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Apple deals: reduced Macs
With the release of the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models Apple's online store has reduced the price on their previous generation portable Mac models. The 2.1GHz MacBook with 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive is now available for $849 in white, prices go up to $1099 for the black 2.4GHz model with 2GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. The 15-inch MacBook Pros start at $1,349 for 2GB of RAM, 200GB hard drive and a 2.4GHz processor and go up to $1,799 for the 2.6GHz model with 2GB of memory and 200GB hard drive. The 17-inch MacBook Pro models have a starting price of $1999 for a 2.4GHz processor 2GB of memory and 160GB hard drive and peak at $2,399 for a 2.6GHz processor 2GB of memory and 200GB hard drive. Refurbished MacBook Air models have also been reduced. They start at $1349 for the 1.6GHz model with 2GB of memory and 80GB PATA hard drive and go up to $1799 for the 1.8GHz model with 2GB of memory and 64GB solid state drive.
FlopZoom released for Mac
FlopZoom has released an online Texas Hold'em hand history analyzer for Mac. The program shows users their performance, pointing out strengths and weaknesses of players and opponents. The developers designed the app as a training aid for beginners or intermediate players, or an analytical tool for advanced players. As the user plays against a particular opponent more, the results will become more accurate, according to the company.
New MacBooks get patched
Despite being unveiled just this morning, Apple has already unveiled the MacBook, MacBook Pro Software Update 1.2, which allegedly resolves several bug fixes for the included software. While saying little else, the update does mention it resolves compatibility with external displays, in addition to "a variety of software fixes." Apple recommends the patch to all users who purchase the new aluminum/glass MacBook and MacBook Pros.
DealNN: Mac notebooks
Today's deals at DealNN include an array of previous generation portable Macs at discounted prices. First off is the refurbished 2.4GHz MacBook in black priced at $1099, down from $1299 at the Apple store. Next up is the MacBook Air for $1668 (after mail in rebate) with 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 80GB hard drive from MacMall. The 2.2GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $1399 after a mail in rebate from OnSale.com. MacConnection.com is offering the 20-inch 2.4GHz 20-inch iMac for $1099 after $50 mail in rebate. The last item for today is a Samsung Blu-ray player for $226, which is $173 off the list price of $399.99 and for a limited time get the Ultimate Matrix box set on Blu-ray with your purchase at Amazon.com.
New MacBook trackpads
The new aluminum unibody MacBook and updated MacBook Pro models feature a glass trackpad that lacks the traditional Mac single button. With the new design, the entire surface is clickable, offering an increase in the pad surface of 39 percent. The click zone can be configured in a way that could be attractive to Windows converts, allowing a right click by using two fingers or designating it to a particular zone.
Forum roundup: New MacBook
Forum roundup: Today's hot topic in the MacNN forums today revolves around the release of the new portable Mac lineup as well as the new LED display. The new MacBook Pros are here and forum goers gather to discuss their likes and dislikes of this new model. A compairison of SurgarSync vs. DropBox can be found in this thread. One forum goer is having problems with Safari crashing and looks for assistance and advice from other forum goers. "Is OS X really virus free?" is the question posed by one Fresh-Faced Recruit to the MacNN forums.
Apple's new MacBooks have been built with environmentally conscious materials and compliance with industry standards, a change that has been welcomed by Greenpeace. The activist group had released a campaign, "Green My Apple," that was designed to put pressure on the computer manufacturer to phase out toxic chemicals, improve recycling programs, and challenge the rest of the industry to do the same. The corresponding Greenpeace website was designed to look like Apple's own, and encouraged visitors to add content.
Mac market growth up
Industry analyst firm Gartner unveiled new numbers Tuesday that show Apple maintaining its third place in terms of overall US PC vendor shipments, as well as growing its market share substantially. The report shows that Apple saw almost 30-percent year-over-year growth, moving its marketshare from 7.7-percent to 9.5 percent, widening the gap between it and Acer. HP and Dell's market share remained relatively unchanged, allowing Apple to close in further on its competition.
Intel profits up
Intel's profits gained 12 percent for the third quarter, exceeding Wall Street estimates, despite lackluster sales numbers. The company reported profits of $2 billion compared to $1.79 billion from last year, which increased the earnings per share to 35 cents from 30 cents. The chip manufacturer expects healthy profit margins for the fourth quarter ending in December, however the current economic uncertainty makes for difficult performance forecasting.
Apple posts MacBook stream
Apple on Tuesday posted the video stream for the new laptop event, which saw the introduction of iMac-inspired MacBooks and MacBook Pros, a retooled 24-inch Cinema Display with built-in iSight. The event commences with talks from Apple CEO Steve Jobs and COO Tim Cook, where Cook highlights various reasons for increased Mac sales, with a tongue-in-cheek credit to Vista for part of the influx.
Toshiba updates Satellites
Toshiba on Tuesday announced some detail hardware and software changes to its Satellite range of laptops, including the 13.3-inch U405, 14.1-inch M305 and M305D, 15.4-inch A355 and A305. The Satellites get quicker Intel and AMD processors, ranging from 2.0GHz to 2.26GHz processors from the former and 2.0GHz and 2.1GHz CPUs from the latter. A few new features are also added to some of the Satellites, including Toshiba's face recognition software for access to the computer via the webcam and USB Sleep-and-Charge ports that will charge the batteries of compatible devices even when the laptop is in standby mode.
Panasonic BD burner in '09
Panasonic will bring a Blu-ray recorder and player combo to the US market in the first half of 2009, according to a Tuesday report from HD Guru based on a trip to the CEATEC convention in Japan. While no other details are known about the recorder itself, prices in Japan for the recorders that use Blu-ray laser technology have dropped significantly, with the report having a Sharp Blu-ray burner priced at the equivalent of about $800.
Nikon MX format unveil?
The ongoing and recent rumors regarding a new format from Nikon are about to come to an end, according to a Monday report from a Dutch website that says an announcement is due for October 22nd. The new product will be revealed at renowned Danish photographer Steen Evald's studio in Copenhagen, and members of the press will be invited.
Analysts on new MacBooks
The announcement of a $999 plastic MacBook may be more significant than the revelation of metal MacBooks and MacBook Pros, say analysts with UBS and Piper Jaffray. The former firm notes that while the metal notebooks are more attractive, and boast features such as glass trackpads and better graphics hardware, the $999 system is Apple's first notebook under $1,000, which "could be a key psychological threshold," according to UBS' Maynard Um. Many Windows notebooks are priced between $500 and $1,000.
Toshiba intros projector
Toshiba on Tuesday announced the release of its TDP-WX5400U large venue projector, which features dual 280W lamps for a higher maximum brightness when used together. With both shining, the new projector sports a resolution of 5,400 lumens, and exactly half that, 2,700 lumens, when one is on. An added benefit of the dual-lamp set-up is the ability to continue a presentation on one lamp if the other burns out. To give users the flexibility of optimizing color and brightness settings, the TDP-WX5400U can be outfitted with one of two color wheels; a six-segment RGBCMY wheel and a standard four-segment RGBW wheel.
Pioneer, Qflix DVD burners
Pioneer has teamed up with Qflix to allow users to create DVDs from downloaded content from the video download site, the electronics company announced on Tuesday. The two Pioneer drives, the internal DVR-2920Q and external DVR-X162Q, feature Qflix DVD Download & Burn technology that allow users to save the downloaded movies and TV show collections from CinemaNow on a format that is easy to store, find and play. Like the Dell drives with Qflix technology introduced last month, the Pioneer burners will require special blank discs in order to create movies.
Moto Android Early Leaks
Motorola's first Android phone will be considered a high-end device but will have a unique angle, a Coroflot job posting found by AndroidGuys shows. While Android is said to be useful for both high- and low-end phones, Motorola's first device will be regarded as a smartphone. In a unique twist, however, the company says it will focus on "social networking" with the handset. The effort positions the phone as a device for mainstream users rather than the business audience Motorola has normally courted with its Windows Mobile-based Q series.
Quantenna Wi-Fi Chipsets
California electronics newcomer Quantenna today said it has developed chipsets that it believes should end the problem of adequate Wi-Fi coverage in most homes. The QHS450, QHS600 and QHS1000 all use a unique four-by-four MIMO (Multiple In, Multiple Out) antenna setup that not only reduces the amount of interference that often crops up in walls and other wireless devices but theoretically allows much more bandwidth than regular Wi-Fi. Where current technology hits 300Mbps in peak conditions, a network blanketed with the QHS1000 chip could top out at 600Mbps in data transfers, Quantenna claims.
Romanize Chinese text
Ideographer.com has released Pinyin Dictionary 2.1.0, updating the Chinese Romanization utility for Mac. The new version supports the Chinese tokenization feature in Mac OS X 10.5, and includes bug fixes. The update also has improved transliteration for large texts, an option to disable tone marks, and an option to show only one reading for characters with multiple readings. Also new are punctuation mark preservation, word segmentation and a resizable main window and text input fields.
Flip Mino custom designs
Flip Video on Tuesday announced a partnership with CafePress to offer customers a no-cost option of creating their own exterior color designs for Flip's Flip Mino camcorder. CafePress, which specializes in selling custom designs on products ranging from to coffee mugs to t-shirts, will allow users to create, share and sell designs for the camera. Users who upload their designs can then earn commissions for themselves based on sales, or donate them to non-profit causes.
Quanta MacBook Exclusive
Apple's supplier has not only been named for its new MacBooks but considers the American company a significant client, industry contacts claim today. Well-known southeast Asian supplier Quanta is said to be Apple's sole supplier in 2009 and already considers the Mac producer a crucial component of its sales, with a full fifth of its 2008 shipments alone going to MacBooks. The exact number of shipments to Apple specifically hasn't been set, though its portables are said to be ensuring "strong" shipments of between 38 to 40 million portables to all vendors.
24" gets mini DisplayPort
During Apple's notebook event today, the company launched a new 24-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, arriving in November and featuring a new mini-DisplayPort connection to attach to the latest MacBooks. The new display, rated at 1920x1200 pixels with 16.7 million colors, is styled in a similar fashion to the current line of iMacs, with a black border and minimal metallic edging around a glass-fronted glossy screen. It features an iSight camera and microphone built in with stereo speakers, all of which are fed through a single cable.
Lenovo intros desktop PC
Lenovo on Tuesday introduced a new PC to its desktop offerings, with the H210. The PC will include a choice of Intel dual-core CPUs, as much as 4GB of system memory and hard disks as large as 640GB. Meant as an all-around PC for the entire family, the H210 sports facial recognition software for secure logging in, as well as a new technology it call Bright Vision that automatically adjusts the monitor's screen brightness based on the user's proximity and ambient lighting. The system will also warn users they are sitting too close to the screen to reduce eye strain. Both systems require an optional computer camera, however.
New metal MacBooks
Apple is shipping a slate of new basic MacBooks, complementing its new MacBook Pros. The lowest-cost model has slid in price from $1,099 to $999, and retains a plastic casing, with no specially-backlit keyboard or display. More significant may be the company's new sub-range of MacBooks, which are being built in a similar fashion to the new MacBook Pros, and likewise use metal bodies, backlit keyboards, glass trackpads and LED screen backlighting.
New MacBook Air
Apple has formally announced the redesigned MacBook Air at its special press conference today. The company has confirmed the new "brick" construction, with a case milled from a solid aluminum block, instead of a combination of aluminum and plastic pieces. The processors come from Intel's "Montevina" generation and are offered in 1.6GHz or 1.86GHz variants. Like the new MacBook and MacBook Pro models, they also carry NVIDIA's new GeForce 9400M mainboard and graphics chipset and are said to perform 5X faster in video tasks than the GMA X3100 video in the previous model.
Live: Apple notebook event
Check the extended section of this story for as-it-happens updates on Apple's new MacBook event.
New MacBook Pro revealed
Speaking at a special event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced the existence of a redesigned MacBook Pro. Confirming earlier reports, the notebook is being built using a new construction process, similar to the one for the MacBook Air; each system starts as a brick of solid aluminum, from which material is initially removed, rather than added to. The resulting systems are said to be simultaneously lighter and stronger.
Pages Templates 3.0 ships
Jumsoft has released Pages Templates 3.0, a collection of 60 document templates for the iWork suite. The package includes 40 carryovers from the version 2.0 product, with 20 new templates, including extra brochures, invitations, memos, invoices, newsletters and more. The new templates focus on green, velvet and red color schemes, and have inside selections with up to 30 themed varieties.
Aqua Data Studio 7.0
AquaFold has released Aqua Data Studio 7.0, updating the database administration tool (for Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and others) with a new Entity Relationship (ER) Modeler. The Modeler allows users to create, save and modify diagrams, and extract diagrams from databases. The contents of ER diagrams, once edited or created, are scriptable and can be converted into schema objects, allowing both forward and reverse engineering of database structures.
Apple workers and NVIDIA
A labor union intends to use today's Apple notebook announcement to gain support in a move against NVIDIA, according to a statement. Unite Here says it will use the event to persuade Apple workers to cooperate in any Securities and Exchange Commission investigations of NVIDIA, from which it is pushing for a chip recall. Apple is among many companies that build NVIDIA hardware into their computers, and the union says it has already provided fliers on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to employees of HP and Dell.
ATT Matrix QFire and Slate
AT&T today delved into messaging-focused feature phones with four new devices. The Pantech Matrix (pictured) is the spiritual descendant of the Duo and carries the same dual slider that switches either to a full QWERTY keyboard or a number pad. It also carries a similar 1.3-megapixel camera and supports 3G audio and video streaming plus the carrier's music store downloads. It comes in blue, green and red trim and is priced at $80 on a two-year plan or $280 while contract-free.
EagleFiler 1.4 ships
C-Command has released v1.4 of EagleFiler, its organizational software. The app is used to archive files such as images, web pages, PDF files and word processor documents; these files can then be organized into folders, and given tags or notes that aid in later search functions. The v1.4 update introduces the concept of custom smart folders, which add items automatically based on user-defined criteria. These folders can now also be placed within broader ones.
Sony Movie on HDTV First
Sony today made good on a summer promise by becoming one of the first to premiere a major movie rental on a networked video hub rather than releasing it simultaneously with or after its physical release. Owners of the company's Internet Video Link for its BRAVIA HDTV sets will have the option of downloading a rental version of Hancock from October 28th, or nearly a month before the November 25th street date. This will include both a 720p HD stream as well as both high- and low-bitrate 480p versions for those with slower connections.
iPods at Toys R Us
People will soon be able to buy iPods and iPod accessories at Toys 'R' Us, the retail chain has announced. While a firm date has not been set, flyers announcing the event are expected to be sent out October 19th, and the company has already revealed which particular products will be carried. Shoppers will have access to the iPod touch, the fourth-generation Nano, and the blue, silver and pink versions of the Shuffle.
Palm intros new Centros
Smartphone maker Palm on Tuesday announced it will soon release special edition Centro handsets for the Sprint network in Olive green and Vibrant rose in time for the holiday season. Apart from the new colors, the handsets also get a doubling of their built-in memory to 128MB, along with a few new applications. These include Facebook for Palm and Google Maps with My Location features. The former will allow users to quickly respond to messages, upload photos and videos and otherwise interact with the popular social network, while the latter will allows them to pinpoint their location and show nearby points of interest, as well as offer directions and updated traffic reports.
USBConnect Quicksilver ATT
AT&T on Tuesday morning quietly picked up the USBConnect Quicksilver as its latest external modem. The adapter made by Option uses a new Icera 3G chipset that supports all three major HSPA frequencies while creating one of the smallest devices available; the new adapter is small enough to come with a swivel cover that protects the USB port when the modem isn't in use. AT&T estimates real-world download speeds as high as 1.7Mbps and uploads as quick as 1.2Mbps.
NVIDIA Fails Apple and HP
The increasingly widening scope of NVIDIA graphics failures now includes certain Apple and HP desktop systems, according to a pair of reports. Officially, HP now says that several variants of its Pavilion Slimline mini-tower using certain GeForce video chipsets have had their warranties partly extended to address the same symptoms suffered by notebooks with the defective parts, including a loss of video output and occasionally a refusal to start up altogether. The PC maker is extending the warranties on these problems for an extra year or up until December 31st, 2009 and will replace the mainboards for free under the plan.
Booq Taipan sleeves
Booq has released a new line of neoprene sleeves, designed specifically for the newly-released Apple MacBooks. The Taipan skin line is hand-sewn in four different sizes, and shaped to fit the notebooks perfectly. The sleeves are crafted in contrasting colors with accent stitching, and should protect a MacBook from scratches. The sizes are specifically intended to fit the 13-inch MacBook, the MacBook Air, a 15-inch Mac or PC notebook and the 17-inch MacBook Pro.
Caboodle 1.2 released
Deajl Systems has released an update to its Caboodle software, which allows users to store, organize and track information. With Caboodle users are able to arrange items in an outline-like hierarchy, and include both structured fields and free-form text and pictures in each entry. The new version focuses more on fixing bugs and enhancing existing features. rather than introducing new ones.
InFocus X9 HD projector
InFocus Corporation on Tuesday announced the availability of its newest DLP projector, the X9, which is positioned in the company's offerings as a lower cost home theater projector, slotting in below the IN80-series. The X9 sports a native resolution of 720p and 16:9 aspect ratio, although it will support 1080i signals and 16:10, 4:3 and 5:4 ratios. Its brightness is rated at 1,800 lumens, while the contrast ratio is fixed at 2500:1. The 180W light bulb will last 3,500 hours, or 4,000 when in a 150W Eco Mode.
New Porteges Tecras in US
Toshiba today quickly followed up its Canada-first notebook launches with their American equivalents. The Portégé lineup gets three updates that include the R600, its ultra-lightweight 12-inch portable that weighs 2.4 pounds while still carrying a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo, an internal DVD burner and up to a 128GB solid-state drive for storage; the upgrade further boasts a better LED-backlit, transflective display suitable for use outside. Prices start at $2,099.
Speed Download updates
Yazsoft has posted updates for its two Speed Download applications, which manage and resume downloads, and (depending on the version) can provide miscellaneous services such as an FTP client, an RSS reader, and support for iDisk and WebDAV. Speed Download 5.0.7 and SD Lite 1.0.4 have been newly optimized for Mac OS X 10.5.5, and now support Apple's long-standing AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) format.
Bento 2.0 released
Approximately 10 months after its introduction, FileMaker has released v2.0 of its personally-oriented database software, Bento, focusing on user-suggested improvements. Rather than a complete revamp, this version is said to represent fine tuning. FileMaker has added 10 new themes, direct links to Apple Mail, easier import/export from Numbers and Excel, and a more "Mac-like" interface.
Moto Krave at Verizon
Verizon today launched the Krave ZN4, Motorola's first touchscreen phone made solely for CDMA networks. The handset closely follows the design of the normally China- and GSM-oriented MING but is spun as a media-friendly device with a MediaFLO tuner for live digital TV, media player software, up to 8GB microSDHC storage, and a regular 3.5mm headphone jack. A two-megapixel camera and Bluetooth with stereo sound are also part of the core design.
Samsung Notebooks Enter US
Samsung this morning stepped up competition by jumping into the American notebook market with several models, including some of its most recent systems previously reserved only for Europe and Korea. The 13.3-inch X360 and 14.1-inch X460 headline the launch as Samsung's thinnest and lightest systems. As with the original version, the X360 is positioned against the MacBook Air with a 13.3-inch display and a slightly thicker (0.6 to 1.2 inches) body in exchange for a lighter 2.8-pound weight; it carries either a 1.2GHz or 1.4GHz ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo, either a 120GB hard drive or 128GB solid-state drive, and full expansion that includes three USB ports, Ethernet, as well as both HDMI and VGA out.
More laptop details
Continuing the stream of last minute reports and confirming our earlier report, Apple will indeed introduce MacBook Pros as well as MacBooks at Tuesday morning's event: the new laptops will feature a single buttonless (but clickable) glass trackpad. According to Daring Fireball, the "new trackpad is similar to the Air's, in that it is bigger and supports additional multi-touch gestures. But unlike the Air's, the MacBook Pro's new trackpad is made of glass, and is a button itself. You just press and it clicks." Confirming MacNN's report, Apple will not ship a 17-inch MacBook Pro model (due to the production issues reported earlier), but will bump the storage/RAM (and perhaps processor) to fill the high-end gap.
Toshiba Sat Pro S300/S300M
Toshiba's on Monday announced two new Satellite Pro notebooks: both the Satellite Pro S300M and Satellite Pro S300 are value-/entry-level business laptops and now ship with a two-year warranty and port replicator support for (hot) docking. The 14.1-inch laptops include Fingerprint readers, business card reader software, and face recognition software for security by using the integrated webcam to grant/deny access to the laptop as well as fourth-generation EasyGuard Technology with PC Health Monitor, a preventative maintenance utility that continuously checks the performance and functionality of a laptop's critical hardware components and will alert users when the system is in need of a tune up.
Microsoft claims Apple tax
In advance of Apple's alleged sub-$1000 laptop announcement, Microsoft's vice president of Windows Consumer Product Marketing Brad Brooks claims that potential users will still be subject to a hidden "Apple tax". According to an interview with CNET, Brooks cites the lack of Windows or the cost of adding it to the machine as a defining factor, or the availability of technology like Blu-ray or HDMI. It is interesting to note the presence of Entourage on the Mac, however, since Brooks says the lack of Outlook on the Mac is a setback.
CalDigit RAID systems
CalDigit has released the VR two drive RAID system and two new 12TB versions of its HDOne and HDPro lines of RAID storage devices. The VR is two drive RAID array that combines features of the FirewireVR and S2VR Duo, but in a new chassis. Connection options include Firewire 400/800, USB 2.0, and eSATA. RAID 0 and 1 modes are supported, with speeds claimed to reach 200MB per second. Software is provided that can be configured to send e-mail notification of drive problems or failures.
If you need an office suite for the Mac, your choices used to be limited to Microsoft Office 2008 or Apple's iWork. Unfortunately, neither option offered a complete solution. Office 2008 can share the latest file formats with Office 2007 for Windows, but the Mac and Windows versions of Office neither look nor work exactly alike. If you're already familiar with Office 2007 on Windows, Office 2008 for the Mac will seem different enough to frustrate and confuse you. Apple's iWork is the only other office suite solution, but it lacks a Windows version. For a true cross-platform office suite, you can now rely on the open source OpenOffice 3.0.
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