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In brief: AssistiveWare has announced that it will be previewing a few of its upcoming applications at the BETT show in London, England. There will be both new iPhone and Mac applications previewed at their booth (SN47) over the course of the event. ATTO has announced that it is beginning a partnership with Xyratex to offer a new video production tool at a more affordable price. Meanwhile, an Apple community member has created and released their own collection of Pages templates.
Haier tonight added two more players to the Rhapsody ibiza line that both share direct parallels to Apple players. The ibiza Touch (pictured above) appears a higher-end counterpart to the ibiza Theatre that adds a sharper, 2.8-inch 400x240 touchscreen and Wi-Fi, which lets it browse the web, download podcasts and Real Rhapsody subscriptions, and tune Internet radio. It shares the Theatre's Bluetooth for pairing wireless headphones. Battery life drops accordingly and sees the Touch run for just 15 hours of AAC, Audible, MP3, Rhapsody or WMA audio but a relatively long 6 hours of DivX, H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1 or WMA video.
Synectics Business Solutions has announced a new business-version of its BackJack web-based backup service. The new product, version 5.1, was built from the previous enterprise variant but offers an improved account manager for controlling account information, internal support, storage and user-privilege management. The service features 128-bit CAST encryption for data protection, a single-window interface, block-level incremental backups and automatic software updates.
Tripp Lite has released its latest connectivity products, The U224-1R4-R and U224-4R4-R extender hubs that send USB signals over Cat 5 cable. The 1R4 model offers three USB 2.0 ports to connect local peripherals, along with a single-port receiver for connecting an additional remote device. The 4R4 variant allows connection of up to four remote devices to a computer. Users plug the transmitter into the USB port of a computer, then run Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable to the hub at the destination, without the need to install drivers or software.
Macgamestore.com has announced the availability of Hoyle Card Games 2009 which includes Royle Suite, a free online service that allows users to compete against other players around the world. The software includes over 75 unique titles along with rules, tips and strategies. A face creator can be used to customize a character, with options for facial features and clothes. Gamers can challenge computer opponents, with several skill levels, or play against friends by using the same computer.
Synthe FX has released the latest version of its control app, Luminair 1.1.5, that allows users to manage and view intelligent DMX lighting fixtures and consoles directly from the iPhone or iPod touch interface. The update offers performance enhancements, particularly with projects containing large numbers of tracks. A number of bugs have been fixed and the company added a 10-percent-off coupon for Enttec's ODE Art-Net to DMX converter.
Native Instruments has released the latest version of its studio software, Guitar Rig 3.2. The update includes a new MIDI input filter function, mono plugins tailored for AU and RTAS, reduced memory usage and other minor fixes. Although the software works cross-platform, support for Vista 64 has been added along with 64-bit drivers for the Rig Kontrol and Session I/O hardware. The program works in conjunction with the Rig Kontrol 3 foot pedal that features an on-board soundcard for connection to a computer and control over several acoustic parameters.
Yahoo has announced that Former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz will serve as the new CEO, replacing the company founder Jerry Yang who acknowledged his departure several months ago. The transition could bolster fresh negotiations with Microsoft, given that Yang was heavily criticized for killing the original acquisition deal. Interestingly enough, Microsoft recently hired a Yahoo former executive, Qi Lu, to run its Online Services Group. Lu will direct the software giant's online search and advertising projects relating to Windows Live.
The man behind "Bring Back Steve Jobs" flyers at last week's Macworld Expo says the stunt was not meant as a slam against Apple. Gleb Budman and his colleagues were told by Apple representatives to stop handing out flyers to Expo attendees lined up for Apple's keynote on Tuesday morning. Budman says the message was meant as a "compliment" to Steve Jobs -- and a plea for Apple to reverse its decision to abandon the Expo after this year.
Apple may be looking to merge the mapping and calendar functions of iPhones, a newly-published patent application suggests. At present, iPhone owners looking to find their way to an event marked in their calendar must memorize any addresses and look them up manually within Google Maps. Under the proposed scheme, any addresses associated within an event could be viewable from a quickly-referenced map.
A chronic firmware problem is triggering failures in Seagate's current-generation Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives, according to owners in the company's forums, NewEgg buyers and elsewhere. The disk series, particularly the 1TB model, reportedly suffers from a bug triggered on boot that incorrectly locks up the drive as a protective measure and prevents the system from recognizing the storage from then onwards. The problem appears tied to firmware from drives issued in Thailand but isn't exclusive to models from those factories.
Amazon's lawsuit against a state of New York law that has online retailers having to collect taxes from residents of a state despite not having a physical office or base in the state has been thrown out of court by a judge on Monday. The law, passed in April and called the Commission-Agent Provision, names any affiliate linking to Amazon or any other online retailer that is responsible for more than $10,000 in sales as a part of Amazon or any online retailer in question and thereby entitles the state to collect taxes on the sales. Now, short of a successful trial in the Court of Appeals, Amazon and other online retailers will be forced to collect and pay taxes from every sale to a New York resident, which could set a likely damaging precedent to online sales.
The Gateway LT1004U netbook is now available at certain Office Depot locations in the US, without any sort of announcement from the PC maker itself, according to a Tuesday Engadget report. The netbook sports an 8.9-inch, 1024x800 LCD screen and weighs 2.2lbs. It is powered by Intel's 1.6GHz Atom CPU along with 1GB of RAM and offers 802.11g Wi-Fi.
At the 2009 CES in the HD Radio display, there was a demonstration of the smallest application of an HD Radio chip in the form of the KRI Armband Portable HD Radio Receiver. What is basically a portable HD Radio device with MP3 playback capabilities shows the evolution of HD Radio as it can be packaged into ever smaller devices.
Recently discovered FCC filings suggest a new Motorola handset will soon be shipping. The FCC documents reveal the unnamed clamshell will be offered in both a dual-band CDMA version as well as a tri-band CDMA handset with support for the 1,700MHz AWS band used by carriers MetroPCS and Cricket.
Problems with Mac OS X Server are causing some corporate networks to come to a crawl, complaints from network administrators indicate. The problem is believed to stem specifically from Apple File Protocol, as used by Mac OS X Leopard Server; whereas Leopard typically consumes only a portion of the CPU power on an Xserve, some administrators have noticed quad- and eight-core Xserves becoming non-functional due to AFP activity. CPU burden can become as bad as 800 percent, according to one complaint.
Slacker has released the latest version of its Slacker Radio service as an app for the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can listen to songs from the company's music library that includes millions of tracks from a variety of artists and genres. The app can access over 100 stations, while custom creations can be configured to suit personal taste. Music discovery features provide extra information such as artist bios and album reviews.
Western Digital is on the verge of launching a record-setting hard drive, according to a tip sent to Fudzilla. Corroborated by a store listing, the leak hints at a Caviar Green model, the WD20EADS, that should top 2TB using and double the capacity of the drive maker's current line. The Green label will be earned through a power-efficient design that winds down to 5,400RPM from the normal 7,200RPM under lower demand.
Kids will soon be able to play with LEGO-branded electronics, as the European blocks toymaker has recently entered into a licensing agreement with Digital Blue, which already makes Disney- and Batman-branded electronics. The LEGO line of portable electronics will include digital and video cameras, MP3 players and walkie talkies, with plans for home electronics such as boom boxes and alarm clock radios.
ioSafe has debuted the Solo, an external hard drive that offers up to 1.5TB of storage and features protection against fire or water damage. The company claims that the housing can withstand fire temperatures up to 1550 degrees Fahrenheit and flood protection down to a 10 foot depth for three days. Along with the drive, customers will also receive up to $1000 toward third-party forensic drive data recovery services that can be used if the devices sustain enough damage to prevent direct access to information by standard means.
Network hardware producer Cisco hopes to up-end the home Internet business with word that the company is developing a 320Mbps cable modem. The DPC3212 is one of the first cable modems using the DOCSIS 3.0 standard to crack the 300Mbps mark and does so through a new Broadcom chip that bonds eight cable channels together instead of four to reach the peak speed.
Citi's research arm has adopted a more pessimistic view on Apple's prospects, the Associated Press reports. A key analyst at Citi, Richard Gardner, has lowered his price target for Apple stock from $153 to $132, and also reduced earnings predictions for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Gardner is further pessimistic about iPhone shipments for the fourth quarter of 2008, which he suggests will slip below 4 million. By contrast, the third quarter produced 6.9 million in shipments.
Zephyr ($1) allows users to express thoughts by writing or drawing on a snow covered screen. The application senses each touch and tilt to supplement each message with a wind sound. Gentle writing might be accompanied by the sound of a lightly blowing breeze while more quickly drawn designs might generate the sound of blustery winds.
Verizon on Tuesday held a quiet introduction for the LG VX8360. The flip phone sits in the carrier's lineup as an entry- to mid-range music phone and has music controls on its outer face for pausing and skipping tracks; it also comes with microSDHC support for cards up to 8GB and stereo speakers to play its AAC or MP3 music. Verizon expectedly gives the phone support for V CAST music downloads that include Rhapsody subscriptions.
Italian PC and TV maker Olidata has introduced a new line of ultra-thin notebooks at CES meant as an alternative to the MacBook Air. The U-Leader Design brand includes two notebooks, both of which were designed in partnership with Intel, and shares many design cues and hardware specs with the thin Apple notebook. The Olidata Conte weighs about 3.5lbs and measures less than 0.9 inches at its thickest point. Both versions of the new notebook will sport the same Intel Core 2 Duo S chip as the MacBook Air, though it's not clear whether the 1.6GHz, the 1.86GHz or both will be offered.
Storage builder Seagate has announced two new hard drives, the Cheetah 15K.7 and NS.2. The drives are intended explicitly for enterprise storage, but come in the more conventional 3.5-inch format instead of the 2.5-inch size used by many corporations. The 15K.7 is claimed to be the fastest 3.5-inch enterprise drive, rated at 15,000rpm with a seek time of 3.4ms. The drive can also be connectied through 6Gbps SAS 2.0 or 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces.
California developer Troll Touch has announced the availability of its internally integrated touchscreen system for Apple’s recently released 24-inch LED Cinema display. Already available for Apple's 20- and 30-inch Cinema displays, the product joins the company’s lineup of high-resolution, analog resistive touchscreen systems which support user input via fingertip, gloved hand or stylus. Powered via an internal USB connection, Troll Touch says that its custom touchscreen overlay design and innovative component integration technique does not alter the machine’s form factor in any way. To the casual observer, the system does not appear to have been modified.
Lenovo on Tuesday introduced three new desktops, including its first-ever nettop. At the high end, the IdeaCentre K220 and K230 are both upgrades to the older K210 and add options for faster Core 2 Quad chips as well more storage headroom (up to 1TB), Blu-ray and GeForce 9300M GE integrated video capable of full HD decoding. The PC builder makes each model a trade-off with the K220 having an optional webcam with face recognition but a maximum 4GB of memory; the K230 drops the webcam choice but handles up to 8GB of memory.
Apple may occupy an extremely large portion of the global smartphone market if current trends continue, says Generator Research. The firm claims that by 2013 Apple may hold as much as 40 percent of the market, a figure which would necessarily come at the expense of other cellphone makers like Nokia. Although currently one of the largest smartphone producers, it is thought that Nokia may suffer most, dropping from 40 to 20 percent.
Sprint on Tuesday announced the release of the Samsung Instinct in pink, accompanying it with a $30 price drop to $100 for both this and the original black model. The price drop is offered for a limited but unspecified time with a two-year contract and with a $100 mail-in rebate.
The replacement for current FCC chairman Kevin Martin may be one of the most public advocates of net neutrality, according to separate tips sent to the Wall Street Journal as well as the Washington Post. Those near President-elect Obama's transition team and lawmakers in the US capital reportedly say Obama has chosen venture capitalist, former FCC worker and presidential campaign adviser Julius Genachowski to serve as chairman for the government regulator.
Adobe has released v3.5 of its two main Flash server products, Flash Media Interactive Server and Flash Media Streaming Server. The pair function as a backbone for supplying Flash content to a wide audience; Interactive Server concentrates on tasks such as gaming and VoIP/webcam chat, while Streaming Server is intended simply for broadcasting live or pre-recorded Flash video. Both titles have been improved with dynamic streaming, which encodes video in variable bit rates to ensure smoother playback.
BlueAnt at CES introduced its newest Bluetooth headset, the Q1, or what it calls a mix between the existing Z9 and V1. This means users get dual microphones for noise reduction, and the company claims it can cancel out direct 10mph winds. Like the V1, users can control the headset with their voice using the BlueGenie Natural Voice Interface, capable of adjusting volume up and down just by saying "volume up" or "volume down."
Sol Robots has released the latest update to its video travel log application, Road Trip Effect Pro 2.7. The program enables users to generate animated trails on maps in QuickTime format, and comes with preset icons and maps. Through the update, users are able to add a key to their map to help show overlapping or simultaneous journeys.
Dell is getting closer to releasing its long-rumored first smartphone, according to a research note by Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Investigations within Dell's supply chain point reportedly indicate that a Dell smartphone is "closer to reality" after roughly two years of discussions with those companies that might offer parts for the device. No specific launch window has been set.
A vulnerability in both the Mac and Windows versions of Safari may present serious privacy concerns, says coder Brian Mastenbrook. The problem, said to have been confirmed by Apple, is specifically related to the application's built-in RSS reader, which may be exploitable to read the contents of a person's hard drive. The exploit is triggerable by visiting a malicious website, and could in theory allow access to items like e-mail and passwords.
Display standards group VESA has revealed early details of DisplayPort 1.2, the next generation of its interface for computer screens. The technology doubles the amount of available bandwidth and lets the format produce images better than either the current 1.1 standard or dual-link DVI. At a minimum, the technology would allow a near-4K resolution of 3840x2160 at 60 frames per second and more advanced 30-bit color; the current specification is limited to 2560x1600 at the same quality.
Monkeybread has released an update to its REALbasic plug-ins, which have finally reached v9.0. The plug-ins expand the basic functionality of the development platform with new classes and functions; v9.0 ads the PNGWriterMBS and PNGReaderMBS classes, for instance, and the CURLMBS.LoadLibraryData function. Other items new to the update -- which concentrates on graphics -- include CIImageMBS.RenderNSImage, more PictureMBS methods, and TiffPictureMBS.ReadRGB.
Sony may be on the verge of recording its first practical loss in 14 years, sources for CNN say. The company is believed to be recording an annual loss equal to about $1.1 billion attributed directly to the poor world economy and its effect on the Japanese Yen, which has strengthened at the expense of Sony's primarily international business. As sales have dropped, the company and others have been pushed to discount electronics and thus reduced Sony's practical income.
Taiwan-area newspaper Economic Daily News today claims that Apple is lining up chip suppliers for its heavily rumored iPhone nano. The report believes that both the well-known chip contracting firm Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company as well as United Microelectronics Corporation are "likely" to get the nod for manufacturing unspecified chips for the cellphone in March with the aim of an actual product launch in June or later.
Fujitsu has announced the HandyDrive MMH2 UB series of 5400 RPM external hard drives with USB 2.0 connections. Available capacities will include 500GB, 400GB, 320GB, and 250GB, with each 2.5-inch HDD protected by a lightweight housing that measures 137.5mm by 83.5mm by 15mm. Included support software can be used to manage partitions or password lock the drives for protection against data theft if the device is lost or stolen.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.01 ( -0.01 )
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ
View-Master VR device in Apple Store
Apple has started to sell a Google Cardboard-style VR headset modeled on a classic Mattel toy. Initially launched early last year, the View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack for $30 is designed to use an iPhone as a display, with a Preview Reel and lever system mimicking the toy's switching between images to take users between different VR apps and scenes. http://bit.ly/1RhJW8y
Apple brings iTunes Movie Trailers app to Canada
After five years, Apple has expanded its iTunes Movie Trailers app for iOS to Canada. As of Saturday, the free app allows movie buffs to see HD movie trailers for new studio and independent features, and explore some other movie-related extras such as photos, behind-the-scenes footage, or clips from upcoming films. Users can save trailers for quick access, read reviews from RottenTomatoes.com within the app, use AirPlay to send them to an Apple TV, share trailers, and peruse the top movie charts. http://apple.co/1UUKtwr
Apple expands CloudKit API, provides web interface
On Friday, Apple notified developers that it was expanding a feature of CloudKit to allow for server-to-server web service requests. "In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CloudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key," Apple said in its announcement. Previously, interaction with the CloudKit public database was limited to apps and web only. http://apple.co/20h1RwP
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t