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Apple is reportedly preparing to allow iPhone owners to download ringtones through iTunes, according to CNET News. Music industry sources claim the company has established deals for the necessary distribution rights. Although customers already can create their own, the new service will offer an alternative to the DIY process.
Several image leaks allegedly show upcoming Leica cameras, the X1 and M9, according to Leica Rumors. Unconfirmed specs point to a full-frame 18.2 megapixel sensor on the M9, up from the current 10 megapixel component. The camera is also claimed to offer improved noise performance at high ISO settings, while adding an SD card slot and a free copy of Adobe Lightroom.
Indev Software has released Mail Act-On 2.1, an update to its organization and management tool for Appleís Mail application. Mail Act-On integrates itís outbox and rules into Mailís rules editor, and provides simpler ways for moving, copying and filtering messages. The 2.1 update contains new features including bringing the maximum number of configurable destination mailboxes up to 10, and the ability to have inbox, outbox and Act-On rules now activate other defined rules. Users can also apply Act-On rules to prior messages, enabling the program to automatically file messages that the user just replied to, or re-file sent mail whenever a reply is received.
Samsung this evening took advantage of advances in hard drives in the past few weeks to upgrade its external hard drives. The S3 Station desktop drive now jumps to 2TB (from 1.5TB) while the S2 Portable climbs from 500GB to 640GB. Either attaches through USB and have extras like automated backup and a "secret" partition for private data.
Vir2 has introduced its latest software instrument, MOJO: Horn Section, geared for pop, funk and jazz compositions. The software includes 12 instruments and allows users to create virtual ensembles with up to 10 players. Each instrument supports a wide range of articulations, along with doits, falls, and other release layers.
Chronos has announced updates to its SOHO Labels and iScrapbook applications, adding improvements and Snow Leopard compatibility. SOHO Labels 4.1 is the companyís label design and creation software, which also provides tool for making envelopes and letterheads. The new version brings changes to bezier shapes, enabling users to select and delete the individual control points in them, and includes a new zip code feature that will prevent the program from drawing PostNet barcodes if the zip code isnít long enough.
Mac security company Intego has taken a closer look at the limitations of Apple's new anti-malware features in the recent Snow Leopard update. The new security functions, noticed by developers shortly before the public release, alert users to malicious code found in downloaded files.
Native Instruments on Wednesday released the Audio 2 DJ, the company's smallest USB audio interface geared for DJs. The device is designed for use with Traktor or other performance software. Two 1/4-inch outputs can be used to route stereo signals to an external mixer, or as a master output and headphone monitor when using a software mixer.
Sony is preparing an "ultimate" iPhone clock radio that would serve as a hub for several types of media at once, a slip confirmed today. Temporarily seen on a product page (cached), the ICF-CL75iP would have a 7-inch LCD that would not only show music info and the time but show photos from an iPhone or iPod. It would also support videos, though the Sony Insider tip is unclear as to whether these may be limited to AVI, MJPEG and MPEG-4 movies loaded to 1GB of local storage through a USB port.
Despite analyst speculation that Apple might be preparing to launch an update to its Apple TV device at the upcoming media event, sources familiar with the matter claim the company will not diverge from its focus on music-oriented products. The "very reliable" sources told The Loop that Apple TV will definitely not be included in the announcements.
YouTube could be forging a deal that would give it paid movie rentals, a leak this evening may have revealed. Google's video streaming site is reportedly in talks with Lionsgate, Sony and Warner to host streaming versions of titles. The WSJ source understands that a rental would typically cost $4 but that pricing would be consistent with other video-on-demand services; the standard price would be in line for Apple's new but standard-definition releases.
Toshiba recently added a new, 640GB capacity model to its Portable External Drive range. The drive weighs just six ounces, adding to its portability. Users also don't need to carry around AC power supplies, as the device gets its power and transfers data over a USB 2.0 connection. There is an 8MB buffer, and users can create password-protected folders on the drive.
Microsoft today provided an unusual response to apparent leaks of a $400, 250GB Xbox 360 Elite gaming console on multiple retailers. When queried about the system by CNET, a Microsoft representative neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the system, saying only that the company has made "no such announcement." Such a response doesn't necessarily confirm the console but is uncharacteristic for a company that has flatly denied Blu-ray drive rumors in the past.
Sony on Wednesday introduced three new BRAVIA HDTVs for Europe. The V5800, W5800 and Z5800 have three tuners for receiving satellite (DVB-S2), over-the-air terrestrial (DVB-T) and cable (DVB-C) channels in standard definition or HD, nullifying the need for separate set-top boxes. The LCDs output at 1080p and also get a CI+ port for cards that allow access to subscription channels. The V5800 has a traditional 60Hz display panel, the W5800 gets a 100Hz display, while the Z5800 uses a 200Hz panel.
Kodak on Wednesday announced it has released the ESP 3250 and ESP 5250 all-in-one inkjet printers, which are said to have the lowest overall ink replacement costs. Either has an intelligent paper tray system that can adjust settings based on paper type and size to reduce mistakes. Print speeds are rated at 30 pages per minute in black and 29 pages in color for either model.
A Bluetooth Special Interest Group document indicates that the upcoming Samsung Behold 2 handset, spotted earlier at the Wi-Fi Alliance and due to arrive at T-Mobile, will be running on the Android operating system. The new document indicates the SGH-T939 will be a GSM phone with a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen that gives users access to "Google Mobile services and full web browsing at blazing speeds."
Novothink has introduced the Surge, a case for the iPod touch that integrates solar panels to charge the device. The panels are claimed to output 5.5V at 100 mAh in full sun, while a built-in 1500 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery offers 120 percent capacity compared to the iPod's internal battery.
Sony this afternoon geared up for the impending launch of Gran Turismo for the PSP by launching a special Limited Edition Gran Turismo pack. The special run mates the older, UMD-based PSP-3000 in silver with a copy of the racing game, a 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo, and download codes for the in-game version of the white Corvette ZR1 seen on the cover, a free movie from Sony's PSN video store and 10 songs from its Mac- and PC-ready Music Pass service.
Marware has released the MicroShell for iPhone, an "ultra-thin" hardcase for the iPhone 3G and 3GS. The half-shell design is 1mm thick, with a metallic sheen and a smooth rubberized finish. Six colors are available -- black, red, blue, pink, white and silver -- along with a clear version.
Sony at its IFA show presence added a pair of 2.1-channel PC speakers, including what it claims as a first for integrating iPhones and iPods. The 60W SRS-GD50iP has its own dock in the central controller to play audio from any of the dockable Apple devices or just to keep it charged. A toggle button lets users switch between this and the regular sound output from the computer.
Easypano has launched Panoweaver 6.0, adding automatic stitching support. The panorama software can now form panoramic images in both cylindrical and spherical formats from multi-row groups of photo elements. The update further adds support for stitching fisheye photos, along with HDR (high dynamic range) images. Camera RAW images are newly accepted, and the app can output to Flash, QuickTime or Java.
ProteMac has released ProteMac Meter 3.0, updating the network activity monitor with a new interface, featuring real-time traffic summaries. The tool watches activity passing through all applications on a Mac, and keeps tabs on network connections, host availability, remote host names, timestamps and the amount of traffic. It presents views of total and app-specific traffic, and can send out user-tailored notifications.
Apple service provider MyService has launched a 750GB MacBook Pro hard disk upgrade. The company is providing round-trip shipping, installation of the drive, and full data transfer. In particular the new drive is a 5400rpm Scorpio Blue model from Western Digital. Its height slightly exceeds the standard 9.5mm for 2.5-inch drives, but still fits in the computers accepted by MyService.
FCC broadband head Blair Levin today pushed for more access to wireless spectrum as part of his organization's plans to expand broadband Internet access in the US. Pointing to complaints that there isn't enough available, the official suggested that the FCC could use the technology not only to grow coverage in rural areas where landlines are impractical or simply to improve the bandwidth available to everyone. He added that the extra spectrum could even be necessary as more wireless devices come online and saturate existing networks.
iPhone CAZE has announced new Swarovski crystal cases, premium versions of its Mirror Go and Love Pair iPhone 3G and 3GS cases. The Mirror Go is a hard-shell case with a mirror-like exterior, while the Love Pair features a durable, metallic-style design with a smooth matte surface. Both premium cases are decorated with over 40 Swarovski crystals around the Apple logo on the back.
CodeWeavers has released v8.0.0 of CrossOver Games, its specialized virtualization software. Users can play Windows games inside of Mac OS X, without needing a license for the former. New in the eighth edition is support for Snow Leopard, and tweaks which enable Shader Model 2.0 and 3.0 rendering by default. A memory management problem has been fixed that should eliminate crashes in Team Fortress 2.
V-MODA on Wednesday announced it has started shipping its Faze metal headset, made to work with Apple's iPhone and iPod, as well as other smartphones including BlackBerries, the Palm Pre and other MP3 players or devices with a 3.5mm audio jack. The in-line microphone has a call and music control button that can answer and end incoming calls, as well as pause and play music, in addition to fast forwarding it.
Sony Ericsson today launched its long-in-the-making sequel smartphone. The XPERIA X2 updates to Windows Mobile 6.5 and gets the more touch-friendly interface changes of the new OS. The company's own panel interface has an improved panel interface with a more natural, Cover Flow-like navigation in landscape mode and time-sensitive organization that can bring different panels to the front, such as games in the after hours. It can also bring up missed calls or messages quickly and has speedier access to media playback.
Nokia on Wednesday tailored itself to Americans with the Mural, an AT&T-only clamshell. The phone is one of the US carrier's few fashion phones and lights up in one of several user-selectable colors, including blue, red, green, orange, purple and pink. There are dedicated music keys on the exterior of the phone, allowing users to navigate their music libraries while keeping the shell closed.
Pangea has released Enigmo 2 for the iPhone and iPod touch, a sequel to the 2008 Best iPhone game. The 3D puzzle game tasks players to move puzzle pieces like bumper, slides and sponges to divert water droplets, plasma particles and laser beams to their proper destinations.
Sony has announced an initiative to bring 3D visuals to several of its products, beginning sometime in 2010. Central is a 3D-compatible BRAVIA TV, which should use a frame-sequential display, and require active-shutter glasses. The company is promising a high framerate, as well as a 1080p resolution for each eye. No prices or narrowed release dates have been suggested.
Sony at its IFA keynote previewed an entirely new category of ultraportable. The VAIO X series will use a low-voltage Intel processor (either Atom or CULV) but will have a carbon fiber shell instead of aluminum or another bulkier material. Changing to the very light but stiff body gives it a record-setting weight of just 1.5 pounds, or half as much as most netbooks and ultraportables like the MacBook Air. It also slims the system down to just half an inch thick across its entire case.
Creative today entered touchscreen players in earnest by launching the ZEN X-Fi2. Unlike the currently developer-only and Android-based Zii Egg, the new model is a direct replacement with a custom interface for its 3-inch touchscreen that simplifies the controls. The namesake X-Fi audio engine has also been given a boost and should restore details lost to audio compression not only in music but FM radio and video.
A recent update for an iPhone game has been rejected for purely cosmetic reasons, according to the title's developer. Joe Stump observes that although he was merely submitting bug corrections for Chess Wars, he was called on Tuesday by an Apple representative, who said that after a six-week wait his update was being rejected for having "shiny" chat bubbles. That look is trademarked by Apple, the representative is said to have claimed.
Microsoft late Tuesday revealed that it's discontinuing every non-touchscreen Zune in its lineup. While the company previously said the Zune HD was replacing the flash players, staff in the media player team have told journalist Paul Thurrott that the hard drive-based Zune 80 and Zune 120 have also ceased production and that sales of these and any remaining Zune will only continue until they run out of stock. It's not certain how long this will last.
Apple has still left considerable gaps in Mac security, despite advances in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, say some security experts. The OS is said to have several protection advances over Leopard, most notably a built-in anti-virus scanner, perhaps the first concrete admission from Apple that Macs are now vulnerable to malware. The tool scans content received through apps like Safari, Mail and iChat, and can also check signatures to determine whether a file has been altered since its creation.
Today at the Nokia World show, Nokia provided the full, finished details of its Booklet 3G netbook. The 10.1-inch portable is now known to sport a 1280x720 resolution display and will run a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, and Windows 7 preloaded onto its 120GB hard drive. The 16-cell is key to Nokia's controversial battery life claims and is rated at up to 12 hours. As before, the machined aluminum chassis measures less than 0.8 inches thick and weighs less than 2.8 pounds.
HTC used the start of IFA in Berlin to introduce a new range-topping smartphone. Previously codenamed the Mega, the Touch2 is the first phone set to ship with Windows Mobile 6.5 and gets the Microsoft platform's more touch-friendly interface as well as the more accurate Internet Explorer Mobile instead of Opera from earlier models. The latest version of HTC's own TouchFLO nonetheless sits on top and provides surface access to calendars, contacts, media and the web without having to navigate through the deeper interface.
As expected, Panasonic today launched the Lumix GF1, its own take on the idea of a rangefinder-like Micro Four Thirds camera. In addition to being slightly smaller than the Olympus E-P1 it shares its system with, the GF1 has a surprise fix for the absence of built-in flash on its competitor: the corner opposite the grip has a hidden pop-up flash that properly distances the illumination from the lens. No viewfinder is built-in, but an optional electronic viewfinder provides 100 percent coverage regardless of lens.
In a bid to promote its new operating system, Apple is says it is now distributing free evaluation copies of Snow Leopard Server. To qualify, people must fill out a form on Apple's website, and represent a business, government agency, non-profit organization or some form of educational institution. Specifically excluded from the promotion are resellers, students, NPOs with less than 10 people and anyone under the age of 13.
Nokia marked the formal start of its own Nokia World show by launching three more phones, two of which are meant to bolster the company's stance in touchscreen phones. The rumored and now confirmed N97 mini is a rare fix for an existing design and shrinks the touchscreen smartphone slightly; it uses a smaller 3.2-inch, 640x360 display (down from 3.5 inches) and drops the dedicated directional pad in favor of arrow keys tucked into the slide-out, tilting QWERTY keyboard. Software also gets an upgrade with support for much more intuitive flick scrolling, more home screen widgets and updated Ovi Maps, though these will reach the full-size N97 in October as a free patch.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k