Two top smartphones may finally be available on an official basis in Canada before the summer, according to separate reports. The Toronto Star cites industry contacts who tell the newspaper that the country's lone major GSM cell provider, Rogers, aims to launch the iPhone in time for it to be included in a campaign promoting touchscreen phones at the company, which will include the upcoming LG Vu and likely earlier devices such as the HTC Touch. The marketing effort will begin sometime between May and July and is allegedly supported by evidence that Apple and Rogers were nearing a finalized deal earlier this year for the latter to carry the iPhone.
Apple may be looking to license haptic technology from another company, as the industry looks to develop and incorporate more touch feedback technology into devices. Immersion Corporation, a patent-driven digital technology company, has reportedly hired a former Apple executive and has had talks this week to license the haptic technology for in Apple's iPhone. On Thursday, Immersion Corporation announced that it had appointed former Apple executive Clent Richardson to the position of President and CEO and a new report claims that Apple this week began talking to Immersion about a potential licensing agreement for its technology. [corrected]
dvGarage this week released dpMatte 2.1, a greenscreen keyer for Apple's Aperture 2.1 photography solution. Based on technology used in dvGarage's existing keyer, the new background replacement tool is the first plug-in to be released using Apertureís new SDK. It uses Apple's SDK for Aperture, which allows developers to use existing Cocoatools to develop full-featured applications inside of Aperture's existing framework; it is designed to easily remove green and blue backgrounds used in film and still photography in order to composite subjects into new backgrounds. Still photographers use the same kind of technology to add backdrops rather than commit to a specific backdrop while shooting. With dpMatte, users can select backgrounds that range from simple colors to photographs to complex 3D backgrounds.
Parliant is now offering professionally recorded messages for all of its Mac telephony products for small businesses, homes, and home offices. Direct from Parliant's web site, users can enter their message(s), receive a quote, approve the order and then download your recordings 2 days later, professionally produced in an optimal format for PhoneValet and PhoneHerald. Users can then simply import the files into the mailboxes. Over 30 professional voice talents are offered, in a wide range of languages and dialects. Samples of each voice are available (requires Flash) and options for file name as well as file type are available. Users are asked to select which Parliant product the voice should be designed for; sample pricing for "Joan" (17 word count) was $58.
Qdea on Saturday released Synchronize! Pro X 6.0, a major upgrade to its Mac OS X system backup and file synchronization utility. Version 6.0 brings three new features: "Fast scan", which uses FSEvents technology in Leopard to dramatically speed up the time it takes to update a backup. According to the company, the folder scan time for a typical update to a "Bootable System Backup" of Leopard is under a minute, compared to over 10 minutes without "Fast scan". The update also brings "Folder Watch", which tracks changes to the contents of a folder to trigger a backup. Two different folders on directly-mounted disks (does not work with remote disks) can be monitored, and a backup or synchronization can be started when changes occur to the contents of the folders.
SintraWorks has released PDFClerk Pro 3.0, a PDF creation tool that allows users to manipulate existing PDF documents, as well as create PDF documents. Leveraging the system defaults, users can quickly create new PDF documents with both basic and more advanced layouts and easily print booklets, while flexible and advanced options offers sophisticated layouts options and page markup options, including joining of PDFs, rearrangement/rotation, addition/deletion of pages, and the addition of hyperlinks, watermarks, and headers/footers. Version 3.0 offers outlines (a.k.a. Boomarks), giving users the ability to create and edit outline items manually or automatically. In addition, PDF annotations (dynamic annotations) allow markup and collaboration on documents as well as creation and editing of PDF forms dynamic forms.
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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