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HP tonight updated its TouchSmart all-in-one PCs to push them into high-end home theater territory not covered by earlier models or rivals such as the iMac. The IQ800 series carries a 25.5-inch, 1920x1200 display that converts the touchscreen PC into a near home theater; accordingly, the system comes with a Blu-ray combo drive in one model while all of them have 1080p-capable video and ATSC/NTSC TV tuners. To match the HTPC focus, either system also has new ambient lighting on their chins that either illuminates the wireless keyboard on a desktop or just sets the mood.
After a brief absence of large notebooks, HP on Tuesday revived the HDX line with two systems that turn the focus from gaming to movies. Both the 16-inch HDX16 and 18.4-inch HDX18 are HP's first systems to use a 16:9 aspect ratio display better-suited to movies and have a built-in subwoofer, a remote and HDMI video out. Their performance is also friendly to full HD with a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo and a GeForce 9600M GT to offload the decoding work.
As part of its larger introduction of devices tonight, HP today updated both its Digital Picture Frame and its options for mice and keyboards. The photo frames get both larger and smaller with a new 10.4-inch model, the df1000, and the 3.5-inch df300a1; choosing the df1000 nets a 800x600 resolution as well as 512MB of permanent memory to store a rotating set of photos without needing a memory card in the multi-format reader. It also brings video playback support for common video formats from still cameras, such as MPEG-1/4 and Motion JPEG. PictBridge hooks also let the frame print to any supporting printer without involving a PC.
On2 Technologies today announced its latest video compression format, VP8, claimed to deliver the same quality as H.264 but with up to 50 percent less data and fewer processor cycles. Golden frames, processor-adaptive realtime encoding, and a low-complexity loop filter all contribute to the performance gains. Potential uses of VP8 include web TV, IPTV, video conferencing, or streaming HD movies.
AT&T is working on linking the iPhone to its U-verse internet and video service, according to Reuters. The company has been developing new ways for customers to integrate their video, internet, and mobile phone systems. AT&T's position as exclusive carrier for the iPhone will contribute to the new technology. Voice mail messages will be accessible from the user's TV screen, while DVR recordings will be transferable to the phone.
Santok has unveiled its latest iPhone accessory, the STK iPower Pack. An 1800mAh rechargeable Li-ion polymer battery is contained in the flip-case, along with two speakers. Santok claims a battery life extension of 200 hours for standby, 20 hours of music playback, six hours of video playback, or seven hours of talk time. Each speaker can output 1W for listening to music or watching movies.
Media Atelier has launched GrandTotal 1.0, an invoicing application aimed at individuals and small companies. The application generates invoices, estimates and account statements, and provides word processing and layout tools for creating customizable documents. It is available as a standalone application or a plug-in for TimeLog4.
LaCie has announced the latest addition to its line of storage devices featuring Neil Poulton design, the 4big Quadra 4-bay RAID system. The array can be configured to write data in seven different RAID modes, including RAID 0 for faster speeds or RAID 5 for protection, with each drive hot-swappable if needed. Four Quadra units can be stacked or chained to quadruple the potential storage capacity and increase the transfer speeds to 600 MB per second, according to LaCie.
Apple on Monday unveiled Security Update 2008-006, detailing the various security fixes patched between it and the Mac OS X 10.5.5 update. The updates both resolve a vast number of issues, mostly relating to the remote execution of arbitrary code, many issues resolved were related to performance and password security. Several vulnerabilities could have allowed malicious users to gain access to a list of authenticated users, or to change the password of an unattended station through the login screen.
Excel Software is shipping MarketBuddy 2.0, an update to the automated marketing tool. Among the new features are custom fields, contact-record check boxes and choices, form creation and data entry. MarketBudy stores and organizes contact information, then automates marketing activities, like posting news to websites and sending press releases to distribution sites.
A decade ago, Apple was the subject of deathwatches and buyout rumors. Now, a CNN Money editor at large is suggesting that Apple could replace AIG in the Dow Jones industrial average. The New York Times is reporting that AIG (American International Group), a large insurance company, is seeking a $40 billion bridge loan from the Federal Reserve, in the face of a potential downgrade from credit ratings agencies that could spell its doom. CNN Money is reporting that AIG will have to sell its aircraft-leasing arm, International Lease Finance Corp, and possibly its annuities business and auto insurance unit to raise cash.
ASPYR Media has begun shipping Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare for Mac. The game moves past the World War II theme of previous versions and into a modern setting. Gamers take the role of US Marine and British SAS soldiers, using the latest advanced weaponry to fight battles. This release also includes a multiplayer mode that allows gamers to gradually gain additional weapons, gear, and camouflage.
CodeWeavers on Monday announced CrossOver Chromium, its port of Google's Chrome browser now developed to work on Mac and Linux systems. Google recently launched the Webkit based open source browser, although initially just for Windows. Chromium lacks the auto-updating functions of Chrome, and is not intended to be a primary use browser, as the whole Chrome project is in its earliest stages of functionality. CodeWeavers used its Wine intermediary tool to allow Chromium to function across the platforms.
THQ wireless has released the newest addition to its line of Star Wars games for the iPhone, The Force Unleashed. Gamers take the role of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, personally trained by the Sith Lord. The last of the Jedi must be hunted and eliminated, using grip, lightning, Jedi mind tricks, and other tools controlled with the phone touch screen and accelerometer.
Nemetscheck North America has released the latest version of its design software suite, VectorWorks 2009, adding a Parasolid modeling kernel. The set of programs includes Designer, Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Machine Design and Fundementals, and Renderworks. The addition of Siemens' Parasolid kernel further develops VectorWorks' 3D modeling capabilities, pushing the speed four to five times faster than the previous version and 16 times faster when triangulating curved surfaces, according to Nemetscheck.
McGraw-Hill Professional and Modality have joined forces to bring Zollinger's Atlas of Surgical Operations to the iPhone and iPod touch. The surgical reference applications are designed to provide medical students, residents, and surgeons with instant mobile access to step-by-step surgical procedures. Many of the included procedures provide narrated animations adapted from McGraw-Hill's AccessSurgery, an online surgical education resource that outlines each step from Indications and Preoperative Preparation to Closure and Postoperative Care.
CardScan on Monday unveiled the CardScan Executive for Mac, a set which includes a business card scanner, coupled with contact management and synchronization software. The scanner itself is capable of reading 20 color cards per minute, while the software is able to take information from the scanner, email signatures, files, and more. CardScan Executive for Mac is available at select Apple Stores, Apple's website, and a number of retailers for $260.
As promised earlier in the day, NPD Group has published its final statistics for Apple sales during the month of August. iPod numbers are stronger than predicted, according to Piper Jaffray, sitting at an 8 percent growth year-over-year rather than the 6 percent consensus hinted at by The Street. Apple's total iPod sales for the September quarter are thus expected to be approximately 11 million.
The lack of Sony Ericsson staff commitment to future XPERIA-branded handsets suggests they may not use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, alleges a Monday report. The news originated at the company’s digital marketing campaign launch for the range-topping Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 handset, which, ironically, is the first phone from the company to make use of Microsoft’s Windows OS.
Apple is now distributing the latest upgrade to Mac OS X, v10.5.5, through Software Update. The patch addresses a considerable number of aspects in the operating system, such as Mail, MobileMe and Address Book, as well as some "general" concerns, according to Apple's support notes. Some of these include Spotlight indexing, the reliability of iPhone sync with both iCal and Address Book, and problems with Macs powering on involuntarily at the same time every day. The update is sized anywhere between 136 and 353MB, depending on the number of minor patches already installed.
With the successful completion of the 700MHz auction back in March, the only left-over segment of the band that did not sell was the one called D-Block and a Monday report has the FCC’s chairman, Kevin Martin, unveiling new plans to auction off the segment. The new proposal will involve nationwide and regional licensing while retaining a public-private partnership approach as well as a lower reserve price of $750 million versus the original $1.3 billion. In addition, there will be more flexible build-out requirements imposed, now at 15 years instead of 10, and more public knowledge required of the operations and restrictions of current licensee holder, the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp, which was a concern from potential buyers the first time around.
Practically everyone hands out business cards. Unfortunately, business cards can be easily lost or misplaced. To save this information, you could take every business card you get and retype this information into your favorite contact manager database. For an occasional card, this method is acceptable but if you need to handle multiple business cards on a regular basis, this method is clumsy and tedious. For a faster and easier solution, use the CardScan Executive.
Outside the Box Group on Monday introduced its newest product, the Plane Quiet Platinum headphones with active noise reduction technology. Meant to enhance the traveling experience in planes, buses and trains, the company claims the hardware reduces ambient noise by as much as 18dB, or 80 percent. The Plane Quiet Platinum headphones have a leatherette headband and ear cups that fully enclose wearers‘ ears. The 1.57-inch Neodymium magnets in the speakers allow them to attain a 40mW power rating, and a maximum of 100mW. Frequency response is above average as well, with a 20-20,000Hz rating.
A Sony Insider report published over the weekend suggests Sony will soon release a simple 2.1-channel home theater sound system that has its 200W amplifier and receiver built into the subwoofer enclosure. The specs of the new system should be very close to those of the company‘s current HT-CT100 3.1-channel system that uses a sound bar instead of the HT-FS1’s pair of speakers.
A report published over the weekend has revealed a new smartphone from ASUS, a relative newcomer to the full-touchscreen handset game. Unlike the company‘s P552w handset unveiled last week, the device (codenamed Glaxy7) looks to feature a more original design, though it looks basically like Samsung's Omnia range. The unofficial specs for the quad-band GSM phone reveal it will not use the North American WCDMA frequency, only supporting 900MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz. Believed to wear the Zest name when it launches, the phone will feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen with an 800x480 resolution and ASUS’ custom Glide 1.5 interface running on Windows Mobile 6.1.
Three new iPhone apps have been released: a Star Trek-themed Tricorder for iPhone; a cord reference app for pianists, PianoChords; and Dashball, a puzzle game with break-out themed levels. The Tricorder app features visuals simulating vital signs and biological scans, geologic displays and radioactive scans. It uses OpenGL for its animations. It works with both the iPhone and the iPod touch and sells for $1.
XM's XMp3 handheld satellite radio has surfaced today in a Best Buy listing that confirms much more about the device. The device is now known to have been made by Pioneer, which made the preceding Inno, and will work as a traditional MP3 player as well as a tuner. A microSDHC slot should hold at least 8GB of MP3 or WMA tracks, including those recorded from XM itself.
The first Apple Store in the Swiss city of Geneva will be opening September 29th, according to a tipster for MacNN. The source claims that a staff meeting was held at the Warwick Hotel in downtown Geneva last week, and that the actual retail location will open "exactly" two weeks from today. The store is situated on Rue de Rive, and had "bientôt ouvert" painted on its black construction facade approximately two weeks ago. The erection of such facades typically indicates that an Apple Store will open within a month.
ezGear has unveiled new ezSkin Plus cases for the new iPod touch 2G and iPod nano 4G. The ezSkins are made of silicon with a silky surface texture. The iPod touch version features ezButton raised silicon to allow full use of the controls. A screen cleaning cloth, clear static screen protector, port cover, removable belt clip, and stand for watching video are all included in the package.
Intel this afternoon fulfilled a promise and launched the Xeon 7400. The processor once nicknamed "Dunnington" is the first x86 architecture design to hold six cores and is targeted at very high-end computing where sheer parallelism is more important than clock rate; it's particularly useful for virtual machines and databases, Intel suggests. The chipmaker estimates a speed boost of as much as 50 percent and helps this in part by a similar increase in Level 2 cache to 16MB as well as dedicated virtualization features on the cores themselves.
Best Buy Mobile will have its formal debut in Canada this week, according to an invite sent out to the press. The e-mail notification indicates a formal event for this Wednesday and suggests a near-term launch of the previously US-only initiative. Best Buy is known to be planning a cautious rollout and will have just three locations for the cellphone-oriented stores by the end of 2008, which will be located either inside Best Buy stores or in smaller, stand-alone shops.
A sales sheet for the BlackBerry Storm has appeared on Monday and confirms most of the details of the anticipated iPhone rival. True to expectations, the Storm should have both CDMA and GSM to support world roaming as well as a unique touchscreen produces a tactile click when pressed, providing the physical feedback normally absent from touch phones but without using a vibration feedback system as with other attempts at solving the problem.
QuickerTek has announced an expansion to its ExpressCard product line for MacBook Pros. A new Wi-Fi adapter card is targeted at 802.11a/b/g networks, and comes with an external antenna, which helps to increase both speed and range. The card also utilizes Apple drivers, allowing it to be fully compatible with standard networking hardware. The antenna is attached directly to a MacBook Pro, but can be repositioned for better reception.
Redesigned MacBooks may already be enroute to stores, claims an analyst from Citigroup. Richard Garner cites "field checks," which suggest that the shipment process has begun. Garner says he has also learned of the computers' main features, which should include a "very thin" aluminum casing, LED backlighting, and an "aggressive entry-level price point." Some analysts have suggested that the cheapest MacBook could drop in cost to $999.
Dell announced on Monday it has partnered up with Sonic Solutions to make Qflix DVD drives that, together with software and special DVDs, will allow users to legally record downloaded movies to DVDs with formatting and DRM that works both on other PCs and in home theaters. The downloads will come from the CinemaNow service, though how many and which DVD titles or TV shows will be made compatible with Qflix is not known. The limit is a requirement to purchase DVDs from Roxio, which also supplies the software for the drive, to make the process possible.
A new iPhone application has been released that attempts to mimic a missing feature from the device, MMS. Flutter is a free app that provides an alternative to e-mail for sending picture messages to other cellphones. The software works by attaching a picture to a webpage, then sending the recipient a text message with the appropriate link. Images can be sourced either from a user's iPhone album, or captured without leaving Flutter.
AKVIS Software has released AKVIS LightShop 2.5, an update to its lighting-effects software which adds 64 new pre-made effects and adds plug-in versions for Mac Photoshop users. The software generates lighting visuals with full parameter control, and v2.5 adds new downloadable ready-to-use effects which allow users to quick-start a complex effect.
Following its low-key posting of the Touch HD, HTC today has also tipped its hand regarding two more conventional touchscreen phones. The Touch 3G is a direct sequel to the original Touch with a slightly slimmer design and its namesake 3G Internet access over HSDPA. It also brings a sharper 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS but is separated from the Touch Diamond by its lower-resolution 240x320 screen, the absence of Wi-Fi and a dependence on microSDHC cards.
NPD's August statistics for Apple, scheduled to become public today, should point towards the latter's sales for the whole of its September quarter, say analysts with Piper Jaffray. In terms of Macs, growth has typically slowed down between July and September; July's growth was 43 percent year-over-year, and it is believed that August growth could amount to 35 to 40 percent. If September's growth is 30 percent, Apple will have sold approximately 2.9 million Macs during the quarter, more than an increased Street consensus of 2.7.
Apple has taken the unusual step of re-releasing iTunes 8 for Windows users, investigation shows. Following the original release of the software last week, a variety of Windows Vista users reported blue screen of death errors when attempting to sync an iPod or iPhone with a PC. The issue was quickly -- though unofficially -- attributed to flawed Apple USB drivers.
Several movie studios and hardware manufacturers have unwrapped plans to produce a universal approach to copy-protected video that would escape a dependence on any one format and would also loosen some restrictions on video. To be called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the initiative currently includes Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. as well as Windows Media creator Microsoft, Comcast and hardware makers that include Cisco, Philips and Toshiba. Best Buy and Verisign are also involved.
The unofficial iPhone Dev Team has announced the release of new versions of PwnageTool and QuickPwn, capable of jailbreaking iPhones with v2.1 firmware. The team claims to have circumvented the new security features in iTunes 8 that were designed to disrupt hacking. The team's members note, however, that this release of PwnageTool will not yet work with the new iPod touch firmware, as no one on the team owns the matching hardware.
Western Digital on Monday introduced a 500GB capacity portable drive in its My Passport Elite and My Passport Essential lines. The small drives are small and light enough at seven ounces to be carried comfortably in users’ pockets and connect to computers via a USB 2.0 port. They feature built-in 128-bit encryption for security and are compatible with gaming consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 for added flexibility in loading music or videos.
HTC this morning quietly published details of the Touch HD and set the foundations for a clearer attempt at fighting the iPhone. The posting confirms a late leak and shows a device that depends more heavily on its display than most rivals: the 3.8-inch touchscreen is both larger than the Apple model and also sharper, at a near DVD-level 800x480. Such a dense LCD is a decisive edge for watching movies and browsing photos, HTC claims. The smartphone is also HTC's first Touch to scrap the directional pad altogether and has just four physical buttons on its face, shifting most of the attention to the TouchFLO interface that sits on top of Windows Mobile.
Apple may be one of the few computer makers to continue doing well throughout tough economic problems, a new ChangeWave survey indicates. Of 4,416 people polled in August, only 15 percent said they would spend more on electronics in the next 90 days, while 34 percent said they would be spending less. Although the number predicting less is traditionally higher except in November, the gap for August is still 13 points greater than it was during the same period last year, nearing a record level.
The staff of Apple's recently acquired PA Semiconductor are working on a new, internally developed ARM processor for the iPhone, the LinkedIn profile former PA Semi senior manager Wei-han Lien has revealed. Although now changed to abstract his work, the entry at the job connection website has slipped that he is now managing an ARM architecture team at Apple working specifically on the iPhone. The news not only suggests that a self-made design will replace the Samsung chip but that Apple has no immediate plans to use Intel's Atom processor in its smallest handhelds.
The appearance of the Samsung Rugby flip-phone on AT&T’s website is significant as the handset represents the first Mil-Spec certified device offered by the wireless network provider. The Military Standard MI-SID-810F approval translates to the aptly-named Rugby’s heightened ability to withstand dust, shock vibrations, rain, humidity, solar radiation and altitude and temperature extremes. AT&T further claims the Rugby is the first rugged cellphone available with both a push-to-talk function and one-way Video Share calling.
Camera maker Leica has refreshed its line with a set of new models that keep it up to date with rivals. The M8.2 (pictured) refreshes Leica's retro rangefinder camera but primarily focuses on the design itself. The compact is the first professional camera to use a scratch-resistant, sapphire-coated LCD similar to luxury cellphones that provides much tougher protection than glass. The outside has also been reworked with a vulcanite-style finish that preserves the rest of the shell without altering the vintage looks.
In spite of nearing the settlement of 19 cases, Apple and CEO Steve Jobs continue to face legal problems over backdating allegations, Bloomberg reports. An ongoing case is presently under seal at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, but the plaintiffs' lawyer, H. Adam Prussin, says he acting on behalf of shareholders, and using an approach "similar but not identical" to that of other lawsuits.
Napster this morning made the surprise announcement that it has entered into an agreement that will see the online store acquired by Best Buy, putting an end to the company's independence. The terms of the deal are largely unavailable apart from a $121 million price but has seen Napster indefinitely delay its annual shareholder's meeting from its originally scheduled September 18th timeframe.
NVIDIA is quietly releasing an upgraded version of the GTX 260 to fend off advances made by the Radeon HD 4870, according to a claim from those in the industry. On top of price cuts earlier in the year, the California graphics maker is said to be bumping the number of stream (geometry and effects) processors from the original 192 up to 216, bringing the performance much closer to the GTX 280's 240 processors. Clock speeds would still be one of the key differentiators with the 576MHz core and 1.24GHz memory the same as for the version launched in the spring.
NAVIGON today rolled out one more GPS device aimed at raising the very entry level. The 2000S has just a 3.5-inch touchscreen but carries the same software features as larger models, including the real-time appearance of street signs, a lane assist mode and a special emergency mode that supplies both nearby locations and phone numbers without the step-by-step process.
Seagate this morning kicked off it yearly overhaul of its FreeAgent external drives with both a new look and some rare features. The FreeAgent Go (pictured) and Go for Mac are both claimed as the thinnest notebook-sized drives at 12.5mm (just under 0.5in) but also have an optional dock that cradles the drive at home, simplifying the process of porting the drive outside of the home. The Mac edition also switches from USB to a rare FireWire 400/800 interface and is pre-formatted for the HFS+ file system out of the box.
MicroNet has announced what it says is the "world's smallest" RAID subsystem. The OS-independent RaidBank4 device comes with eSATA and USB interfaces in sizes up to 4TB, with a 6TB version promised soon. At 6.5 x 4.75 inches, MicroNet claims RAIDBank4 is small enough and sturdy enough for users to carry between home and work.
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TestFlight updated for iOS, watchOS
Apple on Thursday updated its developer-oriented TestFlight software to version 1.3.2 for compatibility with apps being developed for iOS 9.3 watchOS 2.2, along with the usual "stability and performance improvements." Some developers, however, are still reporting some issues loading beta apps onto the watchOS 2.2 beta. The latest beta for developers was released on Monday, and is available through the App Store or Apple's developer portal. [3.60MB] http://apple.co/1PQ64pF
CBS: No recent streaming conversations with Apple
CBS CEO Les Moonves has made remarks, casting doubt on a launch of Apple's live streaming television service. In interviews this week, the executive said regarding negotiations with Apple that "we had conversations awhile back, and we haven't had recent conversations with them," adding that "the phone is always ringing" regarding similar services, but not with Apple on the line. http://cnnmon.ie/1PptJM6
Complex date setting bug crashes 64-bit iOS device
A serious bug has been spotted with iOS devices running iOS 8 or newer, with a 64-bit processor. If a user disables auto-check time, and manually sets the date of a device back to as far as it will go, then again to January 1, 1970, and finally rebooting, the iPhone is crashed, perhaps terminally. The bug affects the iPhone 5s and newer devices, running a processor from the A7 and up. Theories abound as to the cause of the crash, but the most credible seems to be a clock set to less than an arbitrary "zero" date, causing all manners of routines relying on the time setting to fail during startup. http://bit.ly/1TV6psS
Weber buys iDevices' iGrill, Kitchen Thermometer
Cooking gear manufacturer Weber is purchasing iOS accessory manufacturer iDevices iGrill and Kitchen Thermometer lines. As part of the purchase, Weber is working in parallel with iDevices to roll out a new version of the products, and associated apps, this spring. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. CEO of iDevices Chris Allen said that the transition will allow the company to "focus even more heavily on becoming a leader in the home automation market." http://bit.ly/1PFk3uZ
Vevo music video app launched for Apple TV
Vevo today announced its new native tvOS app for the fourth generation Apple TV. The new app allows users Siri Remote navigation for discovery of top videos by genre, or to search for individual artists and videos. Playlists generated on another device sync between all the iterations of the app. http://apple.co/1PFhxEU
HydraDock team unveils USB 3.1 Type C Roadie
KickShark, the team that brought the HydraDock desktop USB-C dock to market, has launched a Kickstarter project for The Roadie -- a USB 3.1 Type C standard-compliant pocket hub for the 12 inch Apple MacBook and other compatible devices. The Roadie occupies the same footprint on a desk as a credit card, with a short USB-C male cable on one end for connecting to a 12 inch MacBook, and a female USB-C port on the other end for plugging in a MacBook power adapter. One side has an RJ45 jack for gigabit Ethernet, and an HDCP-compliant HDMI jack that handles up to 4K displays. KickShark promises shipment of all products within four weeks of campaign completion. The "early bird" offer for the hub is a $69 commitment, with a $79 commitment for a Roadie after 500 backers have pledged. http://kck.st/1o6knw5
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe