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Project Natal and New Xbox
Microsoft's Project Natal could not just be an add-on for the Xbox 360 but the foundation of a new Xbox altogether, according to fresh rumors. Those at 1UP hear that the full body motion controller will be the "cornerstone" of a new console and come with it. Details of the new Xbox itself aren't clear, but it's believed the machine could be an evolution of the Xbox 360 that has extra performance but which could still run legacy games. It would ship in fall 2010 and could be announced as early as the Game Developers Conference in March of that year.
ScriptMaster 3 update
360Works has released ScriptMaster 3, an update to its FileMaker plug-in that handles file manipulation, web services and shell scripting. The latest version contains a redesigned user interface, and new modules such as Crop Image, QuickTime frame capture and URLDecode. New functions let users retrieve size information, create a ZIP archive or run syntax checks on XML tests.
Piper on MacBook cuts
Wall Street firms may be missing out on the true significance of Apple's MacBook price cuts, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Prices have fallen several hundred dollars in some cases, which Munster argues should mitigate some of the predicted sales decline for the June quarter. Updated MacBooks could push the month of June's growth up as much as 5 percent year-over-year, according to Piper figures.
Kindle DX sold out
Just days after shipping on Wednesday, the Kindle DX e-book reader is already sold out at Amazon, with another shipment expected by June 17th. The $489 device, sold exclusively through Amazon, apparently sold out on the first day, also thanks to pre-orders.
Best Buy Mobile Storm sale
Best Buy Mobile to offer free, half-price Storm to reward members Starting this Sunday, June 14th, through to Saturday June 20th, Best Buy Mobile will reportedly offer its Best Buy Reward Zone members two special deals on the BlackBerry Storm from provider Verizon Wireless. Premier Silver members can get the handset for free when they agree to a new two-year contract, while all Reward Zone members will pay $50 for the Storm with the same commitment.
IRS to tax worker cell use
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this week it has proposed a rule that would deem 25 percent of an employee's annual company-issued cell phone expenses a taxable benefit, according to a Friday WSJ report. Employees could avoid the tax liability if they showed proof that they used their own cellphones for nonbusiness calls during work hours. The IRS would also set a minimum number of phone minutes dedicated to personal use that would be untaxed.
Samsung Louvre specs
The previously leaked Samsung B7610 Louvre smartphone has recently received unofficial specs ahead of an upcoming release. It will sport a 3.5-inch AMOLED screen with 800x480 resolution and access to HSDPA 3G networks, along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and assisted GPS functionality. Instead of the previously expected 3.2-megapixel camera, there is a 5-megapixel flash-less shooter, and Samsung has switched from its proprietary port to a miniUSB connection.
DTV Transition Begun
The US today will officially begin its transition to purely digital TV by shutting down all analog over-the-air broadcasts at midnight. Such moves come after a last-minute delay from the government from its original February 17th date after concerns that too many viewers, particularly in poor or rural areas, would lose all access to TV under the original timeframe. The move still leaves analog cable but is meant to spur adoption of digital over-the-air, satellite and wired TV in the future.
Best Buy 3GS insurance
Best Buy is planning to extend its insurance options to the iPhone 3GS, say people close to the matter. When the phone goes on sale through the retailer on June 19th, beginning at 10AM, buyers should have the option of attaching Black Tie Protection, which alongside conventional issues can cover various forms of accidental damage, such as drops and spills. Apple's two-year AppleCare warranty omits much of that coverage, and AT&T has refused to provide any form of insurance.
BBerry Tour May Ship Aug
Verizon's edition of the BlackBerry Tour may be postponed by as much as a month if a leak proves true. Previous reports have the smartphone shipping on July 13th, but a sales representative claims it won't ship until mid-August at the earliest. Why such a delay would occur isn't made clear.
Love Art: National Gallery, London (free) enables people to view some of the pieces from the National Gallery on an iPhone or iPod touch. The application features 250 paintings from the gallery along with close to 200 minutes of audio and video content. This includes interviews with the National Gallery Director Dr. Nicholas Penny, artist Maggie Hambling, and Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier. Paintings have been organized into categories allowing users to browse by popular themes or types such as portraits, cityscapes and religious paintings.
HTC Snap for Sprint
Sprint today confirmed that its version of the HTC Snap will ship this month. A close variant of the reference phone that was unveiled in April, its version switches to CDMA for calls, adds EVDO-based 3G and changes some of the visual design without affecting the QWERTY keyboard. It keeps the trademark Inner Circle feature for showing messages only from the owner's most important contacts but extends the GPS to work with Sprint's navigation service. The 2-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi have also been preserved in the adaptation.
Vita R2i iPod dock debuted
Vita Audio has announced the R2i, a tabletop stereo system for iPods or other media devices. The device features an improved DAB+ tuner, along with support for standard DAB broadcasts and FM with RDS data. Two 3.5-inch drivers provide the sound output, with 20 watts of nominal power. Users can control the device using the illuminated RotoDial, while track and clock information is displayed on a negative LCD.
Palm Shipping 100K Pres
Estimates by JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster published on Friday suggest that Palm may have already doubled its shipments of the Pre. Earlier predictions had Palm shipping as many as 55,000 units, but Coster concludes through studying retail activity that Palm has already shipped another 50,000 of the smartphones in less than a week. Many Sprint stores have received between 10 and 15 more phones every two days, while Radio Shack has also received an update. Unusually, Best Buy appears to have received none extra since the June 6th date.
New Apple Store design
Apple's new Scottsdale Quarter retail store uses a radically different design in some respects, observers note. Ceilings in the building are approximately 20 feet high, and lined with a 75-foot long skylight, reducing dependence on artificial lighting. Aiding the skylight is an all-glass front and rear, permitting visitors to see directly through the store.
MSI X600 specs revealed
MSI's flagship X-Slim series notebook, the MSI X600, has received specs for two of its variations today through a new leak. The company has previously only released teasers of the specifications for the notebook PC, which is meant to compete with the MacBook Air. The 15.6-inch notebook sports a 1366x768 resolution and is powered by Intel's CULV platform, in a package that is less than one-inch thick.
Blu-ray Managed Copy
An updated version of the Blu-ray standard will allow for limited copying, the head of the group behind the format's copy protection has acknowledged. Michael Ayers, chairman of the AACS Licensing Authority, confirms that almost all discs released after the first quarter of 2010 should allow one full-resolution copy, known as a Managed Copy. Videos will be writable to Blu-ray or DVD discs, or a Windows Media DRM-compatible file; alternately, a file may be included on-disc.
MacUpdate promo finishes
The promotion for MacUpdate's Spring 2009 software bundle is set to expire at the end of the day on Friday. The package includes 11 software titles for $50, a fraction of the $500 value if individually purchased at standard retail prices. TechTool Pro 5, Parallels 4, Circus Ponies Notebook 3, Intego NetBarrier X5, DVDRemaster Pro 5, Multiplex, RipIt, MoneyWell, Paperless, Posterino and BetterZip.
Sunflower, ImageFlow FX
DMG Master 2.1 ($20) is a utility that allows users to create standard Disk Image Archives from their own files. Users can select any file or group of files and covert them into an archive that can be recognized by any Mac. New to this release is the option to encrypt archives using either AES-128 or AES-256 encryption. The interface has also received small improvements and several new preference options have been added. [Download - 0.78MB]
Shure SRH240 Headphones
Known most for its in-canal earbuds, Shure today ventured into the over-ear category with one model set to kick off a new line. The SRH240s are built for the entry level, semi-portable field with a small, 181-gram (6.4oz) design. Simultaneously, though, Shure vows both strong high- and low-frequency response as well as a sealed, padded cup that blocks out some of both the incoming and outgoing sound without becoming uncomfortable.
New iPhone iGoogle beta
Google has produced an updated version of its iGoogle web application for iPhones, and devices based on Google's Android platform, like the T-Mobile G1. The new version is said to be faster and easier to use, as well as upgraded to use tabs. More gadgets should now be functional in the mobile app, including third-party ones, though Google warns that some will never function in a mobile browser.
Eizo 23-inch LCD with DP
Eizo has recently revealed the upcoming release of its FlexScan EV2333W-H LCD monitor, equipped with a 23-inch, 1080p (1920x1080) LCD display. The screen is one of its few to include both DisplayPort and HDCP-protected DVI along with a VGA connection for video inputs, letting it plug into more modern computers. It also has a relatively vivid picture for a high-color LCD with a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, 300cd/m2 brightness and a 7ms pixel response time.
Atom Unlikely for Win 7
Netbooks using current-generation Intel Atom chips are unlikely to get an upgrade to or option for Windows 7 due to Microsoft's pricing policies, industry tipsters have said on Friday. Those using the 1.6GHz Atom N270 and 1.66GHz N280 will reportedly be kept on Windows XP as Microsoft's pricing for Windows 7 Starter Edition would push the system price too high. A Windows XP Home license is currently said to cost between $25 and $30, but Microsoft now wants between $45 and $55 for the most basic Windows 7 license; as the prices of netbooks themselves have been driven lower because of N270/N280 prices, the new policy would potentially give up sales.
Griffin iPhone 3GS cases
Griffin has uncovered new and updated cases for the iPhone and iPod touch: the Reveal, Elan Passport Metal, FlexGrip and Elan Form with Sky Blue Trim. The Reveal case is designed for the iPhone and iPod touch, and uses a thin polycarbonate outer shell with rubber interior lining. Meant to protect against minor impacts and scratches, the case also includes a static-peel screen protector.
Apple TomTom Buy In Rumor
Dutch shares of native GPS device maker TomTom spiked on Friday morning after speculation rose that Apple is mulling getting a stake in the company. Following Apple's WWDC presentation Monday that saw TomTom introduce an iPhone GPS app and a matching car kit, some investors claim to have heard that TomTom being singled out and its tight integration of software with the iPhone are advance evidence of Apple wanting to invest a minority amount in the European firm. The rumor is not universal, however, and some openly doubt the likelihood of such a deal.
11M Safari 4 downloads
Over 11 million copies of the final version of Safari 4 have been downloaded in a space of three days, Apple claims. The software became available for Macs and PCs on Monday, following Apple's WWDC keynote. Prior to the keynote, a beta version of the web browser had been available since February. It is not known how many downloads of the beta were recorded.
11.6-inch Dell, Samsung
At the currently ongoing Display Taiwan 2009 show, local TFT-LCD panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) has displayed products for netbook and CULV-powered notebooks, including an 11.6-inch destined for netbooks and a 13.3-inch for CULV notebooks. Unnamed industry sources indicate the netbook panel has already been ordered in mass quantities by PC makers Dell and Samsung. The former may be using the panel for its upcoming Inspiron Mini 11, but the latter's plans for a CULV system aren't yet known.
Nikon D300s Image Leak
Nikon may have inadvertently confirmed the existence of an upcoming mid-range DSLR through a product image on its site (since pulled). The LCD screen capture explaining histograms identifies the camera as a D300s and makes reference to SD card storage where the current D300 uses CompactFlash. These changes appear to support rumors of the D300s being a high-speed camera which could shoot continuously at 8 frames per second with a battery grip, instead of only in bursts, and which would have both CompactFlash and SD to give a choice of storage as well as to provide overflow space.
Psystar owes Apple
Psystar already owes Apple $75,000, documents from the former's bankruptcy proceedings indicate. Psystar recently submitted a filing mentioning Schedule F debts, those to creditors with "unsecured nonpriority claims." Though Apple is on the F list, it is unknown what the money may be owed for. The only other explicit information from the filing is the phrase "litigation pending" under the section citing Psystar's consideration for the claim.
EU Say Win 7 E Not Enough
Microsoft's decision to pull Internet Explorer from Windows 7 in Europe isn't enough to address EU antitrust complaints about the company's abuse of the market, the European Commission said Friday. The continent's officials now say that Microsoft's proposed solution would actually hurt competition as it would leave the five percent of those buying retail copies of Windows each year with few options. Instead of having an immediate choice, buyers would have to resort to obtaining a physical copy of a web browser or else some alternative.
Palm Eos on ice?
Palm's budget Eos smartphone is rumored today to be on hold due to worries over Pre sales. The Centro replacement, nicknamed "Pixie," is said by contacts in Asia to still be under development but that its actual launch is frozen until Palm has "better visibility" of how well the Pre and other existing phones are selling. Leaks have suggested the Eos would ship in the fall and thus have the delay coming a few months before launch.
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