Apple has been granted patents for 3D movie browser technology and responsive avatars. The first patent relates to three-dimensional movie browsing or editing, with a focus on Final Cut Pro. It also relates to other Apple technologies like the iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV and software like iTunes and QuickTime. The most common example of the 3D browser is Apple's Cover Flow. An interesting side note reveals the author, Kevin Quennesson, has since left Apple to help build the Cooliris 3D Wall. The report also notes a second patent report for what's commonly known as Apple's Magic Wand Patent, which relates to a 3D remote control for Apple TV.
Luxology has launched modo 401 , the next generation of its 3D content creation software. The new update focuses on enhancing rendering and animation. Rendering enhancements include caustics, dispersion, blurry refraction, volumetric lighting and deep shadows. modo 401 adds instance replicators which allow dense amounts of surface detail like rivets, trees and barnacles to be rendered with trillion polygon detail. There is also light linking, stereoscopic rendering and support for multiple environments that provide precise control over scene lighting. Version 401 can render on up to 32 cores across a network of 50 workstations.
In brief: To celebrate Father's Day, XtraLean Software is currently offering 50-percent discounts on two of its software products. Until the end of the weekend customers can purchase ShutterBug and ImageWell for $20 and $10, respectively. TiBITS Publishing has announced the release of "Take Control of Safari 4," a book which explains some of the new features in the latest iteration of the Safari browser. Deskology has announced that it will be relaunching its DESKSET accessory kit which features several pieces for organizing a desktop. All of the components are made of anodized aluminum and have been designed to match the style of Apple's computers.
MacNN and Electronista have been evaluating a 16GB iPhone 3G S, putting the new features to test. So far the device appears to deliver most of what Apple has promised. We took a quick look at overall performance, Voice Control, the improved camera and video functions, the new built-in compass and more.
Quanta Computer has reportedly landed a contract with Apple to manufacture new notebooks, according to the Chinese news outlet Commercial Times. The computer maker is said to be the exclusive MacBook producer in the second half of 2009, with an estimated production volume of 10 million units shipped to Apple by the end of the year.
Taiwan's AU Optronics showed off an electronic book reader that combines a low-power electronic paper and a touch panel, a first for this type of product at the Display Taiwan 2009 show. The 6-inch prototype houses 800x600 pixels and has a 167dpi pixel density. It is capable of reproducing 16 gray levels, has an 8:1 contrast ratio and a reflectance of 27 percent. The touch functionality allows users to call up new pages without any dedicated buttons.
The unofficial iPhone Dev Team has released a new version of PwnageTool for the Mac, updated to jailbreak devices running the iPhone 3.0 firmware. Once jailbroken a handheld can load unofficial applications, and provide access to normally forbidden code. The software is not currently functional with the iPhone 3G S, but should work on first- and second-generation iPhones, as well as the first-generation iPod touch. Second-generation Touches must use redsn0w instead.
China's SciPhone has recently announced the future release of its N12 handset which, most notably, will ship with Google's open-source Android operating system, according to a report. One of the first Android phones from a small manufacturer, its processing power comes courtesy of a relatively powerful 624MHz Marvell Monahands CPU sitting in a Qualcomm MSM6246 chipset. The quad-band GSM device has 3G WCDMA data network support and built-in Wi-Fi, GPS and CMMB TV support.
Dell may soon begin offering a new-generation graphics card for its multimedia-oriented Studio XPS 16 notebook lineup. If true, it would begin offering the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 instead of the current, aging ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 with its 512MB of dedicated memory. The HD 4670 will most notably double dedicated graphics memory and is based on smaller 55nm manufacturing process.
Cideko has unveiled a unique keyboard and controller combo designed explicitly for home theater PCs. Superficially resembling just a keyboard, the Wireless Media Keyboard has a built-in 3D sensor that uses the keyboard itself as the mouse; shoulder-mounted buttons provide clicks. A row of media controls at the top let users navigate directional interfaces like Windows Media Center or play and skip through music and videos.
AT&T Mobility president and CEO Ralph de la Vega on Friday disclosed that pre-orders for the iPhone 3G S have greatly exceeded expectations. "We actually have hundreds of thousands of customers that have [pre-]ordered their iPhone and will be coming in to pick it up at the stores today," the executive told CNBC in an interview. De la Vega also took time to boast his company's position in the market, claiming a 25-percent increase in net additions of post-paid subscribers.
iPhone 3G S activations are being delayed by the sheer volume of traffic, an iTunes error message indicates. "Your activation requires additional time to complete," the software is now telling some people syncing their devices for the first time. "Due to the current activation volumes, it may take up to 48 hours to resolve your issue."
Online retailer Meijer is offering the first sub-$100 Blu-ray disc player with its listing for the $99.99 Curtis Mathes CMMBX130. The device will play back Blu-ray movies at up to 1080p resolution and also upconvert DVDs to an unspecified HD resolution. There is an HDMI 1.3 output, optical digital audio output and an Ethernet port for servicing and performing firmware updates.
Palm on Friday said it hoped to address a dearth of apps for the Pre and webOS by stepping up the pace of its early access program for developers. The smartphone designer now plans to let in developers "as quickly as resources allow" and expects the pool of active developers to swell from "hundreds to thousands" in the near future. Palm also plans to publish more of the content from the program and will let developers talk more freely about what they can do with the webOS SDK.
There's nothing like a new piece of technology, especially one that's been as widely talked about as the new iPhone 3G S. MacNN has obtained a unit and already has some very early impressions. At first glance, the most noticeable change is the packaging: Apple has managed to shrink the box even further, barely larger than the iPhone itself and about three inches deep. As with previous models, there is very little paperwork, just a multi-touch guide, the required safety/legal notice and the customary Apple stickers.
HTC chief Peter Chou told the Taiwan-area commercial paper Commercial Times today that his company expects to sell the millionth Magic by August. Having taken roughly six months to sell the millionth G1, Chou's firm now says it will only take the three months since the Magic's launch in May to reach a similar amount for the second Android phone. It's not clear how many Android phones HTC has sold in total.
The next head of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, has promised to investigate the exclusives forged between phone makers and cellular carriers, Reuters reports. The information comes by way of a letter from Genachowski, written in response to an initial prompt from Sen. John Kerry and three other members of the Senate Commerce Committee. The FCC should not only investigate exclusives, the committee suggests, it should act "expeditiously" if it finds that deals are unfairly harming competition or public choice.
Coffee Spot Pro ($2) allows users to locate the nearest coffee shop, including both large chain stores and small, privately owned coffee shops. The application uses the handhelds built-in location services to find the users current location and then displays a listing of all nearby coffee shops. Coffee Spot Pro also allows users to create a list of their favorite locations for quick access.
Seagate today inadvertently spoiled its plans by posting a product page for a 640GB FreeAgent Go. The drive would represent one of the first 2.5-inch external drives to break the 500GB ceiling; differences aren't evident except for in color, where the 640GB disk will only come in black or silver instead of the several colors available with the smaller capacities.
The iPhone 3G S appears to be selling swiftly in the European market, with O2 anticipating 50-percent higher sales than the iPhone 3G launch. The carrier is observing a ten-fold increase in average foot traffic, with entry in prime locations limited to customers purchasing a new iPhone. Availability in Italy has been expanded, with a third carrier set to offer the devices.
Rogers has again encountered problems in its second iPhone launch, accounts say. At the Eaton Centre Apple Store in Toronto, customers have reported being unable to upgrade to the 3G S through normal methods if they are an existing iPhone customer. Rogers' special promotional pricing -- announced just yesterday -- is said to be so recent, it is not in the carrier's computer systems, requiring calls to customer support to confirm billing and eligibility. New activations have been unaffected, but existing iPhone owners are said to be waiting 30 to 40 minutes each to talk with Rogers.
Some preliminary (but unconfirmed) specs of the upcoming Canon D1 Mark IV digital SLR camera have been revealed by an alledged camera beta tester, according to a Friday PhotographyBay report. The source claims the shooter will feature a 1.3x crop sensor and be capable of capturing approximately 16-megapixel images. An sRAW1 format will shoot 8-megapixel images which are apparently better than those shot by the 1D Mark III in terms of detail. ISO sensitivity will range from 50 to 26,500, with the tester reporting the 3,200 setting produces very clean images while images taken at ISO 6,400 and 12,800 are responsive to processing.
Verizon today officially expanded its V CAST Mobile TV network to include key larger California cities. The FLO TV-based digital broadcasts are now available in San Francisco as well as Fresno and Sacramento further south. Channel selection should remain the same and provides a mix of both live and pre-recorded content from both kids' channels like NickToons and more mature content from CBS, Fox, NBC and others.
Dell is planning to introduce a fourth, smaller Vostro notebook for the near future, a leak shows. The Vostro 1220 as seen by Engadget would have a thick but small profile with a 12-inch screen and, like larger models, get the option of a red shell. This bulk will also afford room for ExpressCard and SD card slots as well as a fingerprint reader.
Little has changed in the layout of the iPhone 3G S, a second teardown reveals. Going beyond the included chips and manufacturers, iFixit notes that the arrangement of parts in the 3G S is "virtually identical" to that of the iPhone 3G, to the extent that even experienced technicians may have trouble distinguishing designs. The most significant change is said to be the rearrangement of components to the front side of the PCB, including chips for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and flash storage.
Chinese handset manufacturer Meizu recently announced its M8 cellphone will soon get a firmware upgrade to its true 1.0 status and there are rumblings on various forums that the handset may eventually rely on a Google Android operating system. Meizu's CEO Jack Wong has himself apparently confirmed there is a dedicated team investigating the Android platform.
South Korea-based iRiver has broken from tradition by announcing the upcoming release of its first Bluetooth headset, the A100. iRiver is known for making portable multimedia players to date, such as the SPINN and, more recently, the GPS-enabled NV Classic. Little is known about the device, though its specs are not ground-breaking.
The long-standing legal battle between Jammie Thomas-Rasset and the Recording Industry Association of America closed another chapter, as the federal retrial found the defendant liable for willful copyright infringement, with the jury ordering her to pay a whopping $1.92 million in penalties. According to a Thursday Ars Technica report, the total damage award of $1.92 million was more than a $1.7 million increase from the amount awarded in the first trial. Thomas-Rasset was found to infringe on 24 copyrights held by the four major record labels, with each infringement costing the defendant $80,000.
Floola 5.2 (free) is a utility that allows a user to manage their iPod or Motorola phone. Floola can copy, rename, delete music, videos and photos, add artwork and lyrics, manage playlists and keep podcasts up-to-date. It can also convert files like YouTube videos to a format that is compatible with the designated device. The new release includes a rewritten iPod notes manager and improved compatibility with iTunes 8.2. Several of the translations have also been updated including French, German, Italian, and Russian. [Download - 15.7MB]
A pact between Apple and cellular carrier China Unicom may already be sealed, according to Merrill Lynch analyst Cynthia Meng. "Our industry checks reveal that Unicom and Apple have most likely reached a deal for an exclusive 2-plus year agreement," reads a Meng note obtained by Reuters. "We expect iPhone products to be available in conjunction with the Unicom commercial scale 3G launch in Q4, starting on Oct 1." A Unicom spokeswoman insists that the two companies are still in talks, and has refused to comment further on Meng's claims.
Plustek has launched a new, large-format scanner, the A300, in its OpticBook series of flatbed scanners. The scanner line consists of four different models geared for scanning books and other bound documents, with technology designed to correct curvatures and eliminating shadows caused by the depth of book scans. The series now includes the OpticBook A300, the OpticBook 3600/3600 Plus and the recently-released OpticBook 4600. The new A300 scans large format (12x17 inches) A3-sized pages at a 2.4-second pace, with support for thick books without requiring unbinding. The device also features automatic PDF conversion and optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
Samsung on Friday announced in has launched its SMX-C14 pocket camcorder, which was announced at the end of April. The camcorder, which features a lens angled 25 degrees off vertical to help alleviate wrist strain when recording videos, weighs just a third of a pound and comes with 16GB of built-in flash memory in addition to an SDHC memory card slot. The built-in memory can store 6 hours and 20 minutes of high-definition, H.264 format video. The C14 can also capture still images in 1600x1200 resolution.
In early-morning launches at carrier and Apple Stores, the iPhone 3G S has gone on sale in different eight countries, including the likes of the United States, Canada, France and Germany. The most prominent launch so far has been the one at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City, where despite less press coverage and lower publicity from Apple, approximately 200 people waited in line to be some of the first in the US to own a 3G S. The Soho and 14th Street stores in New York bore witness to smaller lineups.
Despite shipping 7.8 million BlackBerries and forecasting stronger sales, serious doubts exist about the BlackBerry's future, according to Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. Issuing a "hold" call on Research in Motion's stock, Wolf is concerned that the company's heavy dependence on home users for new subscribers -- 80 percent of the 3.8 million last quarter -- will leave it vulnerable to multiple new competitors, including the iPhone 3G S, the Palm Pre and multiple Android phones from HTC, Motorola, Samsung and others. He also worries that BlackBerry App World won't catch on and that greater choices with Apple's and Google's platforms will lead customers elsewhere.
The BlackBerry Onyx will be the second RIM phone to drop the trackball for an optical trackpad if a leak supports the claim. Sources for CrackBerry claim that the Onyx will have the same pad as the Curve 8520 (pictured) and that the QWERTY keyboard is being redesigned slightly to accommodate the new controls. Prototypes until now have only been seen with the trackball, which may be phased out altogether by RIM in the future.
Yamaha on Friday upgraded its multi-room audio system with the MusicCAST2. Similar to a Sonos system, the combination dock and touchscreen controller pipes Internet and network-attached audio over the local Ethernet or Wi-Fi network to as many as 32 different receivers. The controller supports sharing iTunes libraries thanks to TwonkyMedia's service; the central cradle also supports media from USB devices, including iPods, and has internal Bluetooth to receive audio from cellphones. It also directly supports RealNetworks' Rhapsody and generic Internet radio.
A teardown of the just-launched iPhone 3G S by RapidRepair this morning has revealed that Apple is using a processor capable of HD video and otherwise more than what Apple has enabled. The disassembly confirms the existence of a 600MHz ARM processor, Samsung's S5PC100, based on the much more advanced Cortex A8 platform. However, official specifications (PDF) show that the chip could run at 833MHz and that, while Apple officially limits video recording to 640x480, the full-speed component could not only play but capture 720p.
Sony Pictures along with Gracenote late yesterday announced movieIQ, a new Blu-ray disc feature that provides access to a real-time movie database. By playing a movieIQ disc and having a BD-Live equipped Blu-ray player connected to the Internet, users can view continuously updated information on details such as cast and crew. movieIQ also offers pieces of trivia including production facts, and music and soundtrack information tied to specific scenes within the movie. Sony says it plans to use movieIQ on upcoming Blu-ray movies starting September, as well as offering it on all major catalog titles and new releases.
Following sharp criticism from analysts, Microsoft has quickly backed away from its previous announcement that placed a six-month limit on XP downgrades after the release of Windows 7. Michael Silver of Gartner earlier in the week described the limitation as potentially causing a "real mess," as the software maker typically provides a wider time frame for enterprises to transition between operating systems.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX