Apple has premiered two more TV ads in its "Get a Mac" series, pitting Apple computers against those with Windows. The first of these, "Pep Rally," features a squad of cheerleaders, and positions Macs as having "record sales," and being the most popular computers on college campuses. The second ad is entitled "Group," and continues the arc of Windows Vista suffering from instability issues, whereas Macs are positioned as reliable and less crash-prone. Update: Apple has posted yet another ad titled "Sad Song," in which PC, dressed as a cowboy, laments the loss of users by singing the Vista Blues: "So many users are leaving me and ain't coming back: Vista's got issues...they're leaving me for Mac."
As Apple prepares its iPhone 2.0 platform, Microsoft is reportedly anticipating control of 40-percent of the smartphone market by 2012, according to a representative within the company. PC World writes that the endeavor will be trying, considering the company currently sits at 13-percent share, with Symbian taking first place at 67-percent, and BlackBerry devices at 10-percent. The upcoming, highly-anticipated Google Android OS is also a large unknown factor against the claim.
With the highly anticipated 3G iPhone release expected next month, a test from ComputerWorld shows AT&T's 3G data network is faster than Sprint's and Verizon's. The magazine test, published on Tuesday, summarized the 3G data networks from each cellular network provider that currently offers the high-speed data service in the US, which can be up to three times faster than the EDGE network. The author used a Lenovo ThinkPad X300 and outfitted it with a cellular data network cards from AT&T (LaptopConnect), Sprint (Mobile Broadband) and Verizon (BroadBandAccess). Each was timed for establishing a connection, peak and average download speeds, average upload speeds, the time required to load each vendor's web page and the effect each had on the X300's battery life. All testing took place in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Unfortunately, T-Mobile's 3G network could not yet be included in the test.
Algoriddim on Tuesday unveiled Djay 2.1, a major update to the company's digital turntable software that adds compatibility with Apple's multi-touch trackpads on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Djay uses different sets of finger gestures to control the interface, allowing users to scratch tracks, apply effects, and crossfade between the two virtual tables. Algoriddim is selling Djay 2.1 from its website for $50, and is available now.
Microsoft may be readying a new slimmer version of its popular Xbox 360 gaming console. According to a report, Microsoft is bringing a skinnier, faster and less-costly Xbox 360 to market by the fall of 2009. In its quest to make the console quieter, cooler and faster, Microsoft has already begun updating its components, with an interim update due by this August. If true, the thorough redesign would likely involve an "all-in-one" Valhalla chip and manufacturing of the necessary components would begin early next year, the report said. The updated machine would not only be slimmer, but may be also re-branded with a newer, unique name.
At noon on Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled updates for both Office 2004 and 2008 for Mac, bringing with them many enhancements and optimizations. The Office 2008 update includes fixes for all of the included applications in the suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage – such as enhanced printing or display options. Formatting, responsiveness, and compatibility with Microsoft Exchange Servers is also improved. The update is available directly from Microsoft, or through Microsoft Auto Update.
On Monday, Swedish designer and manufacturer of digital media accessories, Jays, announced the release of its m-Jays Music Adapter to allow its earphone range to be used with Apple's iPhone. The 3.5mm mini-plug is skinny enough to allow connection to the iPhone's recessed headphone port at one end, and any standard set of headphones with a similar jack on the other. Both are gold-plated.
Activist investor Carl Icahn may use his clout to instigate a proxy battle that pushes Yahoo towards accepting a Microsoft takeover, CNBC says. Those talking to Icahn allegedly say he will push for the nomination of three or four candidates to Yahoo's board of directors that would favor a Microsoft buyout, giving just enough influence on the ten-person board to have it vote in favor of the acquisition that it has resisted in the past. Dissatisfaction with Yahoo's rejection of Microsoft offers could make this simple, the sources explain.
Microsoft is selling copies of Office 2008 for Mac to the order of three times the rate of the former 2004 version, a trend which it hopes to continue once Visual Basic functionality is restored in a future version. CNET reports that while Microsoft will not share exact sales numbers, it says that they are the highest in the unit's 19-year history. Microsoft gave partial credit to Apple for the milestone, saying that increased Mac sales are "one of the components that is helping us."
Emmis Communications has announced a new affiliate deal signed with Apple, under which its Interactive division's Storefront technology will be tied to the iTunes Store, and in turn sold to other companies. Storefront lets radio stations -- mainly those owned by Emmis -- create custom online shops, particularly for the purpose of selling tracks as they are played live on air. The company claims that many alternatives only direct listeners to separate sites, instead of letting them pull music straight into local software.
Despite its reputation as a web-focused device, the iPhone is still clearly in the minority on the web, according to a tracking study by advertising startup AdMob. Using April ad requests as a means of gauging phone web use, the company finds that the iPhone accounted for just 1.1 percent of cellphone traffic in the US and 0.8 percent worldwide. Both results are dominated by Motorola and Research in Motion phones, with the four-year-old RAZR V3 leading the ranks at 5.3 percent worldwide and 9.1 in its home country; the BlackBerry Pearl (2.6 percent and 5.1 percent) and BlackBerry Curve (1.5 percent and 2.9 percent) were fourth and fifth, the study notes.
Quark is preparing a new version of QuarkXPress for this August, and is deliberately looking to one-up Adobe's Creative Suite, according to inside sources for AppleInsider. QuarkXPress 8 is, for instance, expected not only to take advantage of InDesign's continuing instability under Mac OS X Leopard, but to expand support for Illustrator and Photoshop files, and implement standardized Bézier pen tools that may reduce any need for Illustrator in publishing.
LG on Tuesday announced its LG-HB620T flip phone, which is capable of delivering streaming TV to users thanks to its Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) support. Thus far, only select countries in the European Union widely stream DVB-H content, which has become the European mobile TV standard.
Garage Games' Instant Action portal should soon open to Mac gamers, according to the company. Instant Action is a web-based gaming service, but one which concentrates less on casual puzzlers, and more on the action games PC and console users are familiar with. Titles use a modern 3D engine, and include games like Marble Blast Online and the futuristic sports game Rokkitball.
MSI today has firmed up specs for its Wind mini-notebook, including its launch timeframe. The 10-inch system will closely follow ASUS' practices with the Eee PC and ship in both a low-cost Linux version (based on Novell's distribution) as well as a more expensive Windows XP edition. The basic Wind will ship with just 512MB of RAM and a three-cell battery good for 2.5 hours of battery life; in exchange for the higher price and demands of the Windows portable, the premium model will come with 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth, and a six-cell battery that runs for 5.5 hours.
Sony on mid-Tuesday launched a spring update to its Xplod CD head-end units. Both the high-end GT920U and its lower-cost GT620U alternative are designed as much for purely digital media in mind and include both a USB port at the front and a navigation interface dubbed Quick BrowZer. The new interface lets users quickly browse unprotected AAC, MP3, and WMA songs by playlists rather than a raw file view. The two decks also recognize these same formats burned to CDs, Sony adds.
Texas Instruments' DLP Products announced on Tuesday it produced the first Wide UXGA DLP chip for data projectors. The chip offers a 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution, resulting in a 16:10 aspect ratio. Norway-based Projectiondesign will be the first to utilize the WUXGA chip in its Professional-series F10 line and flagship F30 range, either of which is capable of 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, among others. The DLP chip, called .95, allows two full pages of text to be viewed side-by-side and matches the native resolution of many normal computer displays.
onOne Software this week announced Essentials 2 software for iPhoto, a collection of four easy-to-use software tools to help correct color, creatively blur a photo for dramatic visual impact, add creative borders and resize digital images for high quality large prints. The software tools, the company says, are based on technology used in the professional level onOne Software Photoshop plug-ins PhotoTune 2.2, FocalPoint 1.0, PhotoFrame 3.1 and Genuine Fractals 5. The Essentials 2 for iPhoto software suite provides users of the popular iPhoto image editing and organizing software with four important plug-in solutions to solve common digital imaging problems.
Swedish telecom company Ericsson is collaborating with Dell, in a bid to put HSPA modems into the latter's notebooks, the companies have announced. HSPA is one of the most widely-used forms of 3G cellular broadband, and typically supports download speeds of up to 3.6 or 7.2Mbps; in the United States, AT&T runs a national 3.6Mbps network, and T-Mobile is expected to offer a rival service of some sort later this year. In buying a notebook with HSPA built in, users can connect to the Internet without using Wi-Fi or an add-on external modem.
The creator of the BlackBerry, Research in Motion, has announced plans for its first-ever BlackBerry Developer Conference, scheduled for two-and-a-half days in Santa Clara, California, beginning on October 20th. The event will have a variety of sessions, discussions, workshops and exhibits, and is meant to encourage the development of both native and web-based applications for RIM phones. Topics will include Java, AJAX, streaming video and many other technologies.
The first Mobile Internet Device based on Intel's new Atom architecture has been put up for pre-order today and reveals the feature set of the device itself and others to come. A listing by electronics shop Tegatech Australia reveals that the GigaByte M528 will be based on Intel's base 800MHz Atom chip and is being targeted at mobile data users: the QWERTY keyboard slider design will have both Wi-Fi and a 3G cellular module, and will have similarly have both back and front video cameras for snapping photos and making video calls.
QuickerTek has introduced an extended battery upgrade for Apple's MacBook Air, which it says offes six to ten hours of additional battery power -- for a total of 12-16 hours of battery life when used in conjunction with the (charged) internal battery. "Since the MacBook Air has a non-removeable battery, the typical user strategy of using multiple batteries is not possible. QuickerTek had already developed battery charging technology for MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, but those solutions did not charge AND power the computer at the same time. QuickerTek's MacBook Air External Battery powers and charges the internal battery while in use."
Canon on Tuesday refreshed its photo printers with two additions to the SELPHY line. Just recently launched in Europe, the CP770 is designed to look accessible with a basket-like shape and a handle for owners to tote the printer around and make prints on vacations. A battery pack is available to run the printer for "hours," Canon says. The printer itself builds in a 2.5-inch preview LCD and outputs 300DPI, 4-by-6 inch prints in 52 seconds.
Two new job openings at Apple may point to technological trends at the company. Recruiters are firstly searching for a senior module process engineer, who would be hired full-time in Apple's home city of Cupertino. There they would be responsible for leading engineering efforts on multi-touch displays, from conceptualization to product formation. Candidates are expected to have a PhD in Physics or Mechanical Engineering and three years of experience, or an MS degree with five years of experience.
Group Logic on Tuesday released ExtremeZ-IP 5.2, which extends support for the latest Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard capabilities, including Time Machine backups. This release also combines the functionality of company's leading ExtremeZ-IP File and Print Servers into a single solution, allowing all customers to leverage the ExtremeZ-IP Zidget that enables easy service discovery and setup without using the legacy AppleTalk protocol. Group Logic says that ExtremeZ-IP is "the only" Windows solution to deliver complete support for the Mac file and print sharing and that it is now also the only solution to enable Windows servers to be used for Time Machine backups.
equinux has released The Tube 2.7, a free update to its Mac TV software that adds live-streaming of content via iChat. Users now can share the show they're currently watching with others via iChat, tell friends about their TubeToGo web gallery and subscribe to a podcast of their latest recordings, e.g. on the Apple TV in the living room. The Tube, described as a modern TV solution that brings digital TV to the Mac, timeshifting features (pause, rewind, etc.) as well as information about the show via the electronic program guide (EPG). In addition, the integrated TubeToGo web service, free-of-charge, allows users to publish recordings in a web gallery and watch them via mobileSafari on an iPhone or iPod touch whilst on the go; users can also remotely manage and schedule recordings.
The first early details have surfaced regarding Research in Motion's first touchscreen device and position it as a direct answer to the iPhone, according to a rumor launched by BGR. Tentatively labeled as the BlackBerry Thunder for the public and the 9500 with its model number, the device bucks earlier expectations by dropping any signs of a physical keyboard in place of an almost entirely touch-driven interface. Only the call, answer, BlackBerry, and escape keys survive the transition, according to the claim.
BeamYourScreen has announced that its self-titled HTML viewer is now officially compatible with the iPhone. The viewer is meant for web conferences; once a meeting host has begun a session from a PC, iPhone owners can enter their session ID through Safari, and view the host's desktop in real-time. This includes virtually anything the host loads, such as websites, PDF files and Office documents. Up to 20 guests are supported.
Liquid Ledger 2.3 ($60) is a free update to the personal finance software for Mac OS X. The new release introduces the ability to backup documents to .Mac, offers a number of user interface improvements, and it corrects several critical bugs. Existing customers can download the update for free while version 1 customers can upgrade for $30 and new customers can download a free 60-day trial version. [Download - 4.7MB] Clipotheque 1.0 is an online multimedia manager that stores and sorts links to almost anything you want - YouTube clips, embedded QuickTime movies, local PDFs, image files, HTML files, etc. "You can resize a window to any size you want - from the tiny windows shown above to full screen.... You can also stress test your browser by opening all your clips, images, HTML pages, whatever in tabs in the same window all at once. It's fast - and it's cool."[Download - 1.63MB] PageSender 4.3 ($40) updates the fax software for Mac OS X. The update adds menu items to clear the Recent Faxes and Recent Email lists, as well as other improvements and bug fixes. The software can send faxes and (PDF) emails directly from the print dialog, receive faxes using your fax modem, filter spam faxes by station name, design custom fax cover pages, and send faxes easily via eFax, jConnect, EasyLink, MaxEmail or RapidFax services. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and upgrades are $20. [Download - 7MB] Dejal Simon 2.4 ($30) is a new version of the site monitoring tool for Mac OS X. It checks web pages, FTP and DNS servers, local or remote ports or volumes, and other services for changes or failures, and notifies you via e-mail, sound, speech, Twitter, or HTML reports. Version 2.4 offers a new iCal and Google Calendar notifier, new Twitter service and notifier, new flexible Port notifier, plus several other services and notifiers including SNMP Status, Port Available, APC Masterswitch, and more. It also includes an iPhone report template, to see Simon statuses on an iPhone. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 11MB] Together 2.1 ($40) a file organization application for storing, previewing, editing and searching files. Version 2.1 brings .Mac sync, Favorites and Quick Look previews for its Shelf, saving web pages as PDFs and AppleScript support, plus improvements for Smart Groups, tagging, Spotlight integration, importing and a more customizable user interface. Together can edit or preview many different file formats, include text documents, PDF files, images, movies, web archives and bookmarks. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 and is available a 15-day trial; upgrades are $15. [Download - 5MB]
Microsoft on Tuesday upgraded its LifeCams with the VX-5000. An unusual approach to webcams, the new add-on is unique in its use of a bendable stand; users can curve the stand to sit the camera on a desk or straighten out to varying degrees to clip to the back of different surfaces, including desktop LCDs and notebook lids. Although capped at 640x480 resolution, the camera supports panning, zooming, and tilting as well as simulated 1.3-megapixel still photos through interpolation.
Apple has confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs, along with a "team of Apple executives," will deliver the keynote at this year's WWDC conference. The event is scheduled for 10AM Pacific time on June 9th, and will take place in the West wing of the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. Although details of the keynote have not been made official, Apple notes that it will focus on Mac OS X Leopard, and "OS X iPhone," as it is now branding the iPhone's firmware.
Microsoft today kicked off the public beta of WorldWide Telescope, a downloadable app built for browsing the viewable universe. The software uses an Internet database to provide high-detail images of nebulas and other astronomical objects without requiring a large download; a unique approach stitches together images to create a seemingly unified view that uses terabytes' worth of data. The system is also unique in providing the views from specific telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, and allowing users to switch between viewing X-rays and observable light.
Beating yesterday's predictions by Portfolio, HBO has already launched its programming (iTunes link) on the US iTunes Store. Six TV shows are presently available, including The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, Deadwood, Flight of the Conchords and Sex and the City. Listings for the shows further confirm that while most episodes are priced at the standard iTunes rate of $1.99, those for Rome, Deadwood and The Sopranos are $2.99 each, marking the first time Apple has allowed variable pricing for TV shows in the US.
Creative today took a cue from the unusually successful Flip camera and launched the Vado. The company promises an improvement on the concept of an ultra-simple, YouTube-oriented video recorder with a design it says is both thinner and lighter than its rival and gives the camera 2GB of built-in flash memory. This gives the Vado up to two hours of recording time at its native 640x480 resolution, Creative says. Built-in software can help streamline uploads either to YouTube or Photobucket, though the use of MPEG-4 allows common video editing software to edit captured footage.
Olympus early this morning updated its E-series cameras with the E-520. Replacing the E-510, the new 10-megapixel digital SLR mirrors changes brought to the earlier E-420 with a larger 2.7-inch LCD and a much more advanced live preview feature: photographers can not only use autofocusing but also see the effects of changes to exposure and white balance before taking the shot. The camera also shoots faster, at up to 3.5 frames per second, and includes both face detection and shadow compensation to bring out detail in darker areas.
The Microsoft Mac Business Unit on Tuesday announced the release of Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack 1, a major update that provides increased stability, security, and performance enhancements, as well as an update for the former 2004 version. The update culminates several months worth of feedback from the Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol tool into optimization and improvements. Microsoft is posting the download on its website, but says it is also available through Microsoft Auto Update.
Adobe has released an update to the Adobe Digital Negative specification (DNG), its publicly available archival format for the raw files generated by digital cameras. The DNG 1.2.0 Specification (May 2008) provides new and expanded specifications that offer increased flexibility and improved workflow for their raw images, including formalization of the concept of a "camera profile" and allowance for multiple camera profiles to be embedded in a single DNG file. Adobe has also defined additional metadata tags for the DNG format, including a field to indicate the integrity of the raw data within the file, offering a tool to validate the safety of photographers' image data. Adobe's DNG SDK has also been updated to reflect the changes to the specification. In addition, a DNG Codec for Windows Vista -- only available for 32-bit editions -- has also been released on Adobe Labs. Adobe DNG Converter is available as a free download from Adobe's website.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
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,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â 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
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl