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Apple on Thursday released iTunes 8.0.1, an update for the company's media player that adds a number of bug fixes, performance enhancements, and functionality. The update advertises seamless playing of a current track when generating Genius playlists, as well as improved spoken menu synching for the new iPod nano. Also resolved was an issue related to in-progress HD TV downloads mysteriously deleting themselves, as well as problems syncing genius lists to an iPod.
Deadbeat Software has announced The Tagger, an MP3 and AAC tag editor for Mac. The software allows users to batch edit audio files, and claims to support a wider range of ID3 tags than iTunes. Files can be automatically selected for editing using an integrated browser, and any changes are saved instantly. Included tools allow changes to the tag case or trim tag.
Danholt4mac has released the latest version of its stock portfolio application, iStock 1.5. New features include an overhauled graphical user interface, new preferences for adjusting decimal places or font sizes, and improved portfolio management. The detail info view has been restyled, and online help provided. The app now supports English, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese languages.
SGN has launched its latest iPhone sports simulation game, iBowl. The app uses the phone's accelerometer for input, allowing the user to swing the phone like a bowling ball. A "BOWL" button on the touch screen is pressed through the screen and released at the end. Wrist twist will put spin on the ball and control the direction.
A report by market research company ChangeWave suggests that Apple could be facing hard times for computer sales through the holidays. The company performance for the past quarter has been good, with 23 percent of survey respondents who purchased a computer in the past 90 saying they bought a Mac notebook, and 17 percent a desktop. The report expects Apple to meet its projected numbers for sales between July 1 and September 30th.
Sony tonight fulfilled expectations with the launch of a new, high-end Reader. The PRS-700 is one of the first and few devices to mix the use of an e-ink display with a touchscreen interface and is said to make interacting with books more natural; users make swiping gestures with their fingers to turn pages and use a stylus to select text, run a search or make notes with an on-screen keyboard. Sony also bills itself as the first to build in an LED-based reading light to supply a clear view without having to turn on a potentially intrusive outside light.
Macgamestore has released its latest game for Mac, Clue Classic, which continues the board game legacy that spans more than 50 years. Characters include Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet, all gathered together at the Tudor Mansion to solve a murder. Six suspects are considered, with six possible murder weapons and nine rooms in which to find clues.
GClue has released two new apps for the iPhone, iKoto and Plasma. iKoto is an application that lets users play a virtual Koto (Japanese Harp), an instrument traditional to Japan that produces oriental tones. The app also features recording functions and a demonstration that plays the song "Rokudan no shirabe" while visually vibrating each string so the user can follow along.
GiantCrayon has released its newest game, SudokuArcade, which combines falling blocks, clock timing, and Sudoku puzzles. The graphics and theme replicate classic cabinet arcade games. Users must arrange the blocks on a nine by nine grid so that each column, row, and three by three region contains the digits from one to nine with no duplicates.
The planned royalty increase for CD and digital music downloads was slapped down by the Copyright Royalty Board, according to MarketWatch. A three-judge panel oversaw the decision, declining a raise from 9.1 cents per song to 15 cents. The royalty increase faced stiff opposition from music stores, with Apple threatening that, should the royalty hike go through, it would cease operations of the iTunes music store. iTunes is currently the largest music retailer in the US, having recently pulled ahead of Walmart.
D-Link on Wednesday introduced its Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit DIR-825 router which, for the first time, allows its USB port to turn into a virtual-network USB that will support external hard drives and other USB devices. Made possible by D-Link’s SharePort technology, the new feature lets users connect network attached storage devices and printers to their wireless networks. D-Link’s older USB Wireless-N routers can be updated with the same functionality thanks to a firmware update that will include the SharePort feature.
Human Software has posted v1.5 of HSC Edit, its plug-in suite for Apple's Aperture photo workflow software. The extension is said to be capable of some 4,000 effects, divided between 15 different modules, including ones for noise, tones and framing, color correction and lens distortion. The v1.5 software introduces the Image Resizing module, which lets users resize a photo without leaving Aperture, and apply desired effects in order to preserve image quality.
Desktop and notebook computer maker HP on Thursday launched the special editions of its dv5t and dv4t notebook PCs with the 15.4-inch Pavilion dv5t SE and 14.1-inch Pavilion dv4t SE. While identical to the regular dv4t and dv5t entertainment notebooks in terms of optional hardware specifications, the special edition notebooks feature unique body covers. The dv5t SE is covered in a ceramic white body with a leaf design around the keyboard and touchpad as well as on the outside of the lid, while the dv4t has a midnight blue color and images of crashing waves imprinted onto it.
At the Biz-Ex conference in Hollywood on Tuesday, Philips introduced 56-inch prototype HDTV panels that are capable of displaying 3D images thanks to their 3,840x2,160 resolution and proprietary technology. Unlike the recent 3D plasma setup from Panasonic, the Philips system does not rely on special glasses to bring 3D images to viewers. Instead, the Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTVs rely on high-speed data delivery and four times the pixels of current maximum HDTV resolution.
MP3Tunes announced on Thursday that the Recording Industry Association of America’s copyright infringement lawsuit against its CEO, Michael Robertson, was dismissed by New York District Judge William H. Pauley III. The lawsuit against MP3Tunes will proceed as planned, however. The lawsuit, headed up by EMI Music and 14 other music RIAA-supporting labels alleges that MP3Tunes infringed on copyrights as it offers an online music storage service, allowing users to upload their music collections and access them from virtually anywhere.
Meizu's long-in-production M8 phone could be available in a month's time, company head J. Wong has told visitors to its company forum (link may be broken as of press time). Although suspected of releasing in December, the M8 is now said by the executive to be nearing a launch in late October or early November. Pricing is less definitive but is now heading towards the equivalent of an unsubsidized $350 in the phone's home country of China following Wong's canvassing of the community for a price it would accept.
A book-reading app for the iPhone is proving to be more popular than Amazon's own dedicated e-book hardware, Forbes observes. Stanza, a free app which lets users download public-domain books to their iPhones, is currently believed to have been downloaded over 395,000 times, with approximately 5,000 more copies being distributed daily, according to developer Lexcycle. Banking firm Citigroup, meanwhile, is predicting that the Amazon Kindle will only have sold 380,000 units in 2008, despite having been available the entire year.
T-Mobile USA's version of the Pearl Flip 8220 will only cost slightly less than the Curve when it goes on sale, a T-Mobile rep claims in a forum post at TmoNews. The BlackBerry clamshell will purportedly sell for $150 for new users agreeing to a two-year contract and should climb to $200 for one-year plans. Existing subscribers who qualify for a full upgrade will pay $18 more to trade up, while a full retail price will cost $350.
Native Instruments has released Reaktor Animated Circuits, the latest KORE Soundpack. Users can experiment with a wide range of self-generating soundscapes, textures and rhythms. The sounds are powered by several Reaktor-based engines, including the new Spiral sequencer, and are intended for purposes like electronic music, movie scoring and games.
PDO has announced that it will be releasing cases for the new iPod models in mid-October, and is now shipping the Sleek Crystal Case for the iPhone 3G. The Sleek Crystal Case will also be available for the Touch 2G and Nano 4G, and is a hard shell that encapsulates a device and protects it from bumps and scratches. The case leaves all important controls accessible, and comes bundled with film to protect screens and/or clickwheels. The Touch model will sell for $25, while the Nano model will sell for $20. The iPhone version is $25.
Nokia on Thursday introduced a range of headphones, including the wire-free Bluetooth BH-504 set alongside the wired WH-500, WH-202 and WH-800 sets. The BH-504 set doubles as a headset and features echo cancellation and noise reduction technology built in for clearer conversations. The headphones sport dedicated music controls including a volume adjustment. The folding headphones are battery-powered and rated at 7.5 hours of playback time, 9 hours of talk time and can stand by for 90 hours.
Verizon is about to launch two Motorola phones that include one of the latter's first touch phones for a major US carrier, a leaked ad obtained by Phone Arena suggests. The Krave ZN4 (pictured) is similar in many ways to the China-oriented MING series and is dominated by a touchscreen with a transparent cover; new to the American phone is live digital TV with a MediaFLO tuner, a full HTML browser and faster Internet access over EVDO Revision A.
As a companion to news of the 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen phone, Nokia today also kicked off the formal launch details of its Comes With Music service. The company now plans to ship the inaugural, modified 5310 XpressMusic on October 16th and will sell it exclusively through Carphone Warehouse for 130 pounds ($230). As promised, the handset will come with one year of unlimited access to music and will let owners keep any downloaded tracks if they choose not to renew the subscription. Pricing for a renewal still isn't available.
Not finished with its LCD introductions from earlier in the week, Dell today introduced two more screens that are this time aimed at business users. The 20-inch E2009W and its slightly larger companion the 22-inch E2209W shed the rounded look of recent displays for a squared design that includes an iMac-style hanging display stand and controls blended subtly into the corner rather than conspicuous buttons.
The US presidential campaign for Barack Obama has taken the unusual step of publishing its own iPhone application. The Obama for America app sorts and prioritizes a user's phone contacts, organizing them according to which states the campaign sees as "battlegrounds" for the election; people from Colorado and Michigan, for example, are listed higher than those from Texas or California. The number of calls made through the app is reported back, but the campaign claims not to receive any personal information.
Nokia today at a special event launched the 5800 XpressMusic, the company's very first touchscreen phone and the company's only close competitior to the iPhone. The handset is primarily focused on its music but carries an extremely sharp 640x360, 3.2-inch display with haptic feedback to simulate physical button presses when touched. It also continues Nokia's emphasis on strong cameras with a 3.2-megapixel sensor, dual LED flashes and a front VGA camera for video calling on carriers that support the feature. Assisted GPS navigation, Wi-Fi and 3G data over HSDPA (including US frequencies) also put it on par in some areas with its American rival.
Apple's newest iPods are unlikely to have much impact in Taiwan, despite the popularity of the products around the world, an industry publication observes. DigiTimes notes that the prices of NAND memory, and LCD screens between 2.8 and 3.5 inches, have allowed local companies such as T.sonic and Ergotech to release extremely cheap 8GB media players, costing between $3,000 and $3,500 NT ($94 and $109 US). Some generic "white-box" players may even cost as little as $2,500 NT, or $78 US.
H20 Audio, a UK manufacturer of marine audio gear, on Thursday announced the release of its Surge and Amphibx line-up of waterproof headphones and armbands for MP3 players, iPods and cellphones. The products let swimmers, runners and watersports participants listen to their music in wet environments, and are guaranteed to protect users’ portable audio players and deliver music at depths up to nearly 12 feet. The Amphibx cases have a clear touch window that allows operating the click wheel and touchscreen functions on Apple’s iPods and iPhones.
The recently unveiled KP500 handset from Korean manufacturer LG got more details on Thursday in terms of its specs and pricing as they pertain to the North American market. The touchscreen device will feature a 240x400 3-inch display capable of displaying a virtual QWERTY keyboard while a built-in motion sensor will tilt the orientation as required. Unlike previously believed, the built-in camera will be a three-megapixel shooter instead of five and will support recording 12fps video. The quad-band handset will support GPRS and EDGE data networks, but omits 3G.
An Apple patent application, published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, contains indications that the company may seek to expand on the preview concept first introduced with Leopard's QuickLook. Apple notes that in most operating systems, the mouse cursors reacts comparatively little to its positioning, for instance changing shape to enter text or click on a URL. This does provide not much (if any) information however, something the proposed patent would aim to change.
Fujitsu senior product director Paul Moore in an interview published today revealed plans by his company to introduce multi-touch computers while simultaneously downplaying the significance of the technology. Following in the footsteps of an early development in Dell's Latitude XT, Fujitsu tells Wired it plans to release PCs in mid-2009 that accept multi-finger gestures but plans to limit these to fixed and convertible tablet PCs rather than extend them to all its notebooks.
Along with its new displays, Acer today marked the US release of the Aspire Predator, the company's first dedicated gaming PC. The copper orange tower is designed for access with a sliding front bay cover, front ports and a tool-free hard drive cage accessible from the outside; it also comes with built-in liquid cooling and three PCI Express X16 slots (plus one X8) to support multi-card graphics.
An independent developer has released GeoEdu, a combination atlas and educational game. In the game, players pick one or more continents, and answer questions in eight categories such as Territories, Capitals, Numbers and Currencies. A Voyage mode has gamers crossing borders, for instance attempting to get from a dependency to its parent country.
The third generation of Samsung's BlackJack line for AT&T should get a new name along with a substantially new design, a promo leak to BGR shows. Now called the Epix, the internally named i780 will keep the QWERTY keyboard of the earlier phones but switch to a much more advanced design that includes a mini-touchpad in place of the directional pad as well as direct touchscreen interface for Windows Mobile 6.1; 3G over AT&T's HSPA network and real GPS are also understood to be givens for the design.
The list of eligible claimants in the settlement of a lawsuit against Apple has expanded, according to an administrative firm. Rosenthal & Co. has issued notices in the wake of Gordon v. Apple, which alleged that power adapters shipped with iBooks and PowerBooks could fray and spark, or simply fail to work. Although Apple has denied any fault in the matter, it is said to have agreed to a settlement in order to avoid expenses.
Acer on Thursday brought out the US version of the G24, a 24-inch LCD the company claims has the highest contrast ratio to date. The announcement was made at the same time as the company introduced its Predator gaming PC system, naming the G24 its ideal companion. The widescreen 1920x1200 display uses dynamic picture adjustment to reportedly reach a TV-like 50,000:1 contrast level and also touts a claimed 2ms gray-to-gray pixel response time suited to gaming.
Sirius XM drew a quick close to speculation today by announcing the availability of the A La Carte and Best Of radio features promised with the merger of the two satellite radio stations. The former service debuts with the equally new Starmate 5 radio and lets users custom-pick their stations in blocks rather than having to accept Sirius XM's default options.
A new version of GIMP, a free graphics utility, has been released online. Similar in scope to Photoshop, the program lets users make adjustments to photos such as color, blemish and perspective correction, and open a variety of common file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, PNG and PSD documents. The v2.6 update makes a variety of interface changes, such as moving the toolbox menubar into the image window, through the use of a new empty image window. Other touches include the ability to pan beyond image borders, and reopen recently-closed docks.
VUDU upped its stakes in the online movie rental arena today by confirming a rumor and introducing some of the first 1080p online movie rentals. Labeled as HDX, the format is roughly twice as sharp as the 720p offered for most VUDU and Apple TV movies but attempts to avoid some of the compression artifacts that often crop up in attempting to shrink HD video to download-friendly sizes. A new algorithm known as TruFilm focuses the available bandwidth on rendering complex portions of the scene while reducing the data for simpler areas, producing what the company believes is a small video file without introducing visible color or resolution drops.
The results of Apple's fourth financial quarter -- which ended in September -- will be disclosed on October 21st, Apple has announced. The company will discuss figures in a conference call on that date, scheduled for 2PM Pacific time, or 5PM Eastern. Observers should be able to listen in through a QuickTime audio stream; a link should become available in advance.
Apple's entry into the mobile phone space was a "big favor" to the cellphone business by shaking it up, Nokia chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said Thursday. The executive notes that Apple's roughly 14-month presence in the market has produced a "credible competitor" that has led phone buyers to expect more from devices, pushing Nokia and others to improve their hardware and software. The Finnish company now sees the iPhone as a threat but also says it has yet to formally take on Apple's touchscreen model.
Nintendo this morning carried on a transformation of the DS handheld into a full-fledged media device with the DSi. The update to the once gaming-only system adds an SD card slot and 512MB of internal memory that are both key to significantly expanded features that put it into closer contention with the iPod touch and other media devices with gaming as a central feature. An outer three-megapixel camera and inner VGA (0.3 megapixels) camera that can respectively be used to snap outside photos or personal portraits; built-in image apps and games alike can use the feature.
Sonnet Technologies on Thursday unveiled the Aria Extreme N PCI, a new 802.11n PCI/PCI-X card that provides high-speed wireless communication for Powe Mac G4 and G5 computers. Sonnet advertises that the adapter offers twice the range and 2.5 times the speed of a conventional 802.11g card, communicating over three antennas. The Aria Extreme N PCI card is selling for $100, and is available from Sonnet directly or certain retailers.
Fujitsu and Western Digital are allegedly in conversation over the purchase of Fujitsu's hard drive business sector, an inside source tells Reuters. Despite fierce denial on Fujitsu's part, the news sent the company's share price shooting up 3.3 percent on the Nikkei market to ¥620 (~$5.80), since Fujitsu's hard drive unit is currently losing money. The sale talks come as Fujitsu faces increased competition from Seagate and others, as well as plummeting storage prices.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.99 ( + 0.29 )
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
Google prevails in UK street mapping case
Possibly setting the stage for other court battles in the UK, a High Court fight between Google and StreetMap.EU has concluded in Google's favor. StreetMap.EU claimed that Google's dominance in the field destroyed the 20-year-old firm's business, when Google started promoting its own service in search results over the older company's -- the judge disagreed. Commercial director Kate Sutton said after the judgment that "StreetMap has been frozen in time; because of what Google did, StreetMap has not been able to properly invest in the website since 2007." An appeal is planned. http://bloom.bg/1KKhECt