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iPhone kybd loses out
The iPhone has captured a lot of attention with consumers due to its intuitive nature as well as the future SDK and enterprise functionality, but some users are stuck feeling that the keyboard could use some work. According to a study at Good Housekeeping, testers had little difficulty navigating the iPhone, but the keyboard proved to be trickier to use. Writer Amy Roberts notes that users had a tough time learning to type properly using the on-screen keyboard, versus handsets that featured a physical keyboard.
Apple, Sony settle lawsuit
Apple Japan and Sony have agreed to jointly pay about 1.3 million Yen (about $13,000) in damages to settle a lawsuit filed by a Japanese couple who argued that the husband had suffered burns after their Mac caught, according to Dow Jones. The couple sued and successfully recovered damages because the fire was caused by the Sony-made battery, according to judicial sources quoted by Japan-based Kyodo News Agency. According to the report, the three parties reached the settlement on April 2, but both Sony and the Japan unit of Apple declined to comment on the settlement.
DVI Video/Audio Extender
IOGEAR on Monday took the wraps off its DVI Video/Audio Extender Kit that enables digital signage professionals to distribute video and audio signals up to 100 feet away with a single cable. The kit consists of two DVI units, a local transmitter and a remote receiver, which users connect with a CAT 5e/6 Ethernet cable. Using DVI cords, the transmitting component links to the native source and the receiving extender hooks up to a DVI display. Designed for audio/video set-ups in remote, insecure locations, the device can broadcast audio and video material for different environments, including exhibits, trade shows, train stations and airports.
Rugged removable storage
Designed for mobile video markets, Maxell's Professional Media Products Division has introduced a light-weight, rugged and shock-resistant compact removable hard drive solution for field archive operations. Debuting at NAB in Las Vegas, the company calls it the first "Field Tough Media" solution of its kind. It leverages Maxell iVDR technology that connects directly through a bi-directional USB or eSATA adapter to a shoulder-mounted camcorder capable of delivering 10-bit, 4:2:2 master- quality video and native full HD video. In its current form factor, Maxell iVDR solution is capable of storing 160 GBof data and has a transfer rate of 540Mbps.
Kingston BlackBox drives
Kingston Technology today unveiled the DataTraveler BlackBox USB flash drive, a Federal Information Processing Standard-validated USB flash drive in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB sizes. The BlackBox carries FIPS 140-2 certified encryption, which requires the device to pass a Power On Self Test which verifies the encryption architecture is functioning. The DataTraveler BlackBox USB flash drives are currently shipping, starting at $165 and ranging to $425.
FirmTek on Monday announced the SeriTek/SpyderHUB, which provides USB and FireWire host connection options plus hardware RAID, eSATA Mac OS boot capability and FireWire daisy chaining capability in an ultra-small external design. The ultra small, four-ounce device offers the ability to connect to external hard drives using any eSATA enclosure such as the SeriTek/2EN2, allowing users to attach and boot from up to two eSATA hard drives at a remote location. Supporting both desktop and notebook computers, it allows professionals to utilize eSATA enclosures from computers that do not support a Serial ATA host adapter.
G-Tech revs storage at NAB
G-Technology on Monday added a new G-RAID Pro drive to its product line, increased the performance and quiet operation of its G-RAID drive, and added RAID 1 protection and eSATA connectivity to its G-RAID mini portable drive. The company's triple interface G-RAID Pro solution features FireWire 800, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connectivity and storage capacities up to 4TB to handle both the bandwidth and storage-intensive requirements of compressed HD formats. The on-board hardware RAID controller supports both RAID 0 and fail-safe RAID 5 operation with auto-rebuild functionality, and utilizes four hot-swappable 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s disk drive modules.
iTunes HD falls short
Apple has reached one of its goals announced at the Macworld Expo in January while missing another, with 100 high-definition Dolby Digital-enabled movies available in the iTunes store of a total library of 604 movie rental titles. iLounge writes that Apple had set a goal of 1000 rental titles by the end of February, but has since fallen short. Apple's main competition in the digital rental marketplace comes from Amazon's Unbox service, and Netflix, who offer thousands of titles.
Analyst Apple myths
Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research has published an article addressing the suitability of Apple products -- the Mac and iPhone in particular -- for business purposes. Noting that Most IT departments are not deploying Macintosh systems in large numbers and those that are are deploying are usually in niche spaces such as graphic arts, Gartenberg says that the Mac OS has changed significantly in the last few years and says that Apple's systems now offer a reasonable alternative for Windows systems used in businesses.
Hewlett Packard, with some assistance from DreamWorks, is announcing a new technology dubbed "HP DreamColor" that the company says will be a "disruptive" force in the market place. MacNN spoke with Jim Zafarana is Vice President, Worldwide Marketing for Hewlett-Packard Company's Workstation Global Business Unit and Jeff Wood, Director Product Marketing at HP about the new technology, which will purportedly pave the way for displays with accurate, predictable color reproduction at a fraction of the cost of similarly capable monitors and finally offer a transition route to flat-panel displays for graphic design firms (like DreamWorks) that have thus far been stuck with CRT displays.
iPhone beta saves images
iPhone developers testing the latest v1.2.0 beta firmware have found that future implementations of the iPhone OS allows users to press and hold their finger over an image in Safari to save it to their Photo Album. According to Gizmodo, the method works with all new versions of the v1.2.0 beta, and is ideal for saving friends photos from Facebook or a similar service, allowing the photo to serve as a background or other interface element.
Stan Flack passes
Stan Flack, a pioneer of the Mac journalism industry and the founder of MacCentral, has passd away at his home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, reports Macworld. Flack founded MacCentral in the mid-90s, and his site was later acquired by Mac Publishing LLC. Jim Dalrymple, who worked with Flack in the early day of MacCentral wrote: "Stan has been in the Mac industry since 1994 when MacCentral first went online as a weekly publication. Things were a lot different back then--the Internet as we know it was in its infancy--but Stan saw a way to make a successful business. We both worked at a local newspaper back then and often chatted about having our own business, being our own boss and ruling the world. To a large degree a lot of those goals were accomplished."
Psystar Mac clone
A company called Psystar claims it will soon deliver a $400 Mac clone, based around a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics. Stating that the machine will be compatible with Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), the company says it will pre-install the OS and include a special restoration disc, alongside the genuine installation disc. The legality of Psystar's operation is dubious, as Apple's Mac OS X license explicitly states that the software can only be installed and used on an Apple-labeled computer, specifically stating "You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so."
Sprint Connection Manager
The most common way to access the Internet with a laptop computer is through a Wi-Fi network. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi access isn't always available. If you can't find a free hotspot, the next best option is to use a wireless modem for accessing the Internet through a cellular network. Not only are cellular networks more readily accessible than Wi-Fi networks (especially when you're riding in a car, bus, or train), but cellular networks are still often fast enough for basic web browsing and e-mail access. With a cellular wireless modem (also called a mobile broadband device), a laptop, and a program like Sprint's Connection Manager software, you can access the Internet wherever you have cellular coverage.
Moto Q 9c Review
Motorola's Q line is finally receiving needed updates across the board, with attention now turning to CDMA carriers like Sprint and Telus through the launch of the Q 9c. The changes made turn the Q into a genuine (and cheaper) alternative to the BlackBerry line with an outstanding keyboard and a workhorse build quality, although some may find that phones above and below Motorola's newest Windows Mobile device are more cost-effective picks, especially for media playback. Read ahead for the full Moto Q 9c review.
Researchers fool WPS
The iPhone's WiFi positioning system can be fooled into providing false results, a report claims from researchers at ETH Zurich. According to TG Daily, researchers were able to circumvent the Skyhook-owned service in a "fairly simple manner". The technology traditionally relies on detected MAC addresses that relay information to the central server, and by spoofing a real access point, users can generate any number of false points, as well as jam up real ones.
New Hitachi LCDs, plasmas
Hitachi has announced a full nine new TVs for the Japanese market, under its Wooo branding. The core of these are the Wooo UT series of LCDs, coming in at 32, 37 and 42-inch sizes. While only the 37- and 40-inch sets support 1080p and Deep Color, all three have 120Hz refresh rates, and a 250GB hard drive. These sets should be out on June 7th, at prices of 270,000, 340,000 and 440,000 yen ($2,669, $3,362 and $4,350). Also out on that date will be the Wooo XVs, which are essentially identical to the UTs, but lack hard drives and in each circumstance are 100,000 yen cheaper.
LG Voyager for ATT Sprint
LG's Voyager touchscreen phone has been successful enough at Verizon that the Korean company is looking to introduce it at other major US carriers, says a new report from the Electronic Times. An unnamed LG official states that the handset's success has been 'surprisingly' strong with its exclusive offering at Verizon and that versions for both AT&T and Sprint will be available sometime this year. Over 1.1 million Voyagers have sold to date despite being limited to the second-largest carrier.
Typinator 3.0 released
Ergonis has released v3.0 of Typinator, its typing aid for Mac OS X. The software works within all Mac applications, and is used to quickly insert phrases or pictures into a document based on abbreviations, and/or correct spelling mistakes in English, French or German. The latest version marks a fundamental shift in how the software operates; it is now a "dockless" program, running only in the background, which means it does not take up space in the Dock or force users to skip it under the app switcher.
CTIA On White Space
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association today lent support to a movement for new wireless standards by asking that the US government officially license white space frequencies. The organization, which typically represents carriers, is opposing attempts by the Google-backed White Space Coalition to develop and used devices with the deliberately blank spectrum on grounds that the technology could create problems for existing services. By leaving little to no gap between one frequency band and another, new companies using the service could create interference on existing services or cut out space that could be used for background portions of established, licensed networks, the CTIA claims.
Toshiba delays SSD laptop
Toshiba on Monday announced the delay of its DynaBook SS RX1 notebook, the first with a 128GB solid state drive (SSD). The company's Japanese DynaBook site said the laptop, scheduled for release in mid-April with web sales commencing on March 25, has been pushed back to June on account of parts delays, and apologized to any customers already on the waiting list. If the parts shortage in question involve the SSD drives and can't be reconciled soon, Toshiba may not be the first manufacturer to sell 128GB SSD drives in laptops, as it previously claimed.
Forbes: Apple's strength
Despite popular perceptions, Apple's primary strengths are not in hardware but in software, according to Forbes. The business magazine notes that while the iPhone is an increasingly popular smartphone, and sales of Mac desktops and notebooks are eating further into PC marketshare, it is actually software which makes Apple products distinct. The company is unusual in that it designs both hardware and software, something that was most commonly done in the 1980s and prior; it has not, however, actually produced its own hardware for years, a strategy it abandoned in part because it sometimes had trouble matching production to demand.
Panasonic HMC150 HD Cam
Panasonic on Sunday revealed its newest AVCCAM professional camcorder, the AG-HMC150, at the NAB show in Vegas. The camera uses the industry's newest compression standard, AVCHD, to record video onto SD cards exclusively. Based on the standard-definition AG-DVX100, the HMC150 can record 1080 and 720 HD video at average speeds up to 21 Mbps. Four recording modes give users the flexibility to record up to 12 hours of 1440x1080-pixel HD video or three hours of 1920x1080 on a 32GB SD card. Resolution of 1280x720 can also be set, with the HMC150 supporting 1080/24p, 1080/60i and 720/60p HD formats.
Glofiish M750, M810
E-TEN announced details on two of its newest quad-band PC Pocket phones from its Glofiish line, the M750 and the near-identical M810. Both feature an integrated GPS receiver, while Wi-Fi and a keyboard allow for easy Internet access and browsing. Java support for Internet games and applications makes them E-TEN's first Pocket PCs to do so. The 810 differs mainly with an extra camera to allow for video calls (pictured) and adds UTMS and HSDPA to the 750's GPRS and EDGE connectivity options.
GridIron demos Flow at NAB
GridIron Software on Monday announced that GridIron Flow software is now undergoing beta testing with a select group of creative professionals and is being demonstrated this week on both Mac OS X and Windows at the NAB (booth SL6220). According to the company, Flow is billed as "a revolutionary new approach to workflow management for creative pros that dramatically simplifies the design process for print, web, film, and video projects." The software transparently tracks work from idea to end result and manages all assets and applications with any modifications to existing workflows. Expected to ship later this summer starting at $350, Flow automatically tracks projects allowing users to instantly see the relationships between all assets without changing the way you work.
RED at NAB 2008
RED today launched into the NAB pro video expo by debuting cameras at opposite ends of its signature RED One. The Scarlet is RED's first true handheld camera and incorporates a new, 2/3-inch version of the trademark Mysterium X sensor that still produces greater-than-1080p images. At 3K, the horizontal resolution is sharp enough to eclipse the best HD viewable on Blu-ray or other newer formats. While smaller than the Red Ray, it still offers an 8X zoom lens and shooting at up to 120 frames per second depending on the resolution; 180 FPS shots are available for short bursts.
ULP Bluetooth technology
An English company says it has demonstrated a new Bluetooth technology, one which could dramatically affect future implementations. CSR's Ultra-Low Power (ULP) Bluetooth hardware is claimed to be up to 50 times faster than what is currently available; rather than send out more data, however, a ULP chip merely consumes 1/50th the power in transfer, and 1/10th the amount in making the initial connection. It is also possible to implement ULP alongside Bluetooth 2.1 in a dual-mode radio.
Sony Bravia XBR8 Leak
Sony's XBR line of top-end Bravia HDTV sets will receive one of its most extensive updates when refreshed for the fall, says a leaked roadmap provided to BGR. In addition to an improved interface and support for DLNA media sharing as well as online program guides, all of which will appear in the unannounced XBR7, the top-end XBR8 will be the first Sony set to include LED backlighting. Nicknamed TRILUMINOS, the feature will dramatically improve contrast ratios by allowing the TV to selectively shut off the backlight in darker parts of a scene, creating much deeper blacks without affecting the rest of the picture.
Apple admits MacBook bugs
The latest Apple MacBooks are suffering from serious graphical issues, according to widespread reports. Both the basic MacBook and the MacBook Pro are said to be suffering from instances of visual corruption, in which text duplicates, documents fail to scroll completely, or animations and videos flicker; the last problem seems to primarily affect Flash or Quicktime clips viewed in a web browser. Critically, the issue appears to be independent of graphics hardware, given that basic MacBooks use integrated Intel chips while Pros use GeForce 8600M GT cards by NVIDIA.
eMusic Passes 200m
Web-based music service eMusic today celebrated a milestone with its 200 millionth song download. The figure was reached approximately four and a half years after the store's November 2003 launch of its MP3-based subscription service but is touted as having been accomplished without the help of most major labels, relying chiefly on independents for its content. By comparison, Apple is known to have sold more than four billion songs since launching iTunes in April of 2003.
USPS and Mac support
Mac owners may soon find themselves inconvenienced when trying to ship packages online, a note from the US Postal Service indicates. For some time the USPS has let people pay for shipping online through its web-based Click-N-Ship service, which eliminates the need to buy physical postage. The pay-without-postage service is being discontinued after May 12th however, which will force customers to use the USPS Shipping Assistant software if they want to avoid buying postage separately.
Verizon UL Smartphone Plan
Stepping up the already increased competition between US carriers, Verizon today became one of the first providers in the country after AT&T to offer an explicitly unlimited plan for smartphones. The simply-titled Wireless E-mail and Web for Smartphone plan lets users browse and check e-mail without restriction on devices that would normally be subject to data caps. The feature lets even home users use a smartphone as a hub for most of their Internet access, Verizon says.
MobileSTOR Plus storage
Sans Digital has introduced its newly designed MobileSTOR Plus direct-attached compact hard drive storage series, which includes the MS2U+ and MS2T+ two-bay subsystems. Designed for home and small office environments, the MobileSTOR Series MS2U+ / MS2T+ is an economical yet feature-rich two-bay external JBOD solution that provides the access to two hard drives instantly via USB 2.0 (MS2U+) or eSATA (MS2T+) interfaces; it is also equipped with two swappable 3.5-inch lockable hard drive trays that are also compatible with other Mobile series products.
Russian iTunes in April?
The iTunes Store may finally open to Russians later this month, a local publication claims. Billboard ads have been posted in multiple locations across Moscow, proclaiming "iSkoro 21.04.2008;" iSkoro translates to "iSoon," and the style of the ads are said to resemble Apple's iPhone packaging. In recent days similar websites are said to have been posted online as well, each proclaiming "iTunes Store Russia 21.04.2008." Crucially, imacintosh.ru lists its support e-mail as "email@example.com," and itunes-store.ru lists its contact as "firstname.lastname@example.org." The apple.ru domain actually belongs to Apple IMC, Russia's largest distributor of Apple products.
Canon PIXMA iP100
Canon today catered to a growing number of notebook users who need printing with a new PIXMA design. The iP100 prints color pictures up to letter size but is small and light enough to fit in a travel bag alongside a computer: Canon weighs the device at 4.4 pounds and calls it thin at 2.4 inches deep. The new PIXMA is also said to be relatively quick with up to 20 pages per minute in color or 14 in grayscale, and is sharper than most other travel printers at a 9600x2400 resolution.
Willcom and Sharp D4 UMPC
Sharp and Willcom together on Monday put out some of the first concrete details for an ultra-mobile PC based on Intel's Atom architecture. Known alternately as the Willcom D4 or the WS016SH at Sharp, the device is built to be small and light enough at just over one pound in weight but fast enough to run Windows Vista with a 1.33GHz Atom (capable of HyperThreading) and 1GB of memory; a unique tilt-slider design allows it to fit both a QWERTY keyboard and a direction pad alongside a 5-inch touchscreen sharp enough at 1024x600 to display a desktop operating system.
Apple, China Mobile gap
Apple and China's largest cellular company, China Mobile, have yet to begin formal negotiations over the iPhone in spite of mutual interests, say reports. The latter company's chairman, Wang Jianzhou, revealed the information at this weekend's Boao Forum conference, explaining that there is no current timeframe for a Chinese iPhone. He further states that while the companies may have had informal conversations in the past, disputes over business models have kept the two corporations from making progress.
Blockbuster Bids Circ City
Blockbuster today made a surprise, unsolicited bid for Circuit City. The offer would provide $6 per share and equate to $1 billion, or approximately 54 percent more than Circuit City's current value. The offer is meant to seize on the increasing unity between media and technology and would create a "game-changing retail concept," according to Blockbuster chief Jim Keyes. Circuit City has not yet formally responded to the offer but is said not to have offered the "due diligence" necessary to provide a full assessment of Circuit City's worth; doing so could boost the offer to $8 per share, or more than $1.3 billion.
HP xw8600 and xw9400
HP this morning has marked the launch of NAB with two systems targeted at AV editors or most anyone who depends on very high end performance. A new version of the xw8600 uses Intel's latest 3.2GHz quad-core Xeon to handle very processor-intensive tasks such as media encoding; up to two each can fit in a single system to make it the most individually powerful desktop at HP, the company says. Systems built on the new chip vary in price but lift the price by about $2,460 both through the faster design as well as the requirement of using 4GB of 800MHz memory.
Premiere adds Sony format
At NAB Adobe also announced native support for the Sony XDCAM EX camera format in its Premiere Pro CS3 video editing and production software. Premiere Pro delivers a file-based workflow without transcoding or rewrapping, providing a software-only, tapeless High Definition (HD) workflow--from capture to output. Adobe will demonstrating the Sony XDCAM EX editing workflow during The 2008 NAB conference at booth SL3220.
Adobe debuts CinemaDNG
At NAB in Las Vegas, Adobe on Monday launched a new effort for an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files, initiative to define an industry-wide open file format for digital cinema files to streamline workflows an ensure easy archiving and exchange. Built on the company's Digital Negative Specification (DNG) file format for photos, Adobe said it plans to work with a broad coalition of leading camera manufacturers, including Panavision, Silicon Imaging, Dalsa, Weisscam, and ARRI--along with software vendors, including Iridas and The Foundry, and codec provider CineForm--to define the requirements for an open, publicly documented file format that it plans to call CinemaDNG.
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