music, but rather syncs with the Slacker service via USB or Wi-Fi, and copies up to 40 "stations" for listening offline as well as on. As music plays listeners can rate their tracks, and ban ones they do not want to hear again.
Wal-Mart HD DVD refund
Bargain retailer Wal-Mart has joined the ranks of corporations attempting to appease buyers of HD DVD players, which are now obsolete and faced with an increasingly dwindling movie supply. The company is offering refunds to anyone who bought an HD DVD player on or following November 1st of last year, with or without original packaging. People must, however, return the player by April 30th, and bring with them their original receipt.
IOGEAR today launched the Portable Media Player, its unusual take on the concept of a media hub. Rather than design a networked but fixed device like the Apple TV or Monsoon Hava, the company's new system is meant to be picked up and carried on vacation or between meetings, measuring only slightly larger than its remote and supplying many of the navigation controls on the player itself.
Apple effects patents
The US Patent & Trademark Office has officially granted three new patents to Apple, two of which are connected to visual effects. The first, Methods and apparatuses for the automated display of visual effects, describes a means of generating real-time graphics on a data processing system. The patent does not list many specifics, but suggests that game developers may find it saves time. The patent was originally submitted in April of last year.
ASUS Eee PC 900 Celeron
ASUS is still set to ship the second-generation Eee PC without Intel's Atom processor at first, says a reported tip from retailers in the PC builder's home territory of Taiwan. The company's first new batch of micro notebooks is slated to launch with Celeron M processors similar to those in the existing Eee PC due to competitive reasons: with most Atom-based systems set to ship at the same time in June, ASUS' only true method of beating rival Acer and HP offerings was to ship using older technology, according to the claim.
Ipsos: Hard grip by iTunes
Research firm Ipsos has released a new study on the digital music industry, the results of which position Apple as the leader. Some 82 percent of American music downloaders are familiar with iTunes, versus a next-best figure of 76 percent for Napster. Some 38 percent of downloaders think of iTunes first when it comes to digital music, and while most major online outlets have had their name recognition increase during 2007, only iTunes showed a substantial growth in use past the first 30 days, up to 24 percent last year from 18 percent in 2006. Services such as Rhapsody and Walmart.com saw their 30-day-plus use decrease.
The latest digital music player from mobiBLU was announced on Tuesday. The Cube3 measures 1 by 1 by 1 inches, or 1 inch cubed, earning it the distinction of being the world's smallest digital audio player with a color display, just like the Cube2, its predecessor. The Cube3 can hold up to 2GB worth of MP3 or WMA audio as well as video and image files, including audio it can record live or from a built-in FM tuner. The Cube3 plays downloaded content as it's PlaysForSure certified and Podcast Ready.
Samsung this morning chose an unusual approach to cellphone roaming by introducing the D780. While it supplies the same dual SIM card slots as many cellphones for eastern Europe and Asia, the new model is the first candybar phone (following the D880 slider) to allow for two active calls on those cards: an owner can switch between calls without dropping either, much as they would on a landline business phone network. The change is pitched as essential for phone owners who need to keep business and home calls separate or those who regularly need another provider.
Nokia Tube Early Info
Nokia has given its touchscreen phone an early name and demonstration, the company has revealed at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference. The handset maker at the Redwood City-based event said its first touch device is internally known as the Tube and is said to be visually similar to the iPhone. However, the Finnish handset is already known to include features that its Apple competitor lacks, including the ability to directly upload videos as well as support for Java-based apps.
iPod game catalog update
Apple has made several changes to its catalog of iPod games on the iTunes Store (link). Zuma, a well-known puzzle title by PopCap, has been added to the list of games compatible with Nanos and Classics; several other games have had their section removed however, including Bejeweled, iQuiz, Lost, Mahjong, Mini Golf, Musika, Royal Solitaire and Vortex. iQuiz and Vortex are already installed by default on modern-generation Nanos and Classics.
Toshiba X205 Penryn
In addition to re-revealing its new Satellite designs, Toshiba on Tuesday updated its Satellite X205 gaming notebook to take advantage of newer hardware. The 17-inch desktop replacement now draws on at least a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo from Intel's Penryn era that offers both extra speed as well as better battery life. It also includes at least 320GB of storage split across two drives, each of which spin at 7,200RPM: the speed provides desktop-like load times without sacrificing space, according to Toshiba.
Keyboard Maestro 3.0 ships
Stairways Software has released the third edition of Keyboard Maestro, a utility meant to improve the convenience of Mac OS X by enabling macro shortcuts, which can be activated at any time. Users can control apps, open documents and run scripts, using either a keyboard or a mouse; it is further possible to specify at what times commands are executed, and run options remotely via a web server. The software also comes with custom program and window switching tools.
Final Cut Server Ships
Apple on Tuesday finally began shipping Final Cut Server, its media asset management tool for video production houses. The software announced last year automatically gathers media assets across a network to let editors work from a common pool of resources, including on Storage Area Networks (SANs). While intended for and working closely with Final Cut Studio, Mac and Windows clients let users search for content they can edit without having to depend on Apple's creative software. It can scale from just two users to the largest broadcasters, the company says.
Sony Blu-ray DVRs
Sony this morning showed increased confidence in Blu-ray by launching its new BDZ series of Blu-ray recorders. The A70 and top-end T90 both pick up unprotected HDTV feeds and use AVC (H.264) encoding to record shows for posterity to their respective 320GB and 500GB hard drives. The choice of format not only allows the devices to record videos directly to Blu-ray but also allows converting videos directly to portable-friendly formats: videos can be resized to fit on either a PSP or another H.264-capable player, such as Sony's own Walkman lineup or some NTT DoCoMo cellphones.
Windows 7 due 2010
Microsoft chief Bill Gates recently indicated that Windows 7 would see store shelves sometime in 2009, but today the company hurriedly retracted the statement, saying Gates was most likely referring to developer seeds. Microsoft restated that its intended release schedule for Windows 7 would be from three years of Vista's launch, placing it some time during 2010. During an interview, Gates allegedly said that Windows 7 would be released "sometime in the next year or so."
SpaceNavigator for laptops
3Dconnexion today unveiled the SpaceNavigator for Notebooks, a new addition to its 3D mouse product line, ideal for mobile 3D professionals. Weighing in at half the weight of its standard SpaceNavigator mouse – around 240 grams – the notebook model gives users a refined cap design to provide more immersive and natural interactions with 3D workspaces. The ruggedly designed SpaceNavigator for Noteooks is available for $130 at many online retailers.
Chinese aware of iPhone
Despite a lack of the of a localized version or solid confirmation of plans to do make one, a recent study indicates that 68-percent of all Chinese surveyed showed knowledge of the iPhone, but also discovered that it might not sell very well with its $500 price point. According to The iPod Observer, the price tag was the most frequently mentioned restriction that would prevent people from buying one, but information regarding how many felt this was not readily available.
Slightly ahead of a formal release, HP has revealed the Mini-Note, one of the few Western attempts at entering the field for micro notebooks. The previously leaked system aims to improve the formula started by the Eee PC by offering a genuinely comfortable keyboard: despite having just an 8.9-inch screen, the Mini-Note's keyboard is just 8 percent smaller than that of a full-sized notebook. The design is also more upscale than counterparts from ASUS or Everex and is built out of aluminum with a spill-resistant key layout.
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