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Apple has released two new Get a Mac ads with holiday themes, "Tree Trimming" and "I Can Do Anything." Both videos are animated in a style reminiscent of the stop-motion technique employed by the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special, although the PC and Mac characters are still voiced by John Hodgman and Justin Long, respectively. The holiday series diverges from the attacks against Vista and gets back to a lighter, more humorous tone.
Despite Apple's limited promotion of the Mac platform to businesses, 68 percent of companies now anticipate allowing end users to bring OS X computers into their networks in the next 12 months, according to an Information Technology Intelligence Corporation survey. Laura DiDio, an analyst for ITIC, noted that the numbers mark a two-fold increase over the results of a similar survey conducted 8 months ago. She described the phenomenon as a "consumerization" of IT as many employees are "begging to use a Mac."
Bare Bones Software has released the latest version of its HTML and text editor, BBEdit 9.1. The update includes an enhanced interface for working via FTP and SFTP, and is claimed to offer enhanced file-transfer performance. The program also comes with a copy of Consolas Regular, an anti-aliased code editing font. An option has been added to the text-files preference plane that will trim the trailing non-vertical whitespace from a file. Users can also include dictionary words in the completion list.
Rogue Amoeba has released Radioshift Touch, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to tune into Internet radio stations. The program can be used to access thousands of streams, including local AM and FM stations. Audio data is accessible with a Wi-Fi, EDGE, or 3G connection, while a SmartStream feature is designed to automatically find the optimum bitrate for the current network conditions. The stations can be searched by name, popularity, or genre.
MOTU has unveiled the latest version of its mobile FireWire audio interface, the Traveler-mk3. The device now offers V-Limit signal overload protection, hi-Z guitar inputs, a 32-bit floating-point DSP and two banks of optical inputs and outputs. The traveler can be bus-powered directly from a notebook or desktop computer, or attached to an external battery pack if needed. The system allows all 28 inputs and 30 outputs to be used simultaneously.
Helium Foot Software has announced Highbrow, a browser management utility for Macs. Allowing users to switch between web browsers at a whim, the program presents three main options: choosing a preferred browser, the most recently-opened one, or manual selection. Highbrow provides a small menu on the Menu Bar that enables users to simply click on a browser of choice and surf the web, without having to adjust preferences in an individual browser.
Kodak's 7.6-inch organic LED (LED) digital photo frame introduced back in September is now available for purchase at Amazon, priced at a heady $1,000. The widescreen frame combines a resolution of 800x480 with an HDTV-like 30,000:1 contrast ratio. The new technology also allows a full 180-degree viewing angle both horizontally and vertically.
Cyber E Sport has introduced its wireless Orbita Mouse, which breaks from tradition by allowing users to scroll through web pages, play video games and interact with image or video-editing software simply by spinning its ball bearing-suspended top. Its base plugs into either Macs or PCs with a USB port and receives the signal over the 2.4GHz band.
SerialBase ($2) is an app designed to work like the default Contacts app, but storing serial numbers as opposed to phone numbers. Aside from these it can record the likes of activation numbers, program websites and tech support e-mails. The information can then be exported to Mail and sent to a desktop for storage or as backup.
Korea's Big Beam has recently unveiled its latest portable music player, Ken D. The sports a simple design and is built around a 2.8-inch touchscreen. Specifications on the device are thin, but it is known it weighs 2.1 ounces and supports MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AVI and APE audio formats, among others, and can be had with 4GB and 8GB flash memory capacities.
Flash memory maker OCZ on Friday announced the upcoming release of its Gold Series SDHC cards designed to offer videographers and photographers with fast, Class 6, 150X or 6MBps, write speeds. Available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities, the cards are meant for use in DSLR cameras with high megapixel count sensors and HD video camcorders where data transfer rates are still important.
Amid the uncertainty surrounding holiday retail sales and the current economic recession, several analysts on Monday have presented contrasting forecasts for Apple stock. Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey has downgraded AAPL from "buy" to "neutral," while Tom Smith of Standard and Poor's pushed his rating the opposite direction with a change from "buy on a valuation basis" to "strong buy." Bailey observed that shipments of MacBooks, iPod nanos, and iPhones fell slightly below expectations for the quarter.
Samsung on Monday announced it will soon begin shipping its S5L2010 series of media processors for use in the next generation of digital photo frames. The high-performance chips will allow digital photo frame makers to deliver products that are able to decode 57-megapixel JPEG images in one second as well as include touchscreen interfaces and digital DMB-TV tuners. The Samsung chips will allow frames to play MP3, WMA, OGG and AAC audio files along with MPEG1/2/4, Xvid and Motion JPEG movie files.
The Federal Communications Commission has canceled a meeting scheduled for December 18th that aimed to address some of the issues relating to the FCC's sale of the 2,100MHz Advanced Wireless Spectrum 3 (AWS-3) based largely on a letter sent from a senator and congressman, according to a Monday report. In the letter sent on Friday, Western Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller and California Congressman Henry Waxman urged FCC chairman Kevin Martin to concentrate instead on the upcoming digital TV transition and other, more pressing matters during December's meeting. Despite the cancellation, proponents of the auction such as M2Z Networks point out that commissioners such as Rockefeller and Waxman do, in fact, have a statutory deadline by which to vote on the AWS-3 auction's agenda items.
Hold-out major labels are split on what they want before allowing DRM-free tracks on the iTunes Store, anonymous sources claim. Although Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed to want DRM-free tracks on iTunes, only EMI and a host of independent labels have so far offered any material which can be copied without arbitrary restrictions. Apple benefits financially from DRM by forcing iTunes customers to use iPods for many tracks; this is not why DRM-free tracks have been slow in proliferating however, according to the sources.
A leak posted today by retailer J&R has unintentionally revealed a new 16-inch media center notebook from HP. The Pavilion dv6 would have a similar 16:9 ratio display to the earlier HDX16t but would have the chromed look of the current dv line and slightly lower performance to drop the price. A base model would start at just $800 and would carry a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and basic GMA 4500MHD video. The system would nonetheless have 4GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive and 802.11n Wi-Fi as standard.
A new reliability ranking published today by support firm RESCUECOM cites Apple and Panasonic as the most reliable computer brands. Basing the figures on the number of help calls relative to each company's approximate market share, the company gives Apple a clear lead with a score of 700 for having the fewest number of calls between January and October. Panasonic scored significantly less at 489 but is still considered a standout as its ToughBooks have gained in market share but haven't triggered a proportionate increase in requests for help.
Amazon MP3 has managed to glean a significant slice of the US digital music market but hasn't had a noticeable impact on iTunes, new data passed on to the WSJ by music executives suggests. Although Amazon hasn't yet published data that would confirm latest numbers, both label officials and new Billboard information point to Amazon having as little as 5 percent and as much as 10 percent of the market while Apple's store continues to have 70 percent or more. The lack of change for iTunes indicates Amazon having taken share from rivals rather than upsetting the incumbent leader.
Fresh after announcing the general changes in Mac OS X 10.5.6, Apple has posted a list of the security updates present in the new code. The company has for instance addressed several possible Trojan attacks, launched through images, PDF documents, CPIO archives, ISO files and web cookies. Similarly, Apple has expanded the list of potentially unsafe file types which will trigger Mac OS' Download Validation feature.
Fujitsu recently introduced a number of new notebooks in six new series, with a pair of Atom-powered, 5.6-inch convertible PCs in the LOOX U series as the headliners. At the same time, the computer maker has released details for the 16-inch Biblo NW, the 12.1-inch Biblo LOOX R, 14.1-inch Biblo S, 14.1- and 13.3-inch Biblo MG, and the 15.4- and 15.6-inch Biblo NF.
As anticipated last week, Apple has posted its latest update to Mac OS X, v10.5.6. Available through the Software Update service or direct download, the patch consists mostly of dozens of fixes and performance enhancements, for issues such as sync and graphics. Sync reliability has been improved for Address Book, portable home directories and most notably MobileMe, which should now propagate contact, calendar and bookmark changes within a minute of their being saved.
Garmin's long-delayed nuvifone, originally expected to ship in summer of this year, may finally be nearing release, documents show. The nuvifone G60 has passed through the FCC, under the moniker of the ASUS Calf; this could indicate that ASUS is responsible for actually building the phone, while Garmin handles aspects of software, direction and branding. Phones approved by the FCC typically ship within a few months, though this is not guaranteed.
Cowon this morning said it has started shipping the S9 Curve to the US. Like the original version, the media player is Cowon's closest equivalent to the iPod touch and centers on a 3.3-inch active matrix OLED with a capacitive touchscreen; the display is both more color-accurate than Apple's and supports the same pressure-free finger input, although without multi-touch gestures. The display is limited to 480x272 is supported by a processor that can decode 720x480 MPEG-4 video versus the 640x480 limit of the iPod.
Microsoft has released a new app for the iPhone, Seadragon Mobile. The software is an extension of Microsoft's Photosynth image-browsing technology, which links hundreds or thousands of photos together into a single image, measuring as large as a gigapixel. People can then explore the material seamlessly, with little to no loading time as they zoom in on each detail.
Samsung is bringing its eight-megapixel Pixon touchscreen cameraphone over to the US as an AT&T device, an FCC filing shows. The phone also known as the M8800 has shown up in agency testing with newly added support for HSPA-based 3G access over the 850MHz and 1,900MHz bands, revealing that the phone has been specifically modified to run on AT&T's network. Carrier branding and other changes aren't immediately visible.
Nokia today quickly followed up last week's introduction of the N85 for the US with a similar adaptation in the N79 NAM. The North America Model edition of Nokia's fashion smartphone adds US-native 3G data for AT&T's HSPA network and is otherwise as capable as the previously Europe-centered original, which comes with a five-megapixel camera, GPS and Wi-Fi. Its design focuses on swappable backplates that let users customize the look in a way normally off-limits to smartphones.
(Updated with Taiwan information) Apple is now listing which countries and carriers around the world are carrying unlocked versions of the iPhone, the company's website reveals. Recently added to the support page for activating an iPhone 3G is a "Carrier offers authorized unlocking" column, with a simple checkmark for each company. The page also lists whether or not a carrier offers a locked phone, which, while eliminating freedom, may reduce the cost of the hardware and/or monthly fees.
Personal GPS device maker Magellan Navigation announced on Monday that it will sell its consumer products division to MiTAC International, according to a report today. MiTAC is Magellan's competitor, as it makes its own GPS devices, including the Mio Knight Rider GPS. The deal is expected to close sometime in January, with more details as part of a more official, final announcement expected to be released before then, most likely at CES.
Apple may be close to releasing a smaller iPhone, a case leak from China suggests. Coming from the same site that accurately leaked cases for the current iPod nano and iPod touch, the shots of an XSKN case show a device which is about 20 percent shorter than the 3G model and slightly narrower; thickness is unknown but doesn't appear substantially thicker than the iPhone 3G, with which it shares its tapered design and a likely chrome bezel. The device accordingly has a smaller home button but keeps a camera and side controls for the ringer and volume.
Buyers of the Taiwanese iPhone will find it unlocked, reports say. Although the phone's official carrier in the country -- Chunghwa Telecom -- has in the past insisted that the phone would only work on its network, in practice, the new iPhone will accept SIM cards from other carriers' networks without any hardware or software hacks. The only tradeoff, users say, is that Chunghwa's Hami services become inaccessible.
Shiny Frog has announced Img2icns, an icon creation tool that is capable of converting both images to icons or switching icons back to images. The software is compatible with most image formats supported by Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. A history function can be used to track any created icons for later use. Users can also automatically attach icons to files by dropping a file in the preview box, or export the creations as iPhone and Favicon icons, finder folders, or icon files.
PlayFirst has launched its latest puzzle adventure game for the Mac, Nightshift Legacy: The Jaguarís Eye. A sequel to The Nightshift Code, players take control of old characters Mike and Isabel as they travel throughout Spain in search of what happened to Isabelís grandparents and the secret of the Jaguarís Eye. Featuring over six chapters with a minimum of seven levels in each, users will visit more than 20 different locations while interacting with old historical characters such as Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera.
Macgamestore.com has announced an open beta of Mac Games Arcade, an application that can be used to manage, download, and purchase games. Providing hundreds of choices from over 100 Mac developers, players can view descriptions, features, screenshots, and system requirements of any game before buying. Users can also keep a complete history of software purchases, allowing any title to be re-downloaded and reinstalled. All applications are automatically downloaded and installed after the customer verifies the choice.
Sprint today began shipping its promised BlackBerry Curve 8350i. The smartphone is the first modern BlackBerry for the carrier's Nextel iDEN push-to-talk (PTT) network and also brings Wi-Fi, which lets users tap the cellular network for calls while still accessing Internet features. It also brings a group talk feature that lets PTT work with as many as 20 people in the same conversation.
ViewSonic today made the last-minute introduction of the VT2430. The 24-inch LCD is conceived as a secondary HDTV that also doubles as a PC display and carries both an HDMI 1.3 connection as well as VGA; either can display at up to a native 1080p versus the 720p of most TVs at the same size. The screen also has a 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio uncharacteristic of most PC displays but is still said to have a fast 5ms pixel response time.
AMD on Monday catered to the budget set with a new, faster version of the Athlon X2. The 7000 series is the first based directly on the "Stars" architecture used for Phenom chips and carries both a 2MB smart Level 3 cache absent on previous Athlons and a faster 3.6GHz HyperTransport bus (up from 2GHz), all of which are said contribute to better performance per clock. The switch from quad-core to dual-core and a smaller 1MB Level 2 cache appear the only concessions in the name of price.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.7 ( -0.57 )
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