A marketing campaign has leaked tonight through Engadget that appears to confirm the existence of the first touchscreen Zune. Titled Zune HD, little is known about the device other than that it appears to embrace the same philosophy as the iPod touch, with just one button on the front. Its name implies at least high-resolution video playback, though true HD-resolution displays don't typically exist in handheld size.
Today's refurbished deals from the Apple store include a wide selection of Mac models at discounted prices of up to 28% off. Save $700 on the refurbished 2.5GHz MacBook Pro, now only $1799. The unibody 2.53GHz MacBook pro with 4GB of memory and 320GB hard drive is priced at $1999. Get a white MacBook with 1GB of RAM, 2.1GHz processor and 120GB hard drive for only $849. The 1.86GHz MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 128GB Solid State hard drive is now available for $2149. The 2.4GHz iMac is currently $849 and includes a 250GB hard drive an 1GB of memory.
Today's featured deal at DealNN is on the 1.83GHz Mac mini. It is regularly priced at $599 at J&R.com, but for a limited time they have dropped the price by $140 to $459 and included FREE shipping. This Mac mini has a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 1GB of RAM and a 80GB hard drive.
Apple will take advantage of the support for external hardware in iPhone OS 3.0 to finally replace the Windows Mobile-based EasyPay transaction handhelds at retail stores with iPod touch devices, sources speaking to AppleInsider claim. Once the new firmware is available, the company will reportedly give store staff iPod touch units loaded with custom point-of-sale apps as well as card readers to process the payments. They would also handle the store's Concierge, ordering and other store operations without requiring separate hardware.
Password Repository 2.8 ($30) allows users to save and manage all of their passwords inside an encrypted document. The information is all stored within a table that can be sorted. Passwords can also be labeled with custom sets of colors to help users sort out related passwords. The latest release has added a customizable background auto-lock mode and now always leaves the auto-recovery document feature on. [Download - 1MB]
Lensbaby, makers of unusual optics add-ons for DSLRs, continues to evolve the product, as seen with the recently introduced Composer. We've taken a quick look at the system to see how it works as well as to provide some anecdotes from our experience using it in practice. We've also taken a look at the Optic Swap System that lets you tailor the visual effects of the Composer.
T-Mobile UK on Friday sent an invitation to a London event on April 22nd that may involve new BlackBerry devices or features. While terse, the note given to Pocket-lint tells the media to expect the launch that evening of an "exciting new BlackBerry collaboration" between the carrier and Research in Motion. T-Mobile hasn't provided clues as to the nature of what will show at the event.
The institution of variable song prices on iTunes has directly translated to a decrease in the popularity of the more expensive songs, Billboard finds in a short-term study of the immediate wake of the change. Those songs that were boosted to a $1.29 price typically fell 5.3 places on iTunes' Top 100 charts on Wednesday and another 2 places on Thursday. In exchange, those songs that kept their 99-cent pricing rose an average of 2.5 spots on Wednesday and 1.7 on Thursday.
Beauty ($2) is a face analysis tool that can determine how proportional and symmetric a face is. Facial symmetry is one of a number of aesthetic traits associated with health, physical attractiveness and beauty of a person. The application calculates the position and proportions of the mouth, eyes and nose and converts them into a value between 0 and 100.
German antitrust regulatory officials today fined Microsoft 9 million Euros, or the equivalent of $11.8 million, for alleged price fixing on its Office suite. The American software developer was found responsible for unfairly setting the price of Office 2007 Home and Student illegally by talking to Microsoft about the price before promptly promoting the software together. An official commentary defends the verdict by noting that it was Microsoft's particular approach to the deal and not the act of agreeing to a price itself that broke the law.
An upcoming Casio cameraphone for Verizon has been teased through a pair of videos [since pulled] posted to YouTube and promoted by PR reps. The Exilim C721 should be one of Verizon's first phones from Casio that isn't designed solely for ruggedness and, matching the Exilim camera name, would have a 5.1-megapixel sensor. Little else is known, though the clamshell design has a semi-hidden external display for calls.
Asus has announced that several of its business-oriented P-series notebooks are now equipped with Intel's new anti-theft technology. The system uses an embedded security chip that allows users to remotely send a "poison pill" to the device, completely disabling the system. After the notebook has been recovered, the user can then enter a local passphrase or recovery token to restore functionality.
Ambrosia has published several updates for its Mac productivity software, including WireTap Studio 1.0.10, WireTap Anywhere 1.0.3 and Snapz Pro X 2.1.4. The patches focus on compatibility with the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5.7 update, and also increase functionality with Apple's latest hardware. All three apps use a shared framework.
iSkin has launched a new color in its Solo FX line of iPhone cases, which feature mirrored screen protectors, and embossed patterns in a high-gloss translucent casing. The purple "vive" color is the fifth shade for the FX, with blue, green, orange and red also being available. The cases offer full access to an iPhone 3G's ports, as well as its camera lens and controls.
The European Commission is considering a measure to force acceptance of VoIP by cellphone carriers, reports say. The EU's telecoms commissioner, Viviane Reding, has called for the EU to undo arbitrary obstacles to "innovative services" on cellphones; a draft of the VoIP measure is thought to already be completed, but still unfinished due to a lack of precise wording. Current rules permit each country to decide what is blocked on the Internet.
AT&T in a low-key addition on Friday added the Samsung A657 to its mix of push-to-talk phones. The candybar has a rubberized shell and is hardened to US military-spec standards for shock, moisture, temperature and other factors. It also has its own built-in flashlight as a backup for those working in dark conditions.
AKVIS is distributing a minor update to Retoucher, plug-in software designed for various photo-editing suites. The plug-in is specially geared towards restoring damaged photos, which can accumulate problems such as dust, fading, stains and scratches. Many of these can be fixed automatically by selecting the given faults within Retoucher.
In spite of its version number, BlackBerry OS 5.0 appears to primarily be a cosmetic change that modernizes certain parts of the OS, a report on leaked firmware shows. A BGR exploration of a beta release on a BlackBerry Bold shows that most of the changes involve extending the Precision Zen interface to areas that have often had plain text, such as messaging. Google Gears support for offline apps is new but hindered by the web browser, which as of the beta is the same as in older releases.
HTC has announced that the Touch Diamond 2 is set to launch in Taiwan later this month. The touchscreen handset will carry a price of NT$21,900 (~$650 USD) and will ship with an 8GB memory card. HTC improved the specs from the last model, with an expanded screen size of 3.2-inches and 480 by 800 pixel resolution. The device also sports a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a new touch-sensitive zoom strip underneath the display.
A version of Myst for the iPhone and iPod touch is almost finished, says developer Cyan Worlds. The game is a recreation of the 1993 original for the Mac, which helped to popularize QuickTime and the CD-ROM format. All features are said to be intact, including the original graphics, environments, music and sound effects.
Following its bankruptcy and sale to Systemax, CompUSA has quietly been reopening new stores with a very different policy on Internet access. In a talk with Wired, Systemax's Technology Products chief Gilbert Fiorentino has confirmed both that there are now 30 new CompUSA stores but that the new shops have a largely open Internet policy that puts every computer in the store on an Internet connection. Shoppers are reportedly encouraged to use demo units to check prices and reviews, and are unrestricted from ordinary tasks like checking Facebook.
Stone Design has released an upgrade to Twittelator Pro, its higher-end Twitter client. The v2.1 update makes significant improvements, such as the inclusion of single-tap replies, as well as single-tap tweet and link shrinking. Users can also save any collection of tweets for later reading, with or without Internet access.
Yahoo's new CEO Carol Bartz has resumed talks with Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer about possible deals for ads, search or more, according to sources of journalist Kara Swisher. Those close to Yahoo reportedly say that Bartz, Ballmer and other officials have been investigating deals that could not only involve web ad or search partnerships but also future, broader business relationships. One example plan would have Yahoo take over display and "premium" ads while Microsoft runs search ads.
Apple has launched a new contest in order to encourage use of the App Store. Marking an upcoming download milestone, the Billion App Countdown asks participants to download any app in order to become eligible to win several prizes. These include a $10,000 iTunes gift card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule router and a MacBook Pro.
An unintentional leak late Thursday has shown a major revision to TechCrunch's CrunchPad touchscreen tablet. Aside from being much thinner than older prototypes, the new version has switched from a VIA Nano processor to an Intel Atom and now has a wider, capacitive 12-inch touchscreen that should be easier to use. It also has a much more efficient software base that uses a custom Linux variant and WebKit-based browser that use just 100MB of space.
Apple has begun active testing of its push notification service, a memo circulating to iPhone developers notes. "Start testing your applications using the Apple Push Notification service today," the e-mail advises. "Log in to the iPhone Dev Center and review the Apple Push Notification Programming Guide and Getting Started video." Team agents are then being asked to access the App ID section within the iPhone Developer Program Portal, where push testing can be configured.
Time Warner Cable's expanded trials of metered Internet service will include significantly higher average caps and a pseudo-unlimited option, the company's COO Landel Hobbs said in an online statement. After facing criticism for offering a maximum cap of just 40GB per month in Texas trials with unlimited overage fees, the provider is now boosting its original 5GB-40GB range for Road Runner service to 10GB-60GB and is adding a 100GB tier for $75 per month. It will also limit the overage charges themselves to a maximum of $75 extra per month and, practically, restore unlimited Internet access at a price of $150 per month.
An internal Sprint e-mail leak on Friday has likely confirmed that Sprint is set to begin training staff on the Palm Pre. PreThinking's memo says to "expect training to start in April" for Sprint staff and that they should start receiving regular updates on the phone. While room exists for change in the schedule, the e-mail references an article just a week old and hints that both Palm and Sprint's plans may have firmed up in recent weeks.
Now AAPL Stock: 143.79 ( + 0.11 )
Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE