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Photos have been leaked of the interior of Apple's Belfast store, according to iPhone Savior. This will be the first store for the company on Northern Ireland, contained in the enormous Victoria Square complex. The store features the characteristic Apple glass facade, located on the upper ground level, and is scheduled to officially open on Saturday September 20.
Apple represents one of the fastest growing brands, according to a report in the Silicon Valley newspaper Mercury News. In the current feeble economy, this can be a particularly important asset. While companies with weaker brands are forced to cut their profit margins, customers will still pay more for the products that they consider top notch. In a survey earlier this year, the majority of marketers agreed that developing brands can offer some protection against a slump in the economy.
Microsoft tonight aired its first second-phase ad and started its more direct campaign to combat the image portrayed by Apple. Shifting significantly from the company's approach of avoiding Windows discussion, the spot begins by playing on Apple's "I'm a PC" message but calling it a "stereotype" with a replica of John Hodgman's character; it quickly shifts to reveal different users in different fields of work ranging from astronauts to teachers, all of whom repeat the "I'm a PC" mantra to illustrate how Windows PCs are used in many different situations than what Apple implies.
Plantronics on Thursday introduced its newest Bluetooth headset, the Voyager 835, which uses dual microphones in conjunction with AudioIQ noise-canceling software to reduce ambient noise. What the company calls Windsmart technology reduces wind noise heard by parties on the other end. Meant for business users, the headset is capable of quickly pairing up with Bluetooth devices, and can keep two devices in memory thanks to multipoint tech.
Line 6 has unveiled two new products for capturing guitar audio, the BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic. The BackTrack clips to the musician's belt or guitar and constantly records output from the 1/4 inch instrument cable, automatically beginning when it senses input. If the user really likes a something that was just played, pressing the 'Mark' button will put a tag on the recording for future reference. The marked section is separated and can be reviewed by pressing the forward or reverse buttons, recording up to 12 hours.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs now ranks No. 61 on the latest Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in America. Every member of the ranks has a net worth of at least $1.3 billion. Although Jobs fell slightly from his No. 56 spot last year, he has gained significantly since 2006 where he sat at No. 132. His net worth has held steady at $5.7 billion for the past few years.
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has praised Apple for including features on iTunes and the latest iPod Nano that allow for easier use by the blind or visually impared, with an improved accessibility page on Apple's website. The Nano now features options such as large fonts and a synthesized voice that speaks the names of menus, songs, and artists. This starts with iTunes 8; when the accessibility option is selected it creates the text-to-speech files that are then synced to the 4th gen Nano.
European Union competition commissioner Neelie Kroes spoke to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and long-time rocker Mick Jagger in a meeting today, chastising Apple others for creating a varied market with its iTunes Store. Network World reports that Kroes reminded those present of the EU's intent of creating a borderless living style and marketplace among nations in the Union. Kroes made it clear that if there was any confusion over the rules, that she would explain them.
Recording industry insiders are reporting that Sony Ericsson is due to launch a music service soon similar to Nokia's Comes With Music. According to CNET, the service is a partnership with Omnifone, which will allegedly provide a limitless supply of music downloads from the industry's four big labels. Sony Ericsson and Omnifone both could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Motorola on Thursday introduced a pair of universal Bluetooth, noise-canceling headsets with the MOTOPURE H15 and stylish H780. The MOTOPURE H15 Universal Bluetooth Headset features a folding design and, says Motorola, has the best background noise cancellation performance among dual-microphone Bluetooth headsets as judged by independent testing. It will automatically adjust volume and noise-canceling levels as the ambient noise rises.
Marketcircle has begun shipping Billings 3, a new edition of its professional invoicing software. The program contains a variety of major changes, such as a revised interface, with options for client groups and a chronological accounts view with an inline preview. The app additionally displays icons next to clients with overdue bills, which can be clicked to send out a reminder.
Korea‘s ORACOM on Thursday announced it will soon launch a digital music player, the W30, that features a haptic user interface for its 240x400, 3-inch touchscreen. Like in the Samsung Instinct cellphone and numerous other devices, a haptic interface simulates pressing a real button when users press a virtual key on the touchscreen, often making a sound and vibrating the device via a built-in gyroscope.
Hitachi on Thursday announced significant changes in its operations for LCD and plasma HDTV production. The announcement comes after earlier promises of upcoming changes, spurred by $1,062 million in lost profits in fiscal year 2007. The majority of the loss stemmed from HDTV business. The electronics maker said it would focus on offering higher-value HDTVs in order to better compete with other HDTV makers, including integrating Internet access into future products. Video content on the web available thus far only via computers will be made accessible to Hitachi HDTV users via the company’s website.
Palm on Thursday afternoon reported mixed results for its summer quarter, which ended in August. The company posted a net loss of $41.9 million versus a just $0.8 million loss from the same period a year ago. The company attributed somewhat more than half the loss, or $24.4 million, to increasing stock prices and related compensation as well as securities, but left most other concerns to performance-related problems.
Mac-based BlackBerry fans may no longer need to rely on third party utilities to synchronize their Macs with their RIM-build handsets, since the company is preparing to announce a new port of its BlackBerry Desktop Manager software. An anonymous source from within the company has informed CIO of the company's plans, who, up until now, has been suggesting Mac users run the PC software through virtualization options such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels.
Toshiba Japan on Thursday introduced three new DVRs with the company’s proprietary eXtended Detail Enhancement (XDE) near-HD quality upscaling technology that was first introduced in the XD-E500 DVD player. The newest models to use the technology are headed up by the RD-X8 DVR, which comes with a 1TB hard drive to record TV from its digital TV tuner. In addition, it will burn dual-layer DVDs and supports both MPEG-4 and AVC/H.264 formats. Of the new additions, the RD-X8 alone has Deep Color HDMI outputs.
Intuit has formally announced the latest version of its small business accounting software, QuickBooks 2009 for Mac. The user interface has been redesigned for improved organization and efficiency, with a home page that shows the structure of required tasks, and notification badges to draw attention to high-priority items. The most common tasks can also be accessed from the home page, including invoice preparation, timesheet tracking, and bill payment.
Antec recently introduced its Skeleton enclosure, seemingly aimed at gamers and those who are never happy to leave enough alone. The open design of the original enclosure, combined with the 3.6-inch front fan and a huge, top-mounted 9.8-inch three speed fan, effectively renders overheating a non-issue. The top-mounted fan also sports mutlicolor LEDs below it for a disco-ball like effect on dark ceilings. A standard ATX motherboard mounts on the upper level, while a slide-out, rack-like lower level has appointments for a power supply, a pair of optical drives and two hard drives.
Hillcrest Laboratories recently filed a lawsuit and patent infringement against Nintendo Co Ltd. over its use of the motion controller technology and a Wednesday report indicates the US International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate the matter. If the ITC finds Nintendo used infringed technology, it could bar the sale of the Wii gaming console from the US market. Nintendo, meanwhile, has said it did not infringe on Hillcrest’s intellectual property and intends to “vigorously defend” itself.
ASUS and Skype have collaborated to bring the AiGuru SV1 videophone to market, announcing its release on Thursday. The ASUS AiGuru SV1 has a 7-inch, 800x480 LCD and a built-in 640x480 webcam that allow users to make free video calls to other users of the Skype VoIP phone service without relying on a computer; the device is the first of its kind, the firms claim. Skype reveals more than a quarter of all Skype-to-Skype calls involve video, and the AiGuru SV1 is seen as a response to that trend.
Paragon Software and dictionary creator Merriam-Webster say they have collaborated on a new app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The program is a conversion of the latter company's 11th-edition Collegiate Dictionary for English, and is specially formatted for the dimensions and interface of Apple handhelds. The dictionary features over 225,000 entries, including more than 10,000 new ones, and does not require an Internet connection after the initial download.
The e-book reader designers at iRex today revealed through a teaser page that they plan a major update to their devices next week. While short on details other than to point to a "new era" of reading, the company adds in its blog that the Monday launch will include both new hardware and new software and is not a simple upgrade.
Wireless network provider T-Mobile and Nortel Networks on Thursday announced the successful test of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed wireless data network in a moving car, according to a new update. Tested on a highway in Bonn, Germany in a vehicle moving at an average speed of 42mph, the upcoming LTE network achieved 170Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds. Throughout the trip, the car was in range of three cell sites.
Early adoptees of the iPhone 3G have been using much less data on AT&T's network than expected since the device became available, the company's chief technical officer John Donovan noted at Goldman Sachs' Communacopia XVII conference today. The carrier had braced itself against a fivefold increase in traffic with the advent of the phone, which makes video and other data-intensive tasks more feasible, but has only seen a relatively mild threefold increase over the earlier EDGE version.
VMware has officially released Fusion 2.0, the latest version of its Mac virtualization software. The software adds a host of new features, such as multiple and/or automatic "snapshots" of virtual machines, which let users regress to earlier states as needed. Others include automatic detection and use of multiple displays, and the ability to open Mac files and URLs in a virtual machine, or vice versa.
MSI has plans to expand its Wind netbook range past the U100, according to an interview. Beyond the current system, the company says it is developing the U91, a new 8.9-inch computer whose other specifications are as yet unknown. Also in development is the U120, a system with a 10-inch screen and built-in HSDPA reception.
Sprint's Xohm WiMAX is still on schedule to switch on in September, the company tells Gearlog. While less than two weeks remain in the month, the carrier says its already-delayed 4G Internet service is still on track despite the absence of announcements or other signs the network is ready to go live. Sprint previously said in June that it would first deploy Xohm in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, DC this month with expansion to other cities shortly afterwards.
XtremeMac today announced a variety of cases intended for Apple's latest iPods, as well as the iPhone. All models are shipping in September, and begin with the Tuffshield ($15), which is actually a screen protector for iPhones and Touch 2Gs. The Tuffshield differs from most through the use of four layers, and an option of clear or anti-glare versions. The Microshield ($20) is a thin plastic shell case for the latest Nanos, Touches and iPhone, and comes bundled with two Tuffshields.
Toshiba UK on Thursday announced that its first netbook entry, the NB100, will arrive on the UK market next month. The device will be built around an 8.9-inch, 1024x600 LCD display, with processing power coming courtesy of Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom chip. Virtual memory will top out at 1GB, while onboard storage comes by way of a 120GB hard disk. The device will be available with either Linux Ubuntu 8.04 using OpenOffice 2.4 or else Microsoft's Windows XP Home.
The RIAA has filed a motion (PDF) in an attempt to silence an outspoken lawyer defending the targets of its anti-piracy lawsuits. Calling many of his actions "overzealous," the American music industry group accuses New York attorney Ray Beckerman of frustrating its attempts to sue Marie Lindor and other defendants for allegedly sharing music online and violating individual music labels' copyrights.
SmileOnMyMac has released the next major upgrade to its PDF editing tool for Mac OS X. PDFpen 4.0 features user interface refinements, such as a new document sidebar for viewing thumbnails, an updated Properties window, and greater toolbar controls. Basic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has also been added, which allows users to change scanned text documents from picture files into text files for editing. Other new features include importing of Word documents, printing of notes and comments, additional mark-up options, and file compatibility upgrades.
CobraMobile has released a new iPhone/iPod touch game that has players racing a clock to finish puzzles. The aim of Mouse About is to solve a variety of food puzzles, by guiding Marv the mouse from one piece of food to another. Movement of Marv is accomplished by touching points on the screen, and a puzzle is completed only if all food has been reached in time. Each one responds dynamically to a person's skill, ensuring that the game eases into higher difficulty.
T-Mobile's G1 smartphone will match the pricing of the iPhone 3G when it's announced next week, according to tips supplied to the Wall Street Journal. The paper hears that the first Android phone will cost $199 on contract, equaling the price for an 8GB iPhone 3G under similar terms. This same alleged insider also claims that T-Mobile will introduce "aggressively priced" new data plans to capitalize on the G1's faster 3G data access.
Server software company Xinet has announced the release of four XTensions to support QuarkXPress 8. FullPress XT allows the integration of Xinet's server software engine, which provides filesharing, print spooling, and automated output of PostScript, PDF or TIFF/IT material. WebNative XT lets users preview WebNative documents which contain links to images.
Atempo today announced Mac releases of its Atempo Digital Archive (ADA) and Digital Archive for Messaging (ADAM) software, with support for Apple's Xserve and Final Cut Server. ADA allows automated transfer of data from a primary disk to archives. End-users have access to a client interface, which lets them drag and drop files from source directories to archives.
SRS Labs has announced the addition of two new products to its audio line: an iWOW adapter for iPod, and a new iWOW software package. The iPod adapter attaches to the player, allowing the audio signal to be processed before being sent to headphones. WOW technology works to widen the soundstage, increase bass performance, generate stereo from mono sources and restore spacial cues.
Imation's Apple-friendly label XtremeMac today launched a trio of speaker docks all tuned to support iPhones, including the iPhone 3G. The Luna Voyager clock radio is new to the range and is small enough to be carried on trips. In a unique touch, the system can set its time from an iPhone rather than rely on manual settings. It also has its own battery backup both for the clock and the buzzer/iPhone/iPod alarm to prevent a power outage from affecting the Voyager overnight. While not as powerful as larger systems, the portability should help drop the price to $90 for the miniature Luna's November launch.
No matter how much you may love your Mac, there may be at least a handful of Windows programs that don’t have an equivalent Mac OS X version. Rather than buy a separate machine, of course, you can always use Boot Camp to turn your Mac into a PC. However, a more practical solution may be to run Windows inside a virtual machine using Fusion 2.0.
Memorex set a new record today by becoming the first major electronics maker to launch a Blu-ray player below $300 at an ordinary price. The MVBD-2510's $270 price tag puts it well below the $400 average asking price for players from Sony and others but still gives it features that are common to the more expensive players, including Profile 1.1 support for picture-in-picture commentary and HDMI output that supports 7.1-channel surround through Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and raw bitstream audio. It also plays 24p video natively without pulldown conversion.
A possible security hole has been discovered in QuickTime 7.5.5, which was released last week alongside iTunes 8. Symantec researcher Aaron Adams notes that a particular parameter in QuickTime is not geared to cope with strings past a certain length, and that if this trait were to be properly exploited, it could represent a security threat. "Symantec is currently investigating this flaw further to determine the underlying technical details," Adams' official note reads.
Imation started its Thursday with a new set of Apollo hard drives that includes one of the first Wireless USB disks. Called the Apollo Pro WX, the device uses the near-wired speed of the ultra-wideband signal to duplicate the features of a normal USB hard drive without the need to string a cable for the roughly 30-foot range of the standard. The storage is as secure as physical USB, the company claims, and comes with a reportedly unique automatic backup utility that exploits the drive's ability to stay connected without necessarily using an extra USB port.
T-Mobile today revealed that it will significantly expand its 3G network in the next few weeks to include several key areas. Although just 13 major cities are covered today, the cellular carrier plans to grow that number to 21 by mid-October and will include key technology hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle as well as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento.
LG Display on Thursday said it has started mass-producing the world's first notebook displays to be truly color-accurate. Using an RGB LED backlight versus the one-color backlights of other notebook displays, the 17.1-inch, 1920x1200 LCD pushes its color reproduction up to 105 percent, or about 40 percent more than a typical notebook display with a fluorescent backlight at the same size. The breakthrough should give AV professionals a display they can use for image editing and gamers a more vivid image, LG says.
Samsung on Thursday started off a new line of music phones that draw on the company's own media player experience. The BEATb (bar) and BEATs (slider) both have dedicated music controls but also have motion-sensitive functions. Users can shake the phone iPod nano-style to skip tracks, tap it to play or pause, or put the phone on full mute by placing it face-down on a table. The company's Digital Natural Sound Engine from its MP3 players carries over to enhance the sound field, and the third-party app Shazam is preloaded to sample and identify a song to buy later.
Pioneer recently announced it would start selling its LCDs in North America and Asia during the first half of 2009, after unveiling the 32- and 37-inch models in Europe last month. CE Pro reveals that Pioneer will follow up the North American and Asian releases with Japan in 2010, opting to focus mostly on small- and medium-sized LCDs for the Japanese. Pioneer also said it would offer a high-end range of LCDs, manufactured with Sharp LCD panels.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k