In brief: MV Pro Audio has release a new software bundle that includes three of its Amp Room applications for $160 less than purchasing them separately. The three applications allow users to replicate famous amp sounds that helped define rock and metal music. Crap, I Missed it! has announced that its new iTunes-library web-tool is now operational. The web tool can analyze a users music collection and then provides e-mail or RSS notifications when their favorite artists are touring in the area or about to release a new album. Meanwhile, MacPractice and Soredex are collaborating to create a drive that will allow the OpTime x-ray system to work with a MacPractice DSS.
Apple executives have disclosed several strategies aimed at expanding the company's market share with the iPhone and Mac products. In comments made to Oppenheimer analysts, company officials noted the potential for significant growth of the Mac brand in international markets, which have shown a five-percent revenue growth in Europe while domestic shipments slid by eight percent.
Meizu's planned sequel to the M8, its at times controversial shadow to the iPhone, is now said by company chief J. Wong to be a significant but more evolutionary upgrade. In place of a complete overhaul, the Chinese executive says the phone will support both China-native 3G through the TD-SCDMA standard as well as GPS. A camera upgrade is also due with a 5-megapixel sensor and an LED flash.
Samsung Electronics is in the process of developing a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) shutter for mobile applications such as cellphones, according to Tech-On. The technology could be used with sensors capable of high pixel counts. A shutter could overcome the problems associated with quickly transferring the image data, which can lead to long frames or distortion when capturing moving objects.
Digipower has announced a new line of universal battery chargers, led by its flagship product, the Jumpstart Sport. A variety of chargers should eventually emerge under the label, featuring different battery types and sizes.
A leak likely from within Verizon has suggested a major change in policy at the carrier towards Wi-Fi on its smartphones. One new source for BGR says that every Verizon BlackBerry after the BlackBerry Tour will have Wi-Fi, reversing the company's long-held resistance to the extra wireless. The carrier is often believed to have forced the standard out of the Storm and other devices to have customers depend more on paid services through its 3G network.
case-mate has released the Fuel, a new protective phone case. Models exist for both the iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Bold. A soft-grip holster design is used, built around a rechargeable lithium polymer battery.
Intel and Nokia have been discovered as teaming on a new, Linux-based operating system for mobile phones. Labeled as the oFono project, the effort is separate from both companies' usual Linux projects and is meant to provide an open-source alternative in the same vein as Android. The foundation would be minimal but heavily extensible, letting companies add their own network stacks and other features rather than requiring oFono to supply most on its own.
Not one but two models of iPod should gain cameras in their next major update, claims the English edition of MacBidouille. A anonymous source for the website insists that both the Touch and the Nano will gain cameras, though aspects such as megapixel ratings or support for autofocus and flash remain uncertain. If identical to one strongly rumored for the next iPhone, the cameras could be rated at 3.2 megapixels.
Touch Karma ($3) can be used to track the good and bad deeds performed by friends and family members. The application includes two different sections, one is more specifically for tracking chores that kids complete. Parents can set up a goal for their kids to reach and all the chores they do will add points towards this goal and a reward can be provided at the end. The friend mode can be used to evaluate how helpful friends have been by logging their actions with points.
AT&T is allegedly preparing to begin consumer trials that integrate Ruckus Wireless equipment with U-verse services, according to Light Reading. Unnamed sources suggest the company aims to reduce installation times by eliminating the need to run coaxial cable as the primary distribution method across a home. Instead, 802.11n wireless signals will carry HD IPTV streams to various equipment.
Sprint's retail outlets on Friday were reported as having already started receiving Palm Pre units for an unusual approach to selling the device. Rather than simply offer in-store demos, the carrier is designating one employee per store as a "Palm Pre Advocate" and giving them special training as that location's expert on the smartphone. The effort noted by PreCentral mirrors the strategy used for some non-retail Sprint staff who had been given Pres of their own to use to become familiar with them ahead of public events.
Password Repository 2.9 ($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 related items. Version 2.9 includes an update interface which includes a new bottom bar that acts as a shortcut bar for common tasks. The update also includes several new explanatory labels to help users better understand the functions of each button. [Download - 1.2MB]
Urbs has announced Modelur, an add-on for Google's SketchUp that is focused on parametric urban design. While typical CAD software starts with a building's exterior dimensions, Modelur allows users to define a set of final parameters such as build area, gross floor area or the number of stories. If any of the basic parameters is changed, the entire building is automatically adjusted and the urban control values are recalculated.
The conversion of Bell and Telus to HSPA networks is likely to have started earlier than expected based on sources. An engineer within Telus tells BGR that both Bell and Telus will informally launch their networks in the fall, with Telus' at a minimum being ready for September 2nd. The initial rollout will focus on southern British Columbia and is meant to have the network ready by the time the Vancouver Olympics begin in February 2010.
SharedPlan has launched a new version of its project management tool, SharedPlan Pro 5.4. The software handles a variety of tasks, going beyond project coordination and analysis and report generation to include project sketching, inspection, RSS publishing and risk identification. The v5.4 update brings improved cost and resource management, enhanced performance in large projects, and compatibility with an iPhone app currently under development.
A new version of Acer's Aspire One netbook has emerged, according to reports. Dubbed the 571, the machine is said to be based on the chassis of a D150 or D250, also using most of the same internal specifications. Its 10.1-inch display is said to have been upgraded to support 1280x720, though, in a 16:9 widescreen ratio. Aiding the encoding and decoding of HD and H.264 video is a Quartics coprocessor.
Toshiba has announced that it has filed suit against several companies, including Imation, over DVD patents. The accusations surround DVD format specifications and standards accepted by the DVD Forum. Toshiba claims the companies infringed on patents by manufacturing or distributing recordable media without first establishing licensing agreements.
Japanese developer FreeBit has released an English version of ServersMan, a free application which converts iPhones and iPod touches into web servers. The software operates over both 3G and Wi-Fi connections, and allows people to connect via WebDAV or a regular web browser. Files hosted on a server can be accessed remotely, but are protected using SSL encryption.
Sony's upcoming entry Alphas have received full details through a product leak that briefly appeared on Sony's German page. The trio appears to be a minor optimization of the A200, A300 and A350. The 14-megapixel A380 headlines the efforts and promises a quicker autofocus in the live view on the swiveling LCD, dynamic range optimization to prevent lost detail in highlights or shadows and HDMI video output.
Albatron is readying a lightweight netbook with a 10.2-inch display, according to netbooknews.de. The ultra-thin design weighs less than 1kg, with a 1.6GHz Intel N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a choice between a 80GB hard drive, 8GB SSD or 16GB SSD. Status lights indicate the device should integrate either 3G or WiMAX connectivity. A six-cell, 3600mAh battery provides the power, although the typical charge life has not been disclosed.
Pentax today brought out an update to its most basic cameras in the Optio E75. The compact maintains the 10-megapixel sensor and 3X optical zoom of the E70 but grows the preview LCD from 2.4 to 2.7 inches. It continues to carry more recent software-driven features such as a full-auto scene mode, face detection with a face priority mode as well as smile detection.
Microsoft has drawn criticism over the timing of a new security patch, targeting the company's PowerPoint presentation software. Windows users can now download update MS09-017, which addresses a zero-day vulnerability known to have been used in real-world attacks. The patch is moreover said to reduce the vulnerability of Office and PowerPoint in general, by removing a mostly irrelevant PowerPoint 4 converter. The creation of PowerPoint 4 files has not been supported since Office XP.
MSI chose the end of the week to launch its newest flagship gaming notebook, the GX723. The 17-inch desktop replacement centers on a 512MB GeForce GT 130M graphics chipset good enough to run modern games smoothly as well as MSI's characteristic Turbo Mode, which lets owners overclock the Core 2 Duo processor inside as long as the system is on AC power. The PC creator also manages to tuck five speakers into the limited space to produce Dolby sound without an external setup.
Activision today teased that one of its central non-music games at E3, Tony Hawk Ride, will have its own controller. The game will center on a skateboard-shaped foot controller that, much like a Wii Balance Board, will have players lean as they would on a real board for at least basic control. Although the full controls haven't been explained, a set of side buttons will ease navigating through regular menus and may ultimately be used on combination with balancing to perform tricks.
ASUS' Eee PC 1005HA-M has both been confirmed today through a set of photos as well as news of a second model. As promised, the 1005HA is a close relative of the 1008HA and has the same "seashell" design, albeit here with a black option and slightly thicker; it uses a full-size VGA port instead of the mini port used on the 1008. The replaceable battery and most other ergonomic traits will remain intact.
Leopard owners upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5.7 have been experiencing critical errors, discussions on Apple's support forums show. At times problems have begun as early as installation, with digital signatures being registered as invalid despite multiple download attempts. Other users have reported subsequent looping errors, which may require powering down a system and rebooting one or more times before control can be regained.
Apple's next-generation iPhone may already be in Best Buy's inventory system under a codename, a view of the retailer's management system shows. A photo indicates three devices attributed to AT&T that show only as Charlie 1, 2 and 3, and all are given a "Project Charlie" description rather than the usual phone details. The entries are said by a source of Phone Arena's to likely be placeholders for the iPhone until Apple makes them public.
Microsoft's Zune HD will have a much stronger emphasis on games and could be the start of a new, unified online store for the company if a detailed rumor is accurate. Referring to tips reportedly corroborated by multiple sources and dating between August of last year and January this year, TeamXbox says the device will make the Xbox platform an important focus and will let users play certain Xbox Live Arcade games both on an Xbox 360 and on the Zune HD. It should also have a variant of the New Xbox Experience (NXE) interface given to Xbox 360s late last year, but will use touch for its input.
AirTran Airways in collaboration with Gogo has announced it will be the first airline to provide Wi-Fi access on all its airplanes. By registering with Gogo, users can purchase a session of internet time that enables them to use most non-voice Internet features on a given trip. Prices for the in-flight internet sessions are based on what type of device the user brings with them, and for how long they will be on the flight.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.74 ( -1.09 )
WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel